The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

‘Something for everyone’ at RodCon

At RodCon last year, the Cedar Rapids Ultimate Superheroes and the UNI Trooper made a visit.

Superheroes, Storm Troopers and pop culture enthusiasts will unite next Saturday for the ninth edition of Rod Library’s RodCon.

RodCon is a free mini comic book convention that Rod Library Marketing and Public Relations Specialist Melinda Beland says has “something for everyone.” 

This year’s convention is Saturday, April 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. People of all ages will find swathes of activities spread throughout the library, including everything from a Magic the Gathering tournament to sewing lessons.

Beland said that idea from the first RodCon event in 2014 came from a UNI student. It has since grown into a community event that regularly draws in over 3,000 people.

“Originally, it was trying to get people to interact with UNI and really have that community, and then also showcasing student groups and things that we have here at UNI in a fun and creative way,” she said.

Some of the student organizations being highlighted this year include Panther Tabletop Gaming, Panther Esports and UNI Swordfighting. Other students will be showcasing skills from the classroom. An English class at UNI will be putting on a reading of science fiction and fantasy poems and stories, and students from the College of Education will be using lesson plans to put on activities in the Kids Zone, specifically targeted toward younger attendees.

This year’s convention will also host guest speaker Shakyra Dunn, a voice actor, author and singer, who will be there to talk about worldbuilding, self publishing and getting started in the voice acting industry.

Another crowd favorite is the Artist Alley, a setup of artists and vendors on the main floor of the library. There will also be a costume contest, trivia, board games, an escape room and palm and tarot readings. The group Cedar Rapids Ultimate Super Heroes will also be there, and they will be accepting donations for the Cedar Bend Humane Society.

The RodCon planning committee starts preparing for the convention in August each year to make sure all of the moving parts come together in time.

“It is a good oiled machine at this point. We have a lot of great people that have been on it for a long time, so that’s helpful and it really does take a group of people to manage it,” Beland said.

Another unique aspect of RodCon: It’s free to attend.

“Not a lot of people can afford to go to pop culture cons,” Beland said. “Because we have it here, we’re limited in how much we can do, but it gives local people and people all across Iowa — and we do have some people come from other states — a chance to interact with other people and pop culture fans.”

Further information and a full schedule for RodCon can be found at

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