“Star Trek,” anime, comics and more will be celebrated at SoonerCon 23, a multigenre fan-run convention set for this weekend in Midwest City.
Larry Nemecek, a “Star Trek” expert originally from Norman, will be on hand as part of “Star Trek Continues.” SoonerCon will offer a special big-screen showing at 4 p.m. Saturday of “Fairest of Them All,” the third episode of the fan-created Web series “Star Trek Continues.”
The series continues the original five-year mission of the Enterprise from the classic series “Star Trek” and features SoonerCon guests Vic Mignogna as Captain Kirk and Nemecek as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy.
And that’s just one event on an expanded schedule for this year’s SoonerCon.
“For this year’s SoonerCon, fans can expect the same broad mix of activities and features, but expanded,” said SoonerCon 23 co-chairman Leonard Bishop. “More gaming, a larger Exhibitors Hall, a greatly expanded anime track, voiceover actors for the very first time, more workshops and demos and make-and-take classes ... more, more, more. SoonerCon is growing, just like pop culture is more and more prevalent all around us.”
Mignogna is one of the noted voice actors Bishop mentioned; another is Jamie Marchi, a University of Oklahoma graduate who previously voiced the anime version of the Top Cow comics character Witchblade. Marchi also writes anime dub scripts and directs other actors. She’s currently writing for “Space Dandy” on Toonami.
“Season two is starting soon,” Marchi said in an interview with The Oklahoman. “I’ll be able to talk about the other things I’m working on anytime between three months to a year, so stay tuned.”
Hall of fame
The Oklahoma Speculative Fiction Hall of Fame, founded last year at SoonerCon, this year inducts Dwight V. Swain.
The hall honors lifetime achievements and contributions to science fiction and pop culture by Oklahomans.
“Dwight was a writer who crossed many genres, published in the old pulps starting in the ’30s and ultimately ended up as one of the pillars of the OU School of Journalism’s Professional Writing Program, where he published several books considered mainstays of the working writer,” Bishop said. “His publishing career spanned six decades. He will be posthumously inducted, with his widow Joye Swain accepting on his behalf.”
Appealing to fans
The show welcomes writers and artists of all types and has an extensive art show and gaming area. The show also has a popular masquerade.
“Film, costuming, comics or whatever aspect of fandom appeals, there’s an outlet here,” Bishop said. “And if you want to see more of something at the next SoonerCon, just talk it up to some of the committee, volunteer — make it happen.”
Fantasy and comic conventions continue to trend up in attendance. SoonerCon has done likewise. The original iteration of the convention took place from 1986-1997. The convention returned in 2006. Since then, according to organizers, attendance has increased each year, with about 2,200 attendees projected for this year.
Increased attendance led SoonerCon to expand its hours this year, with a full day of Friday activities. Additionally, active-duty military personnel get in free on Friday, or can get in for the entire weekend for the cost of a day pass.
For Oklahomans living elsewhere, like Marchi and Nemecek, the local convention is a chance to come back home.
“Oklahoma is my background,” Marchi said. “I tell ya what, being from Oklahoma City and having graduated from OU, SoonerCon, a hometown convention, can’t not be special.”
Bishop said the success of SoonerCon indicates that Oklahoma City has a growing geek culture.
“It’s a great time to be a geek in metro OKC. There are so many new things happening, if only you look for them,” he said.
IF YOU GO
Comics columnist Matthew Price will appear at multiple panels at SoonerCon: