About The Grand Rapids Comic-Con
The Grand Rapids Comic-Con is a feel good story of determination and old fashioned hard work that created one of the premiere family-friendly events in West Michigan. Mark and Jennifer Hodges along with a dedicated staff of college convention operators produced the first show on October 12, 2013. The inaugural show was a tremendous success as almost 10,000 people showed up for the one day event, thousands of which being turned away due to fire code restrictions.
The second annual Grand Rapids Comic-Con was moved into the much larger confines of the DeltaPlex and added Hollywood celebrities to their guest. Held on November 21-23, 2014, the Grand Rapids Comic-Con quickly outgrew its new digs with a turnstile attendance of 16,000 people—and they turned away as many as 4000 people again on Saturday due to building limitations.
Our third year was another one of transition, as we moved into the spacious DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids for our annual event on October 16-18, 2015. With an even larger guest list, the Grand Rapids Comic-Con has a huge increase in attendance yet again with over 22,000 people through the turnstiles.
From 2016-2019, the convention saw even more growth, and lead to the addition of a Summer show in 2021, followed by the now-annual Spring Fling edition of the convention held each year alongside the Fall show.
The entire staff of the Grand Rapids Comic-Con welcomes you, and we're looking forward to our next show, November 3-5, 2023 at the DeVos Place here in Grand Rapids, Michigan!
Grand Rapids Comic-Con
c/o West Michigan
Convention Ventures LLC
2256 20th St., Hopkins, MI 49328
West Michigan Convention Ventures LLC is a family-friendly organization that strives to create PG to PG-13 style events with programming for adults and children of all ages. We will strive to eliminate display materials at our events that are overtly violent or sexual in orientation for the protection of all children attending. If we ever host an event that will not adhere to these policies we will make it quite apparent in all our advertising for that specific event.
West Michigan Convention Ventures LLC does not discriminate against any employee or fan on the basis of race, creed, age, handicap, sex, religious affiliation, national origin, or sexual orientation.
We are not accepting any applications from any other non-profit organization for fundraising opportunities. Nonprofit organizations may submit programming ideas but they can not be designed for the purpose of fundraising or to push any social, religious, or political agendas as defined by West Michigan Convention Ventures LLC.
STAFF - BOOKING & ADMINISTRATION
Mark Hodges, Co-Owner/Event Director: Mark has been involved in promoting events since 1990 when he started putting on small Christian metal and hardcore concerts at The Ice Pick in Muskegon. Mark was later involved in being one of the people in the start of the Unity Christian Music Festival and was important in the start of the “A” Stage, an alternative music stage still at the festival to this day. Mark promoted his first comic show in 2006. He also coordinated the Phoenix E.V. film festivals back in 2009-2010 and was the Public Relations Manager for the bi-annual Grand Rapids toy show before starting the Grand Rapids Comic-Con. Mark is married to his wife Jennifer.
Favorite fandoms: Star Trek, American Pickers, “Noir Alley” on TCM, low budget horror and science fiction movies. Contact: 616-281-5930, email@example.com
Rosie Bono, Event Coordinator: It all started with her mom reading Harry Potter to her before bed when she was five years old. And the rest is nerdy history. Rosie started attending anime conventions when she was eleven, and fell passionately in love with the sense of community she found there. Rosie is also the chairwoman of Kogan Con, a non-profit anime convention, has volunteered/worked hundreds of hours at different conventions around the Midwest, and still cannot get enough! Rosie is so honored and excited to a part of the Grand Rapids Comic Con family, and cannot wait to see what comes next!
Favorite Fandoms: Anime, Star Wars, J.R.R Tolkien Universe, Harry Potter Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tyler Maddox, Event Manager: Hi everyone! My name is Tyler Maddox, it’s possible you may have seen me before, I’m one of the smiling faces you can find working for Chase Bank in West Michigan. Currently I’m finalizing my Masters in Business (MBA) from Western Michigan University. Outside of work and school, you can find me at one of the many cafes or thrift stores around West Michigan.
Favorite fandoms: Star Wars, Spongebob, Twitch Streaming Community, Board Games/TCG
Travis Latter, Logistics Manager: I do not like long walks on the beach, I like long sessions of sitting and playing games or watching movies. While I do like the content of comic books, I do not like to read very often and personally prefer them on the big screen. I can often be found watching anime as an alternative as well. I started working the GR Comic-con in 2017.
Favorite Fandoms: Star Wars, anime, video games
Dan Brown, Security Manager and App Manager: Hey people of the world. I’m Dan Brown. Yes that Dan Brown. Oh wait, not the Davinci Code guy. I have been attending conventions since I was a kid, but never worked them up until a few years ago. Now I’m hooked! Mostly doing security, but volunteering and assisting celebrity guests has become a passion. In my free time I’m watching movies, mostly horror, attending to the needs of my small jungle of pets, and planning trips with my wife.
Favorite Fandoms: Halloween (Michael Myers), Marvel, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Horror. Contact: email@example.com.
Jeremy Hanis, VIP/Info Booth Manager: Bio Coming Soon...
Favorite Fandoms: Coming Soon...
STAFF - VENDING
Jennifer Hodges, Co-Owner/Vending Coordinator: Jennifer knew conventions was the field for her when she attended her first film festival back in 2008. Since then she has been instrumental in helping her husband Mark with Rivertown Entertainment as well as the Phoenix E.V. film festivals in 2009-1010. Jennifer is contributing many creative ideas that will make the Grand Rapids Comic-Con a unique and fun event. Jenn also is an avid dabbler in arts and crafts and plays the violin in the St. Cecelia Music Hall’s spring orchestra.
Favorite fandoms: Harry Potter, The Walking Dead, Stephen King. Contact: 616-281-5930, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Baldwin, Vending Manager: Comics, movies, and cons are my thing. I’m big into videos games and fx make-up. I’ve been working with celebrities since I was 15 years old. I worked for Warwick Hill GCC, where Buick open was held. There I also was a handler for Ken Griffey Jr., the original Charlie’s Angels, Tiger Woods etc. Since then, I’ve own my own restaurant, carpentry/painting/drywall business, and worked for Michigan Comic Con, Monroe Con, Motor City Comic on, and Youmacon. I currently am on staff at Astronamicon, Silver Screams, and am the volunteer coordinator and panel host for Motor City Nightmares and Rocky Mountain Nightmares. I’d say I’ve been in nerd world my whole life.
Favorite Fandoms: horror, multiverse, monsterverse.
STAFF - GUEST RELATIONS
Anicia Capozzoli, Community Relations and Guest Coordinator: At an early age, Anicia learned to appreciate the nerd world after going to the premier of Star Wars. That year, the most wanted item on her Christmas list was a remote controlled R2D2, which slept soundly each night tucked in her bed. Being a part of the staff fulfills two passions Anicia has, Community Involvement and Event Planning. For years she has been actively involved in both of those areas by serving on planning committees, holding board positions and has been instrumental in planning many community events and fundraisers. Her most current projects consist of Co-Director of Juice Ball, Dia del Sol annual fundraiser, Founding Board Member of Kitchen Sage, and Advisory Board Member for Grand Rapids Young Professionals.
Favorite Fandoms: Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel Superheros, Buffy. Contact: email@example.com
Alex Monsma, Guest Manager: I have been involved with Grand Rapids Comic Con since 2015 as a Guest Assistant. I’m kinda the oddball on the Comic Con scene as I didn’t grow up around Comic-Con-y (is that even a word?!) stuff! I really have enjoyed working in this new realm. I’m a huge fan of people and hearing peoples stories and Comic Con has given me the perfect opportunity to do just that! I’m currently a full time youth director & part time realtor. In my spare time I enjoy spending time outdoors, watching and playing sports and seeing new places. My wife and I have three kids (twins who are 6 and a 5 year old) and two dogs and live in Allendale.
Favorite Fandoms: Star Wars, Disney
Mikayla Walker, Assistant Guest Manager: Mikayla started with the Grand Rapids Comic Con in 2019 as a guest relations intern. She is studying business at Cornerstone University and is an active member of the student organization Enactus. There Mikayla serves as a project leader for the International Artisan Market. Mikayla loves to spend time with her friends and family as well as traveling abroad to visit exchange students her family has hosted growing up.
Favorite Fandoms: Harry Potter, Star Wars
George Guyott, Green Room Manager: I started reading comic books when I was seven years old, mostly Marvel and DC titles. I own East West karate and 1st Advantage Realty. I am also the board President for the food pantry at John Knox Church where we dedicated a new building in 2019 where we provide meals for thousands of people each year. I have four “kids”, two of which are in college and the youngest in high school. We have a Great Dane named Griffin and a Newfoundland named Phoenix.
Favorite Fandoms: Star Wars, Star Trek
Jeremy Clore, Assistant Guest Manager: Jeremy began his GR Comic-Con journey in 2015 in Guest Relations as a Guest Assistant. Having never experienced anything Comic-Con, Jeremy had no idea what he was in for! He quickly fell in love with the community and built some great friendships with his fellow guest assistants over the years. At the convention, you will find Jeremy ensuring our Celebrity Guests have a great experience at our show while enthusiastically attending to their various needs. One thing Jeremy has always found fascinating about the show is the amazing costumes that our guests create! Having never witnessed cosplay prior to working the event, Jeremy was blown away by creativity and quality of work that our cosplay guests put into their costumes. Over the years, Jeremy has created many fond memories with our celebrity guests and his fellow Comic-Con staff. He is looking forward to creating many more!
Favorite Fandoms: Star Wars, Tolkien Universe, Harry Potter
STAFF - EVENT STAFFING
Josi Tremble, Event Staffing Coordinator: Hi, my Josi Tremble – without the “E”. I dropped it in High School because of the Josie and the Pussy Cats comments; Thanks Archie. But in all truthfulness my mom named me after a character in “Dark Shadows”. So I guess you can say I was born into fandom. My background is rich with work and volunteerism at other festivals and cons such as East Lansing Film Festival, Common Ground Music Festival and Motor City Nightmares. I’ve worked every position from set up to tear down and met some wonderful people along the way. I have even talked many of my friends in to working different festivals with me. I’m a big kid/geek at heart. I collect LEGOs – think I’m Buffy’s lost sister and once wanted to marry Boba Fett. My 19 nieces and nephews use this to their advantage. Don’t know how many times I have seen the Marvel movies due to taking them all when they ask. They are also my excuse to go see Disney / Pixar flicks, you know cause they wanted to see it. Ya I’m a big goof.
Favorite Fandoms: Firefly, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Star Wars, John Cusack. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashleigh Morgan, Event Staffing Manager I: Hi! I’m Ashleigh and I’ve been working in the convention circuit for a few years now. In 2018, I helped found a small non-profit convention in Grand Haven, MI called Kogan Con, and a few years later I was given the awesome opportunity to work with Grand Rapids Comic Con! I am currently in college working toward a degree in Software Development and am loving the challenge of it all.
Favorite Fandoms: Studio Ghibli, Paranormal Shows, Aggretsuko, Disney/Pixar
Jeff Filary, Event Staffing Manager II: I have been working for Grand Rapids Comic Con for 3 1/2 years now as a “yellow cape” and have worked for PCA for 11+ years.
Favorite Fandoms: Star Wars, Marvel, Horror, DC Comics
Ashleigh Worford, Wristbanding Manager: Hi Everybody! hi Dr Nick! Ashleigh here (well the OTHER one) as a long time lover of comics/movies and the worlds inbetween, very excited to have finally gotten my feet wet in the world of cons this year! By day, I’m one of your friendly call center customer service reps and by night, I’m popcorn deep in a horror movie. You may have also seen me out and about at a few music festivals (Riot Fest, DEMF, Faster Horses) as part of the hype staff and I’m excited to be bringing the same energy here with all of you! When not working or volunteering, I’m usually out on the water in my kayak, reading or listening to music OR decked out in red at a Wings game. As a former Kzoo kid (Go Broncos!), excited to have another reason to be in one of my favorite cities!
Favorite Fandoms: horror/supernatural movies, BUFFY, Matt Groening cartoons, hockey
STAFF - GAMING
Kristy Eason, Gaming Coordinator: A gamer from the moment her father first placed an NES controller in her hand, Kristy is a firm believer in the adage that “growing old is required, but growing up is optional.” Some 20-plus years later, she is still playing games – video, board, tabletop, and otherwise. A blogger and marketing writer for a PC gaming company by day and a maniacal Game Master by night, Kristy enjoys weaving stories and connecting people through a love of gaming. When she’s not playing board games or immersed in raiding on her dragoon in FFXIV, Kristy enjoys singing, reading a good fantasy novel, writing, cuddling her cats Miso and Arwen (much to the cat’s chagrin) cosplaying, and making jewelry.
Favorite Fandoms: Star Wars, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Final Fantasy, Disney. Contact: email@example.com
Jessica Longuski, Gaming Manager I: An avid fan of horror and science fiction, Jessica’s passion for all things geeky eventually grew into a love for comics and video games. You might say that being a geek was in her blood – with influences like her father, who raised her on Star Wars and Star Trek, and her older sister, who played countless hours of platformers and JRPGs with Jessica as a willing member of the peanut gallery. Jessica has been attending and cosplaying at conventions since high school, and within the last few years has used her love for photography to join some convention staffs as a con photographer. Some of her favorite things to do at conventions are run gaming panels with her sister and friends, which makes her a natural fit for the Gaming department. She’s super excited to join the team and can’t wait to help create an awesome gaming experience for all!
Favorite Fandoms: Harry Potter, anime, Marvel, Doctor Who.
Lindsay Hargreaves, Gaming Manager II: Being an artist named after the actress who played the Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, I was doomed to be a geek from day one and I’m proud of it! I have a passion for Comic Cons, Renaissance Festivals, and art/craft shows which has lead to me work all of the above from a volunteer all the way to merchant director and vendor. Continuing (or feeding) that passion (obsession) is a dream come true and can’t wait to see where this path takes me!
Favorite Fandoms: Gilmore Girls, Star Wars, Disney, Marvel
STAFF - PROGRAMMING
Brittani Stickler, Programming Coordinator: Brittani has worked with Grand Rapids Comic-Con since 2016. She has a love of superheroes, comic books, and anything remotely geeky. Brittani attended her first con (the GR Comic-Con, in fact) in 2013 and instantly knew she wanted to be a part of it. She’s loved working for GR Comic-Con and is excited for what’s to come!
Fandoms: Harry Potter, Outlander, Supernatural, Letterkenny
Valarie Saunders, Programming Manager I: I always have been fascinated with comic books and cartoons, even at a young age. As I grew, I also became interested in horror movies. Then I met someone just like me just not fond of the horror movies. When our son was born the house was full of the sights and sounds of X-Men, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, and all the other great shows that were on. Our love for comics, cartoons, and anime became a project. In 2005, my husband, our son and I completed a replica of the Mach 5 from Speed Racer. It was awesome! In 2009, I went to my first comic book convention, Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA. We brought the Mach 5 to the parade and I’ve been hooked to the scene ever since. As a family, we go to many conventions, from the small ones to the massive. As our son has grew up he became interested in the same things we were in to. I love that we can share our passion with our son, nephews, nieces, and friends. Our son has his own interests, than he’s been teaching me, Anime, and now I also love to play video games, especially with our son. I’ve been helping out with GRCC since its first convention and I am glad to now be part of the family.
Favorite Fandoms: Horror movies, Wonder Woman, and Star Wars Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holly Capozzoli, Programming Manager II: Holly has been a video game enthusiast since the day she got to play the original PlayStation. From that point on, she continued to fall in love with the art and creativity incorporated in the video game world. Later in college, she discovered anime and cosplaying with her favorite anime being Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online, and she cosplayed some of her favorite characters. She started working the Grand Rapids Comic-Con starting in 2013.
Favorite Fandoms: Pokémon, anime, Lord of the Rings, and Nintendo GameCube
Kayla Sheffield, Assistant Programming Manager I: Kayla has been a con goer since her high school years. But has been a nerd most of her life. It all started with a movie, Kiki’s Delivery Service, a Studio Ghibli film. And the fandoms have been growing ever since. As she attended events over the years, she wanted to participate more within the nerdy community and began volunteering her time with Kogan Con, a non-profit anime and fandom convention, and Grand Rapids Comic Con. She is a graphic designer in her day job and in her free time you will find her crocheting or spending time with her friends and/or family.
Favorite Fandoms: Studio Ghibli, Harry Potter, Anime, Marvel
Sharon Boldt, Assistant Programming Manager I:
Sharon Boldt is a reformed evil scientist with 20+ years in the pharmaceutical industry. After birthing two offspring, and taking some "Me" time in her fortress of solitude, Sharon emerged to take up a position of social importance in the local library where she advises local up and coming mad scientists, directing them to the proper resources for lair construction and nuclear laser design.
Favorite fandoms: Stargate SG1, Firefly, Expeditionary Force, and Monster Hunter International.
Mallory Trujillo, Assistant Programming Manager II:
Hey I am Mallory Trujillo! Day to day you can find me helping protecting animals health with a traveling vaccine clinics around MI. When I am not working, I am at home cuddling my crazy zoo at home watching all my favorite shows. My zoo has ferrets( Sally, Goose, Cupcake, & Sugar), a dog (Lilly), and even a cat (Fox).
Favorite Fandoms: Gaming, star trek, YouTube, and anime
Quinten Schuler, Assistant Programming Manager II: Bio Coming Soon...
Favorite Fandoms: Coming Soon
Sarah Krishef, Film Festival Manager: I started as the Film Festival Manager Intern in 2019. My first and favorite fandom is Pokemon, but I love animation of all kinds, including Japanese anime, Disney/Pixar movies, and especially Western animation on Netflix or Cartoon Network – ask me about anything! I still love Nintendo, my favorite games including Pokemon Black and White, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. I’m a Film and Video Production and Writing double major in college. Working with the film festival is a really exciting way to leave my comfort zone and watch some weird movies that don’t have any cartoon characters in them. I also work as a writing consultant, and in my free time I like making cookies, stories and rugs.
Favorite Fandoms: Pokemon, Nintendo, Teen Titans, The Adventure Zone. Contact: email@example.com.
Hannah Hensen, Costume Contest Manager and After Hours Manager: Hannah has been with Grand Rapids Comic Con since 2016 where she got her start with the gaming department. You can generally find her sewing for her small business, knitting or crocheting. Almost always with an audio book or Netflix on in the background. When not honing her skills with fibers or exploring new worlds through fiction, Hannah channels her inner Ms. Frizzle by driving bus for her local school district. Hannah is also newly married, and enjoys drinking coffee, playing board games and DnD with friends, and dreams of living in the woods and embracing the hobbit lifestyle.
Favorite Fandoms: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Firefly, and other fantasy works of fiction
STAFF - GRAPHIC DESIGN
Kary Francisco, Social Media Manager and Graphic Design: Kary is fairly new to working the convention scene, but is no stranger to nerdy activities. She has attended several conventions as well as been involved in Video Game and Anime clubs throughout school. Kary recently graduated with an Associate in Arts degree, and with her skills, enjoys creating numerous works of fandom art. Kary worked at the first Grand Rapids Comic-Con as a volunteer, and is excited to be more involved in the coming years.
Favorite Fandoms: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, Pokemon. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
WITH US IN SPIRIT
Brian Haskin: Brian has been playing video games since he was old enough to operate an Atari joystick. In college, friends got him hooked on tabletop RPGs, and showed him the world of board and card games beyond Monopoly and Uno. In turn, he hopes to share the joy and inspiration that games can bring with attendees at this year’s con. When he’s not gaming or working on GR Comic Con, Brian is an IT technician at The Geek Group. He is also a department head for JAFAX and a member of the Grand Valley Renaissance Festival. Brian passed away on August 4, 2016.
Favorite Fandoms: Anime, Star Wars, Mass Effect, 90s cartoons.