As superheroes and sci-fi heroes continue to dominate movie screens during the summer, many local fan events are filling up the calendar featuring celebrity guests, costumes and even baseball.
“Flash Gordon,” 7 p.m. May 18 at the North Park Theatre. The 1980 sci-fi pulp film with the classic Queen soundtrack returns with a special screening at the North Park Theatre (1428 Hertel Ave). Need more incentive to attend? How about an appearance and Q&A with Flash himself, actor Sam Jones? A-AHHH! Info: northparktheatre.org.
Nickel City Con, May 19-21 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. A number of celebrities and guests are set to come to Buffalo for the three-day convention, including William Shatner (appearing May 20 only), Joe Montana, Billy Dee Williams, Nichelle Nichols, Joe Montana, Erin Gray, Diamond Dallas Page, Sam Jones and Noah Schnapp (from “Stranger Things,” May 20-21 only). The show also will include cosplay contests, auctions and exhibitors. Info: nickelcitycon.com.
"Star Wars Night," 6:05 p.m. June 3 at Coca-Cola Field. The Buffalo Bisons celebrate their 10th year of Star Wars baseball fun with a Saturday night game against the Charlotte Knights. The game will include character appearances from the North Ridge, jersey auctions, fireworks, a battle between the Jedi and Sith and even an appearance by Jabba the Hutt. Info: www.bisons.com
[Photos: Scenes from Star Wars Night in 2016]
Niagara Falls Comic Con, June 2-4 at Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls, Canada. Just over the border is another celebrity-filled convention that is sure to empty your wallet. The guest list includes Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from “Star Wars”), Robert Englund, Barbara Eden, Tara Reid and pro wrestling stars Sting and “Mean” Gene Okerlund. There will be numerous vendors, cosplay contests, photo opportunities with famous vehicles like the Batcopter and the General Lee, and panels. Info: niagarafallscomiccon.com.
[Read: More on Peter Mayhew coming to Niagara Falls Comic Con]
An Evening with Kevin Smith, 7:30 and 10 p.m. June 3-4 at Helium Comedy Club (30 Mississippi St.). The verbose filmmaker and podcaster returns to Buffalo’s Helium Comedy Club for four shows over two nights. A passionate fan of geek culture, Smith typically spends most of his shows answering questions from the audience with stories and jokes. Info: buffalo.heliumcomedy.com.
Superhero 5K Race and Wellness Walk, 6 p.m. June 9 at Delaware Park. Runners and walkers are encouraged to dress as their favorite hero with this event designed to raise money and awareness for children living with mental health challenges. Info: buffalosuperherorace.com
[Photos: Smiles at the Superhero 5K from 2015]
Superhero Night, 6:05 p.m. Aug. 19 at Coca-Cola Field. The Buffalo Bisons host another fan promotion with the third-annual superhero event. Several superhero characters will be around the ballpark as the Bisons take on the Gwinnett Braves. In addition, an ongoing scoreboard storyline will culminate in a on-field battle between heroes and villains. Info: bisons.com
Fan Expo, Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center, Toronto. This massive convention draws celebrity guests from horror, sci-fi, anime, comics and gaming. Some of the big names: Tim Curry and Barry Bostwick ("Rocky Horror Picture Show"), Nathan Fillion ("Castle," "Firefly"), Lena Headey ("Game of Thrones") and Paul Wesley ("The Vampire Diaries"), Kathleen Turner, Bob Morley ("The 100"). Info: fanexpocanada.com.
RocCon, Sept. 15-17 at Kodak Event Center, 200 West Ridge Road, Rochester. This multi-day convention is well worth the short trip to Rochester. It's especially popular with anime fans, but there are plenty of celebrity guests, too. This year you can meet Burt Ward (Robin from the original "Batman" TV series), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett from "Star Wars") and David Yost (the blue Power Ranger). Visit roccon.net.
Buffalo Comic Con, Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. The folks at Queen City Bookstore close out the summer with a comics-based convention featuring vintage books, toys and merchandise. The show also will include local artists and contests throughout the weekend.
[Photos: Smiles at Nickel City Con, 2016]