Library prepares for RodCon 2019



Rod Library will host the sixth annual Rod Con, a mini comic convention, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13. The event will feature multiple vendors, panels, costume contents and more.


Superheroes of all kinds will be teaming up this Saturday as Rod Library hosts its sixth annual RodCon.

“RodCon is a mini Comic-Con that is free and open to the public,” said Rod Library Public Relations Coordinator Melinda Beland. “It’s supposed to connect the UNI community to the public by celebrating comics and heroes and the arts. It’s really just a family fun and free event where people can come and learn more about diversity and other pop cultural issues using comics to support that.”

Several events and activities will be featured at the event, including an “Artist Alley” featuring vendors who work in different mediums. There will be two video game rooms, a kids’ zone, a photo booth, trivia and more. Costume contests will be held for both children and adults, and the winners of the adult contest will receive tickets for an OK Go concert.

The event is sponsored by 93.5 The Mix and The CW 7.2. Cedar Rapids Ultimate Super Heroes will be collecting donations for the Cedar Valley Food Bank, and those who donate will receive additional entries into door prize drawings.

“Every year we try to make it better,” Beland said. “We try to gain feedback from the attendees and add things such as the Spectrum Project Quiet Room. The kids’ zone — that’s a collaboration with the students in the Education Department. They will be using their lesson-planning in the events and helping that day.”  

Beland believes that a part of their growing success is due to the fact that being around for a longer amount of time will draw more people in. This year, they were approached by a tarot card reader who will be at the event. Panther eSports also requested a room, and they will be offering a chance to play games such as Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Super Mario Party.

When it comes to her favorite part of the event, Interlibrary Loan Assistant Andrea Smith says she enjoys seeing the different outfits people wear.

“I love the costumes, even outside of the costume contest,” Smith said. “Seeing other people walking around in cosplay and getting excited about seeing another person from their fandom is so cool.”

Several speakers will be presenting at RodCon 2019. These include a “Women in the Comic Book Industry” panel hosted by Marybeth Stalp, UNI professor of sociology, anthropology and criminology, with featured guests comic book artists Kat Leyh and Clara Meath. A panel on “Black Panther and Black Excellence” will discuss black culture and its contribution to the making of the “Black Panther” movie. Lastly, Joyce Boss will cover the 65-year old history of “Godzilla” and its fandom.

Smith hopes that the attendees of the event have a good time and look forward to coming next year. They judge the success of their events based on attendance, and those who come to the event may obtain a different perspective on pop culture.

“Through comics and pop culture, they tell us a lot about society and what’s happening in society,” Beland said. “Seeing that reflected through different genres allows you to pause and think about that.”

RodCon 2019 will be held in various locations in Rod Library from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13.