A magic weekend at UBCon
UBCon brings people from all over Western New York to UB
When Kenmore East seniors Ethan Coniglio and Ariana Porter were deciding what to cosplay for UBCon, they looked to Cartoon Network for inspiration, as opposed to the comic book characters for which cosplay is so well recognized.
They were dressed as Wirt and Greg from Over the Garden Wall, a miniseries featured on the network. This year was their third year attending the annual convention.
“We like coming to this convention – it’s mid-sized and always has a good group of people here,” Coniglio said. “We live about 10 minutes away so it’s convenient for us to get here, and it’s fun to make cosplay costumes to wear.”
The two were part of the hundreds who attended UBCon, UB’s annual comic book convention that ran Friday through Sunday. People from all over the area came dressed as their favorite characters and participated in a variety of activities, including NERF battles, Magic: The Gathering card tournaments and meet and greets with popular comic artists.
The convention spanned the entire weekend, as people started to trickle into the Student Union Friday evening. Featured events included “The Theft of the Moon,” which is a role-playing game, “Island Dice,” the board game and a Pokémon Contest and Hangout. The various types of comics and shows covered were what gave the convention such wide appeal.
The big event for Friday night was the NERF war.
All three floors of the SU were utilized as a battlefield for NERF warriors to fight on. Teams were established before the games began around midnight. The battles consisted of a few different games, including capture the flag and zombies.
The convention’s website had specific rules for the battle events, even going so far to have people sign waivers for the LARP battles. They do this to ensure that while everyone is having fun, they’re also being safe, according to the staff.
Saturday was full of events as the convention spanned the entire day. Not everyone felt the need to participate though, as people watching could be just as interesting some attendees said.
“I’ve just been walking around, I haven’t really participated in anything yet,” said CJ Sampson, who was dressed as the Flame Prince from Adventure Time. “It’s just as fun to walk around and watch everything that’s going on. We came from an hour away because we heard that the convention is one of the best in this area.”
Another big part of UBCon is the cosplay costume contest. Freshman theater major Ariel Kregal said she thinks that’s what brings the big crowds to the university.
“The costume contest is a lot of fun, because even if you don’t win, everyone still acknowledges that you made a costume and that it looks good,” Kregal said. “At other conventions people can get nasty about it, saying yours isn’t as good as someone else’s. It’s not like that here at all, and it’s just fun to see all the different costumes people put together.”
Events occurred throughout the school as the Student Union and Knox were filled with con-goers. Aside from all of the activities, Artist Alley was on the second floor of the Student Union and provided an opportunity for people to come and sell jewelry, artwork and other fan merchandise.
Jessica Gruver, a local woman from Buffalo, sold posters, jewelry and keychains. She’s been coming to the convention for years, but this isn’t the only one she sells at.
“I like this one because it’s close to home, but I sell at a lot of conventions,” Gruver said. “I’m going down to Pennsylvania in a couple weeks. I’ve been to both bigger cons and smaller cons, and they’re just fun to be part of. It’s nice to meet the other vendors and people who appreciate my work and things I sell.”
The convention began to die down Sunday, as fewer people were in costumes throughout the Student Union. Events were more laid back, such as the coloring contest and the Homestuck meetup. The convention ran until 4 p.m. – then the official cleanup begins.
UBCon provides a place for LARPers, comic and show fans alike to express their passion, enjoy activities related to their favorite characters and meet other people who are just as interested as they are. There is some level of comfort to it – it’s more fun if everyone participates.
Tori Roseman is a senior arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org