If you want to buy a lightsaber, get an autograph from the voice of Batman, and attend a workshop on how to get your comic book published, Iowa’s largest city is hosting the event for you this weekend.
Ben Penrod runs Des Moines Con, and a half-dozen similar conventions across the country, though he says none are quite like this one in the heart of the Midwest.
“The Des Moines Con is like a nerdy flea market,” Penrod says. “We’ve got celebrities from different TV shows and movies and things like that. We’ve got a lot of the voice actors from your favorite anime, and then we’ve got over 100 exhibitors and artists who are selling different things like cool t-shirts and comic books and things like that.”
Much of Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Events Center will be devoted to the sales of everything from rare comics to prop battle axes. “We got some great comic books dealers driving in from all over the country,” Penrod says. “We’ve got some t-shirt vendors. We’ve got people who are selling swords and things like that, and then we’ve also got our Artists Alley which is full of people who are selling their artwork, whether that’s a painting or a sculpture.”
There’s a lengthy list of celebrity guests who will be signing autographs and posing for photos, including pro wrestler Johnny Gargano, the former NXT champion, and actress Clare Kramer from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
“I think everybody knows Kel Mitchell. He was on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and he was in ‘All That’ in the ’90s and he was in the movie, ‘Good Burger.’ We have Will Friedle who was in ‘Boy Meets World’ and he’s also a very successful voice actor. We’ve got a bunch of voice actors from ‘My Hero Academia,’ which is the most successful anime TV show right now. So I think everybody’s really excited about that, too.”
The Des Moines Con runs Saturday and Sunday.