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July 15, 2018

7/3/2018 10:30:00 AM
'Comic-con' organizer enlarges, moves event
After putting on one-day comic book conventions at Lincoln Trail College each of the past two summers, Michael Kasinger is doubling up and moving south.

Kasinger will host the PWHACK Comics and Pop Culture Convention in the gymnasium at Lawrenceville High School, Saturday and Sunday.

Kasinger, a 1990 Red Hill High School graduate, promises a variety of activities at the show, which will run from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday.

"It's like going to a big comic book convention without the big cost," said Kasinger, an employee at Toyota Boshoku Illinois since 2000. "It's small scale, but if you've ever wanted to know what a comic book convention was like, this would be a good opportunity."

Admission is $15 for a two-day pass and $10 for a single-day ticket. Children aged five and under are free, with a paying adult.

The two Robinson shows attracted about 300 patrons each, Kasinger said. Because this is a two-day show, and there are no other similar shows going on in the area, he's hoping to draw between 600 and 1,000.

One of the special guests Kasinger is bringing is Santiago Cirilo, who played Julio in season four of American Movie Channel's "Walking Dead." Cirilo will arrive in Lawrence County on Friday, and have a presence during both days of the convention.

Another big attraction will be representatives of Cold War, Inc., who produce the comic book "Squarriors," as well as the trading card game of the same name.

Cosplay contests will be featured, for those who like to dress up like their favorite super hero. Jerry Roe, Terre Haute, is an expert in the field and will be running the cosplay, said Kasinger. Additionally a "Cosplay 101" course is planned, as well as a class that pertains to building props.

Gaming tournaments will be running continually. Representatives from Games and Things, Olney, will be in charge of the tournaments.

Kasinger is pleased to be holding a charity auction, with proceeds to benefit the art departments at area high schools.

"I hate that art is being taken out of schools around here," Kasinger said. "As an artist myself, I'm trying to do something to give back to the community."

Parrott Auction Service, will be handling the auction, Kasinger said. Among the many items up for bid are some signed graphic novels that have been donated by movie director John Carpenter.

Kasinger notes that last year's auction raised $1,300, and was split between Lawrenceville, Red Hill, Robinson and Olney high schools.

Another highlight will be a visit from Source Point Press, a publishing company that specializes in comic books.

"If you're an artist looking to get into comic books, they will be looking at portfolios and taking submissions," said Kasinger. "They also plan on doing a panel, on how to make and publish comics."

Kasinger said that he's been into comic books since he was a child, and attended his first comic book convention in 1993. At one point in his life, he tried to make his living by drawing comic books.

"Over the years I've made a lot of connections and a lot of friends in the industry," he said. "My focus has kind of changed. I'm not really trying to draw comic books for a living any more I'm more about trying to promote them, and inspire younger people to start reading comic books, do art work and just be creative."

For more information, Kasinger can be reached at 618-554-7469.

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