August 14, 2017

‘Comic Con’ adds to weekend’s eclipse festivities

by Andrea Hahn

They may be famous for poor aim, but even Imperial Stormtroopers can’t miss the eclipse festivities at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

That’s right, stormtroopers. The 501st Stormtrooper Legion, to be exact. The Southern Illinois Jedi Order will be there, too. But don’t worry about a fight breaking out. Eclipse Comic Con rules forbid bringing operable weapons.

The Eclipse Comic Con is part of eclipse weekend at SIU. Events are set for Aug. 19-20 starting both days at 10 a.m. A full but still developing schedule is available online.

A comic con is a celebration of all things related to comics -- particularly superhero comics -- graphic novels, video gaming and science fiction.

Costuming, known as cosplay, is an important feature for many participants. While some prize authenticity, others feel free to improvise, creating their own versions of characters who might inhabit sci-fi, superhero or video game adventure worlds. More recently, steampunk aficionados have joined, bringing their deliberately anachronistic version of the Victorian era to gear-and-gadgetry life. A costume contest rewards those who come in character; it takes place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 20.

Comic cons typically include informative panels led by guest stars, and the Eclipse Comic Con is no exception. Special guests include artists, writers and film animators who have worked on everything from the Justice League Unlimited, Star Trek and the Transformers to Scooby Doo and independent comics.

This comic con blends the fantastic and sci-fi with science education. Planetary Radio’s Mat Kaplan will talk about the “The Science of Star Trek” at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19. After the convention closes on Sunday, he’ll host an event from Shryock Auditorium with the help of WSIU Radio. Other educational features include the documentary “Countdown to the Eclipse” and a Crossroads Eclipse 2017 research workshop, both set for Saturday.

Visitors can stroll the convention floor and visit vendors, including 4th Moon Collectibles, Brainstorms Laboratory, Cakes Reanimated, Castle Perilous, several independent comic publishers and more. And of course there are gaming opportunities for players of Magic the Gathering, Pokémon, Dungeons and Dragons and other games.

Tickets are available as day passes, two-day passes and VIP passes. Get them in advance or at the door. SIU students with valid ID enter the convention free.

The Eclipse Comic Con is just one feature of eclipse weekend at SIU. Visit to learn about all the SIU eclipse events and for important features on safety, volunteering opportunities and official SIU eclipse merchandise.