Come One, Come All to College Of DuPage’s Annual CODCON XXVI

COD hosted its annual comic and game convention, CODCON XXVI, marking its most active year since returning from the pandemic.

Antonio Llanos, Staff Writer

As the spring semester comes to a close, one of the most communal events of the semester managed to garner the attention of not just the students but from individuals across the country. Spanning over the course of three days, fans of anime, fantasy, comic books, and games (board, tabletop and roleplaying) come together in celebration of their favorite hobbies. COD hosted its annual comic and game convention, CODCON XXVI, marking its most active year since returning from the pandemic.

Upon arriving at COD, traveling through the various hallways to see every attraction could seem confounding at first. However, as one is guided by the numerous signs accenting the corridors, the path becomes akin to a journey. As one turns, possible adventures or possible encounters with fellow travelers align in the path of possibilities. At CODCON, the possibilities are as plentiful as the boundaries of one’s imagination.

The staff of the maid cafe of CODCON. (Antonio Llanos)

For those who enjoy role-playing, COD’s Anime and Cosplay club set up an immersive eatery in which maids and butlers will cater to their compatriots indulging in the festivities of the convention. The setup was complete with tablecloths, tables with flower centerpieces and an ambiance reminiscent of a Japanese café.

Café runner and officer for Anime and Cosplay club on campus, Nick Grogan touched on a general sense of community when asked about running the café for CODCON XXVI. Though initially understanding the undertaking of work, Grogan spoke on returning this last year, and as a club member.

“this upcoming year, I wanted to help out with [the maid’s café],” he said. “Noting how rewarding the experience is being able to see…the amount of people coming in and having a good time.”

Fellow officer for Anime and Cosplay club, Aris Urbina, also ran the cafe previously, signing on as a coordinator again. However, Urbina notes their previous officers did not continue. 

“I didn’t want to leave like the Convention in the maid cafe kind of without a lead,” Urbina said. “So I committed one more year to help out and help the future officers get used to the convention.”

In extension, Grogan notes how CODCON is not only accessible but communal in relation to how regular conventions can be. 

“[It] offers a local community which is really important,” he said. “Because a lot of conventions tend to be like in an inconvenient place like another state, whereas like ours is like right next to houses and it’s on a [college] campus.”

For those further looking to expand on roleplaying playfulness, an event known as the “Amtgard” invited participants to compete as swordsmen in simulated combat. Many fought, but only one stood victorious amongst the many participants. Allen Becker ran the local Live Action Role Playing event, highlighting how such an event can be a positive force not just at conventions, but also in the community.

 “We are a nonprofit organization, so we get some benefits. We also do food drives and whatnot like that,” Becker states.

Piles of board games for convention goers to play. (Elizabeth Barbosa)

There were a number of game and demo-based events that provided convention attendees with a lot of possibilities. Many individuals piled into the grand convention hall in order to sit down with a slice of pizza and their closest friends and played one of the many games stacked on the table, including Wingspan, Munchkin Deluxe, Mysterium Park, Quacks of Quedlinburg, Ascension, Flux, Great Western Trail, Argentina, Shadows: Heroes and Monsters and so much more.  

For those who require more of an electronically immersive game, there were a number of game stations set up on the third floor for all gamers ranging from the retro to the newest games on the market including numerous mini (retro) systems including a Super Nintendo, the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Genesis and a number of Nintendo Switches.

CONCOD attendees enjoy their time playing video games. (Elizabeth Barbosa)

In the spirit of competition, there were a number of tournaments held at CODCON. Saturday held many competitions including “Magic: The Gathering,” “Settlers Of Catan”, and a number of other miscellaneous tournaments and smaller competitions.

Although out the weekend, the hallways were lined with a number of merchants and vendors who have a large variety of hobby and gaming-related products. Whether you are a hardcore Table Top gamer, a video gamer, an anime fan or just a general art enthusiast, there is something for everyone. Specifically, if you are looking to get into the gaming world, CODCON set specific merchants up in the conference room for both new gamers and game enthusiasts to find something that piqued their interest. 

CODCON’s vendors all specialize in specific types of accessories and come from all different backgrounds from the educational realm to originating to Central America. William Tolumbo, an Ecuadorian vendor particularly noted a communal exclusivity. 

“There is a youthful community here, but also an openness to the event,” Tolumbo stated in Spanish.

Tolumbo went ahead to describe how the vendors collectively experience an increase in sales, focusing on a communal approach to enabling individuals to buy from one seller and the next. Fellow vendor and painter Rob Hogan also emphasizes the overall community once more, 

“I am experiencing a lot less headaches and, with less overhead, I’m cool to hang out here and there’s other people said they know a lot of the vendors here. So it’s kind of nice just to see people. If I walk away with a little bit more in my pocket. I’m cool with” directly prioritizing profit in place of a different reward” notes Hogan.  

In some vendors’ opinions, CODCON is considered a privilege to not just attend, but to be able to sell to give back to the community. Candice Rakow of Candi Coated Designs who makes hand-sewn dice and carry-all bags had her own take on being able to present at CODCON. 

“Contributing to a college would be contributing to the youth and I actually love showing as a passion of mine and I’m actually teaching,” Rakow said.

Joe Aborreno at his vendor stand. (Antonio Llanos)

Fellow vendor and commission artist, Joe Aborreno talked about how CODCON doesn’t restrict itself to one thing, allowing many different types of people to enjoy the event. 

“There’s more openness in terms of what’s available it’s just that gaming,” Aborreno said. “It’s not just an anime convention or it’s not just a gaming convention. It’s a little bit of everything.” 

Not only does vending provide the perfect opportunity, but also allows one to engage with potential customers on a personable level. Lauren Masterson, a local writer and vendor at CODCON, takes to conventions to help encourage people to follow their goals and CODCON allows her the perfect opportunity to connect with emerging artists or writers. 

“[I’m here to] tell people who are hopeful to become published authors that it is entirely possible, and you should never stop chasing your dreams,” Masterson said. “And I think that showing up in person and showing people that, yes, you can do it really helps to show people that they can also do it.” 

CODCON XXVI closed on April 16 and ended with a final hurrah with a number of closing events, including some more video game tournaments and a number of ongoing game demos. Though this may be one of CODCON’s major returns since the COVID-19 pandemic, it managed to gather more individuals in years past from the closest areas to the farthest.