The BangPop! Comic Con — the fourth edition of which is set for this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21 at the Cross Insurance Center — is Bangor’s own little love letter to all things nerdy, be it comics, movies, games, TV or anything horror, sci-fi, superhero or fantasy. Organizers Gibran Graham (Bangor’s city council is awesome) and Jarrett Melendez know that, which is why BangPop is bigger and better than ever this year.
The term nerdy, however, has changed a lot in the past decade or so. What used to be a niche audience has turned into a pretty mainstream obsession — one need only look at the blockbuster success of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Avengers,” the huge popularity of TV shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” and video games outselling most other forms of media to see that it’s true. Last month, internationally beloved nerd songsmith “Weird” Al Yankovic’s new album hit number one on the Billboard charts. Nerd is no longer a four letter word: it’s a badge of honor.
To that end, there’s a little something for everybody — well, almost everybody — at BangPop! this year.
- They’re best known as the robot Crow and Dr. Forrester and as TV’s Frank, but Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff (pictured above) have lots of other stuff to their credit, besides “Mystery Science Theater 3000” — one of the greatest comedy TV shows of all time, in this writer’s humble opinion. Their laser sharp comedic barbs skewered old b-movies on both “MST3K” in the 1990s and their later project, “Cinematic Titanic,” a live show that toured from 2007 until 2013. Conniff has written for a number of TV shows, while Beaulieu recently published a children’s book and directed a short film, “The Frank,” which starred Conniff and a number of “MST3K” alums. Panel set for 11 a.m. Sunday.
- “Battlestar Galactica” fans will get to see Crewman Cally Henderson Tyrol at BangPop! this year — the actress that portrayed her, Nicki Clyne, will appear at a panel. The character of Cally was a regular part of seasons three and four of “Battlestar,” playing a member of the crew who later realizes her husband, Galen Tyrol, is a cylon. Panel set for 3 p.m. Sunday.
- Theodus Crane (pictured above) and Gregory French, both stars of “The Walking Dead” on AMC. Crane was featured in season three as Big Tiny, one of the prisoners that were busted out by Daryl and Rick, only to meet an untimely demise after he’s believed to be infected. Fans of the show might not immediately recognize French, though they’ve seen him on screen a number of times — he’s portrayed more than 20 walkers in seasons three and four. Panel set for 2 p.m. Saturday
- Some of the comic creators slated to present this year include CP Wilson III (“The Stuff of Legend”), Mark Scott Ricketts (local author and illustrator), Jeff Kline (“Transformers Prime”), Alex De Campi (“My Little Pony), Fred Van Lente (“Marvel Zombies”), Christopher Mills (“Gravedigger”), Alex Irvine (novelizations of many Marvel properties) and Rich Woodall (“Johnny Raygun,” various Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles titles). Panels set for 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Costume masquerade and contest set for 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday.
- The Cosplay Competition — featuring special guest judge Becky Young, an acclaimed cosplayer, star of ScyFy’s “Heroes of Cosplay” and Bangor area native — will go on all weekend. Come dressed as your favorite character. Half the fun of a comics convention is seeing all the amazing costumes.
Tickets for BangPop! can be purchased online on the convention website. A full schedule of panels and events will be posted later this week.