How Modesto comic con has expanded to meet demand

John Navarro (left, Republic Commander) looks at different specialty items during the 2016 Classic Comic Con in Modesto.
John Navarro (left, Republic Commander) looks at different specialty items during the 2016 Classic Comic Con in Modesto. Modesto Bee

Bigger and better, that’s the plan for the annual Classic Comic Con, returning this weekend to Modesto.

Held last year at The Seasons McHenry Event Center, it pretty much outgrew that venue as soon as the doors opened, according to Joe Cahill, CEO of Steam House Entertainment, which puts on the event. So for its third annual affair, he’s it moved to the larger Modesto Centre Plaza where there will be activities both inside and out.

There’s a rigorous slate of offerings this year, from a trick-or-treat for kids on opening night outside the downtown venue (Friday, Oct. 27), to film screenings all weekend, panels, celebrity question-and-answer sessions, a masquerade ball, a concert and more.

“We try to keep it fresh and do more than (attendees) can get from one of the big corporate cons,” Cahill said.

Aside from the larger digs, moving to the Centre Plaza has another upside for Cahill: “I want to see downtown fully revitalized and I’m hoping that this is one of the things that’s going to do it.”

Classic Comic Con again will welcome guest star Doc Phineas – known for his regular appearances on TV’s “Pawn Stars” – as general emcee of the event. Phineas also will participate in panels while serving as “our minister of magic,” Cahill said, referencing the “Harry Potter”-themed portion of the event.

Other celebrity guests include Nicki Aycox from the TV series “Supernatural” and film “Jeepers Creepers II.” That film will be among those screened during the three-day convention and Aycox also will be available for a Q&A session. Actor Tony Amendola from TV’s “Once Upon a Time” and 2014 horror film “Annabelle” also will appear.

Along with screenings of national releases “Jeepers Creepers II” (Saturday) and classic sci-fi film “Alien” (Sunday), indie film “Klown Kamp Massacre” will be shown. “Klown Kamp” won an online poll seeking films to bring in, held on the con’s Facebook page. Most of the crew and actors from the movie will join for a panel after the Saturday screening, Cahill said.

A Hogwarts Masquerade Ball will be held Friday evening after the trick-or-treating. On Saturday night, an all-ages concert featuring Japanese pop group 29 Q will be opened by Lovely Rushers.

“We are looking forward to the concert, it’s (29 Q’s) U.S. debut, so it’s kind of cool that they’re coming to Modesto for that,” Cahill said.

Cahill said another draw will be appearances by Ginny Di, a famous cosplayer (costume player) known for her recreation of all the female characters in the “Harry Potter” universe.

As always, conventioneers will find plenty of comics, cosplay, gaming, anime, steampunk, displays and more at the event.

For a full schedule of the three days of events, see the Steam House Entertainment website at

Classic Comic Con

WHEN: 6-11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27; 9:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28; 10:15 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29

WHERE: Modesto Centre Plaza 1000 L St., Modesto

TICKETS: $10 single day, $15 weekend; some events additional cost