Louisiana Comic Con will be holding its fifth convention this weekend, bringing fans from across the country to Acadiana to partake in a weekend of cosplay, panels and fun.

Although the delve into all things nerdy and pop culture  has become a yearly event in Lafayette, some may be surprised to see Deadpool and Harley Quinn strutting around the Cajundome six months earlier than usual. Greg Hanks, co-owner of AVC Conventions, which holds conventions across the Gulf South region, said the move from October to March was made to better acquire celebrity guests for the event as they no longer had to work around the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's football schedule.

"It was increasingly difficult waiting for the ULL football schedule to be released before being able to pick show dates," Hanks said. "We missed out on a lot of good guests because of this. It was a difficult decision, but was necessary to be able to have the chance to maximize the potential of the event."

And the move seems to have paid off as the con has on its guest list Walter Jones, David Fielding and Austin St. John of "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers" fame, Ian McElhinney and Ian Beattie from "Game of Thrones" and Sean Patrick Flanery and David Della Rocco from "The Boondock Saints" and Amy "Lita" Dumas of WWE fame, just to name a few. Some of the other things guests should look out for is photo opportunities with C.J. Graham in his full Jason Voorhees outfit from the movie, a zombie shooting gallery and a full replica of the A-Team van.

Of course, it wouldn't be a comic book convention without professional and amateur comic books creators on hand. Local comic creators such as Kody Chamberlain and Rob Guillory will be in attendance along with a slew of other guests, including Bob McLeod, longtime Marvel Comics artist and co-creator of the X-Men spinoff "New Mutants" and Archie Comics artist Steven Butler."

"The Lafayette Comic Con always has a great turnout with lots of local comic creators... Getting to see local friends and fans makes this convention one of the highlights of our convention schedule," said Lafayette native and independent comic creator Jason Bienvenu.

But the convention wouldn't thrive without the fans. Panels where attendees can ask their favorite celebrities questions and hear the stories of their career will be offered alongside costume contests, usually called cosplay, and an entire show floor of booths selling art, comics and many other items the comic con fanatic could possibly desire.

People will be flocking not only from around the state, but from across the country to attend. Neysha Perry, who is a part of the dance group Orion's Envy, is originally from Lafayette and lives in Phoenix now. Because events like Louisiana Comic Con help her hometown both economically and culturally, she says, she likes to attend every year.

"I love helping out and supporting events that bring so much to Lafayette. My dance group has been guests at cons since 2007, but Louisiana Comic Con is our favorite by far," Perry said.

The convention will run Saturday and Sunday at the Cajundome Convention Center. Tickets will be on sale at the door for $30 a day or $40 for a weekend pass and are still available for preorder at a cheaper price than day of the event. There will also be an after party at 6-11 p.m Saturday for con attendees. 

Follow Dan Boudreaux on Twitter, @dan_boudreaux

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