A woman is dressed in a green cosplay costume while working a vendor booth.

March 18, 2024

SIU’s Saluki Con/Eclipse Con packed with fun for all ages April 6-7

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Saluki Con, a two-day comic con style event filled with guest stars, gaming, virtual reality, workshops, contests and much more returns to Southern Illinois University Carbondale April 6-7. Saluki Con 2024 is also the second Eclipse Con as it’s part of SIU’s four-day Crossroads Eclipse Festival, April 5-8.

“We have an awesome, diverse lineup of celebrity and regional guests, a full gaming schedule, an incredible assortment of demos and tryouts, a cosplay contest and workshops, virtual reality, anime, esports, scores of vendors of all kinds and so much more,” said Nathan Bonner, Saluki Con/Eclipse Con co-chair and SIU Student Affairs marketing associate. “There will also be a Family Zone, with a full range of kid-friendly games. There is literally something for everyone!”

Get your tickets now

The popular comics/science-fiction/fantasy/pop culture convention runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the SIU Student Center. Festivities kick off with a gaming event from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 5, for SIU students and people who purchase event tickets in advance.

Tickets are on sale now at salukicon.siu.edu.

The cost is $20 for a weekend pass or $15 for one day for adults. The price is $10 for a weekend pass or $5 for one-day tickets for children 13 and younger, high school or community college students. Handling fees apply. SIU students (with ID) and children ages 5 and younger (if accompanied by a ticketed adult) get in free. 

Celebrities fill lineup

An all-star array of celebrity guests will appear, including Trevor Von Eeden, Don Payne, Alex Zahara, Laura Benedict, Brad Moore, Sean Dulaney, Zac Atkinson, Brian K. Morris, Camron Johnson, Jason Nugent and Mandi Johnson.

  • At 16, the youngest artist ever hired by DC, Von Eeden was also the company’s first Black artist and co-creator of its first original Black superhero to have his own title. Well-known for his work on The Batman Annual No. 8, THRILLER, The Green Arrow miniseries during the 1980s, Black Canary in the 1990s and his final job, LOTDK Nos. 149-153, created after 9/11, Von Eeden went on to create his own graphic novel “The Original Johnson” in 2009 to critical acclaim.
  • After retiring from a career as a professional volleyball player, Payne joined his brother Josh in Australia where he began an acting career, and they created short films together. He’s since lived in various locales while earning numerous roles in “Stargate SG-1” and “Stargate Atlantis” as well as appearing in “Mulligans,” “Watchmen,” “Divine: The Series,” “All Yours” with Nicollette Sheridan, “A Time to Dance” with Jennie Garth, a recurring role on “Good Witch” and in “Corrective Measures.”
  • A graduate of the University of British Columbia’s theatre and film department, Zahara’s acting career dates back more than a quarter of a century and includes over 150 credits including “Stargate SG-1,” “The Man in the High Castle,” “Riverdale,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Hell on Wheels” as well as the film “HORNS” with Daniel Radcliffe, “The Assignment” and “Brain on Fire” with Sigourney Weaver and “The 9th Life of Louis Drax” starring Jamie Dornan. He’s also voiced numerous animated characters including Red Skull in Marvel’s Lego Adventures and more than 30 other anime shows.
  • An Edgar- and International Thriller Writers Award-nominated author, Benedict has numerous mystery and suspense novels to her credit, including “The Stranger Inside” and the Bliss House gothic novels and stories. Her most recent book, “When I Make Love to the Bug Man: Collected Stories,” compiles some of her short works of fiction. Her stories have been published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Strand Magazine, Mystery Tribune and in many anthologies.
  • A USA Today bestselling author, Nugent is the author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, including the “Curse of the Drakku” fantasy series, “The Forgotten Chronicles: The Complete Trilogy” and many others.
  • Psychedelic surrealist painter, draftsman, comic book creator, thinker, artist and illustrator Moore has used complex imagery, color and subject matter to set himself apart from the mainstream and carve out a niche in the universe of death metal art. He has been published worldwide more than 600 times, been invited to exhibit at H.R. Giger’s Switzerland castle and his album cover for Worm’s “Foreverglade” was voted No. 11 among the top metal album covers for 2021.
  • The works of writer, broadcaster and artist Delaney have appeared in books from Amryl Press, Digital Webbing, Markosia, Pro Se and Arcana Press as well as his BIMOR imprint. His 400 Court Street podcast resulted in a series of books on the history of professional wrestling in Evansville, Indiana, as well as a true crime title set in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • With more than 20 years of experience as a colorist in the comic industry, comic creator, cartoonist and designer, Atkinson has numerous titles to his credit. His work can be seen in Shazam, Marvel Action Spider-Man, Bruce Lee, Justice Society, Young Justice, Transformers, Armory Wars, Farscape and more.
  • Award-winning author, editor, publisher and YouTuber, Morris has work that can be found in publications including Stormgate Press, Atomic Press, Stone Door Studios, Pro Se Press, Flinch Books, Crazy 8 Books, Becky Books, BEN Books, Hogan’s Alley, TwoMorrows Publishing, GDC Publishing, Lion’s Share Press and his Rising Tide Publications and Freelance Words. His genres are diverse, including action/adventure, contemporary fantasy, horror, humor, Westerns, nonfiction, new pulp and romance, and some of his recent works include “Spurs and Six-Shooters,” “The New Adventures of Captain Hawklin,” and “The Terrors.”
  • You’ll find the work of creator, artist and writer Johnson in comics, books and trading cards from companies and licensed properties including Marvel, Spider-Man, Upper Deck, Star Wars, Topps, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dynamite, Thundercats, Warner Brothers, IDW, Middle-Earth (the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies), Space Jam, Assassin’s Creed, Legends Publish and others. He also created the best-selling independent graphic novel/comic books series Bonecheck, Freezer Burn and Meduson.

Fun and games for all

The gaming schedule includes “play to win,” where participants can check out a game, play and be entered in a drawing to win that game. A unique Dungeons and Dragons tournament, a Catan Tournament, a chess event and various other activities are planned. An esports tournament is slated for Saturday in SIU’s custom Esports Arena, and Bowling & Billiards will offer cosmic bowling. Both are located on the first floor of the center.

The popular cosplay costume contest is set for 2 p.m. Sunday with four categories.

SIU’s medieval combat club will hold a combat demonstration on Saturday, and there will be virtual reality and various other demonstrations throughout the weekend as well. Anime Kai, the university’s anime student organization, will host a public screening of anime movies and television episodes. Visitors can check out the latest technology, scientific discoveries and artistic techniques through hands-on workshops, panel discussions and demonstrations.

Participants will also want to check out La Petite Papillon Maid Café on Saturday, where one admission ticket gets them a chance to enjoy a performance by the maids, games, snacks and drinks and lots of fun.

Find more information, including the complete schedule of events and ticket sales, on the Saluki Con website. Follow Saluki Con on Facebook, email salukicon@siu.edu or call 618-453-5714 to learn more.