Midland Mall Comic Con and Dinosaurs invites families for playful fun

The Midland Mall is totally transformed into a family-friendly fun center for the Midland Mall Comic Con and Dinosaurs Saturday and Sunday, March 4 & 5.. Storefronts and aisles will be elevated to a new level of nerd, filled with superheroes, cosplay contests, dino dig, pop culture art and literature, Dungeons & Dragons, arts & crafts, nerf rifle range, laser combat, and more. 

The event started out small in 2020, and has grown each year, says Paul King, event founder and host. This year, Midland Mall Comic Con and Dinosaurs runs Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is free, but donations are accepted. Although some comic cons are generally geared towards adults, this event provides something for all ages. 

Hands on activities are featured at the Midland Mall Comic Con.
“I just want families, friends, and fellow nerds to come out, and have a good time,” King says. “It’s family-oriented and we have so many hands-on activities for the kids. It’s all about having a good time. Anime, Marvel, DC, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, any fandom is great and accepted here.”

King says many attendees bring their whole families out to the free event on both days. He says each day offers something different, different characters and activities that makes it fresh and exciting. 

This year, the event has even more sponsors and those volunteering their time, crafts, and space to the cause. “We have a cosplay contest going on where people dress up, go on stage, and do a battle pose,” King says. “This year, I’m proud to announce we have a lot of new sponsors, and a lot of people reached out to donate prizes. We have expanded our prize category to encompass more prizes for the kids and adults.”
Many different costumes and characters will be on display.
King isn’t sure exactly how many people the event typically draws, since it’s in a public mall setting, but he was told roughly 5,000 people attended last year. “All I know is that every parking spot in the mall was full, and we were packed all weekend long,” he says. “It was amazing, and so many vendors came up to me, and were really happy.”

Vendors include artists, authors, businesses providing sweet treats like cheesecakes, cupcakes, cookies, cotton candy, and more. On-site activities include a nerf rifle range, laser combat, dino digs, and more. A popular returning event is the Dungeons & Dragons matches for both experienced players and newbies. 

“This year, I’m really proud to announce that Creations by Generations brought a Jurassic Park Dino Dig experience for the kids.That is a huge highlight for us,” King says. “They 3D-printed all sorts of stuff for the kids to see, displays, exhibits, hands-on stuff, and a dig pit in the middle of the display. That is something a lot of people are looking forward to.”

This year’s event will also include a storefront transformed into a little Comic Con museum, with memories from past shows, a guest book, and suggestion box. Window displays have been transformed by volunteer artists, and there will be photoshoots with props, backdrops and greenscreens to live out your superhero fantasies. 

King is appreciative of the supportive partnership with the mall, and the volunteers putting in many hours behind-the-scenes to make the event possible. “I’m grateful to my fans, vendors, family and friends that make this show possible for everybody,” he says. 

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Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at sarahspohn.news@gmail.com.