WOODLAWN — “Khan Con 2; The Wrath Of Con” is set to return to Carroll County for a local child (and others) with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) on August 13 and August 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We have a whole lot to offer again this year,” said organizer David Guynn. He said one of the headline activities will be a “Super Smash Brothers” tournament. “We had no idea this would be so popular.”
Due to a scheduling conflict, the event (which has expanded to two days) has moved from VFW Post 1115 in Hillsville to a facility that has air conditioning off Ineterstate 77’s Exit 14 at the Carroll County Parks and Recreation Facility in Woodlawn (the former Woodlawn Elementary School.) The convention will include Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, gaming, toys, art, books and comics. Refreshments will be available outside the facility.
Organizers stressed “Khan-Con” is family-friendly fun for a serious cause. More than 800 attended the event in Hillsville last year. Persons may obtain more information on the event at www.khan-con.com or by following Khan-con on Facebook and twitter. Admission is $5 per person and kids 12 years and younger are free. Table payment (for vendors/artists) is handled on the Khan Con 2 website at www.khan-con.com.
Guynn’s son, Jack, suffers from DMD, a genetic disorder characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. It is one of nine types of muscular dystrophy. The disease primarily affects boys, but in rare cases it can affect girls. There is no cure for DMD with current treatments used to slow the disease’s advance.
Guynn said DMD is not well-known, so there isn’t nearly enough funding and legal support for research. A cadre of friends, family and their church stepped up including Jack’s mother, Autumn Sullivan, and sister, Molly Lawson. The family used its limited resources and gaming, fantasy, sci-fi, and cosplay (costumed role playing) interests to create the event to appeal to everyone’s inner kid.
Among the notables this year at the event is Michael Eury, editor-in-chief of TwoMorrows’ Eisner Award-nominated Back Issue magazine. Eury has worked as a writer or editor for Nike, Toys R Us, The Microsoft Network, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, Warner Bros. Worldwide Publishing, Bowen Designs, Arcadia Publishing, and others. An Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide advisor, he has written or co-written over 10 books about comic-book history. His credits include Adventures of the Mask, Looney Tunes, Sensational She-Hulk, Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham, Hero Zero, and Cool World. His comic-editing credits include Who’s Who in the DC Universe, Legion of Super-Heroes, The Huntress, Hawk and Dove, New Gods, Ghost, X, Barb Wire, Batman vs. Predator II, and Superman vs. Aliens. His forthcoming book, (to be released this winter) from TwoMorrows Publishing, is “Hero-A-Go-Go: Campy Comic Books, Crimefighters, and Culture of the Swinging Sixties.”
The “R2 Builders Club,” an international community which builds its own replica robots from the Star Wars universe, will also be on hand. Costumed members of the “501st Legion: Vader’s Fist” will return to patrol the convention for photo ops. The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed to bring together costume enthusiasts collectively.
The tentative list of vendors for this year’s event include “Clockwork Kestrel,” with one-of-a-kind steampunk and vintage-inspired jewelry and cosplay props; fabric artist “Momma Cricketz;” the “Untamed Worlds” comic and gaming shop; fabric artist “Holly and Her Hobbies; Amy Konecny’s Geektastic jewelry and gifts; Roanoke’s MystiCon: sci-fi, fantasy; SW Virginia Toys and Collectibles; Infinity Toys Comics and Collectibles; Roger Mannon’s vintage superhero, western, humor comics and collectibles; “Mompta Entwined” handcrafted wearable art jewelry; antique, and collectible toys, comics, and dolls from “When Toys Were Fun;” Longshot Comics and More: Comics shop of Roanoke; Archvillain Comics: Comics and games of Blacksburg and Windy’s Beads, handmade jewelry and crafts.
Proceeds from Khan-Con will go to fund the clinical trial treatments and travel for Jack. The Khan-Con name was inspired by Star Trek villain Khan Noonien Singh.
Last year Jack beat long odds to be a perfect candidate in a clinical trial which could offer a cure for him and other boys with DMD. He continues to participate. The trial requires travel to Baltimore, Maryland two days weekly for two years. Sullivan said there are no trials closer and the fact that Jack was selected is a miracle in itself. Sullivan said Jack is a high-functioning autistic child. When the family took Jack in for genetic testing for autism, his DMD was discovered.
“Jack is still participating in the two-year trial. He’s excited about Khan Con and he’s planning on wearing a costume,” Guynn said. “We have received so much help. Everyone has been so wonderful. A lot (of people) came last year and weren’t even interested in the convention. They were there to support Jack.”
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.