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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Lilac City Comicon draws self-proclaimed geeks and fans of nerd culture

UPDATED: Sun., June 3, 2018

Everybody remembers their first comic book convention. At 29 years old, Jordan Trenter and her two young daughters are likely no different.

Clad from head to toe in a pearly white gown and flowing cape as X-Men’s Emma Frost, Trenter and her two daughters, one dressed as a fairy, the other as Harley Quinn, were stopped often by people asking to take pictures. They obliged, of course, flattered by the comicon camaraderie.

“I really like it here,” the young mother said, stopped near a table bursting with comic books. “I mostly love seeing people’s outfits.”

In its 12th year, the Lilac City Comicon at the Spokane Convention Center has grown steadily to become one of the region’s largest, drawing people from across the Inland Northwest who are self-proclaimed geeks and fans of nerd culture.

Sunday at the convention, while slower and more laid back than Saturday, still saw hundreds of people passing through to look at comic books, buy art for their walls, try on T-shirts, or just take photographs of the dozens of cosplayers who put hours of hard work into their outfits.

The show stealer, though, wheeling – not walking – to the whispers and screams of elation, was a robotic R2-D2 from Star Wars with authentic beeps, boops and squeals.

It was built by Brian Patneaude, a member of an R2-D2 builders group in Seattle, and controlled by his daughter, 13-year-old Evelyn. Along with his 15-year-old son, Wyatt, the three carted the droid from booth to booth – the remotes hidden in Evelyn’s sweatshirt – to the amusement of others.

Sometimes it would stop and twirl. Other times it would play dance music and get down with its bad self.

“The reactions are astounding,” Patneaude said. “In my opinion, he’s one of my favorite Star Wars characters. In some ways, he’s the face of the franchise.”

In attendance were several notable actors made famous for portraying roles in popular comic book shows and movies, such as Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk in the TV series “The Incredible Hulk” from 1977 to 1982. He also voiced the big, green super hero in many of the contemporary Marvel movies, including in “The Avengers.”

Seated next to Ferrigno, signing autographs, was Michelle Harrison, who plays the mother of Barry Allen, aka The Flash, on the TV show “The Flash.”

Before settling down and talking to fans one-on-one, she fielded several questions from atop the show’s main stage, including ones about much she’s enjoyed staying in downtown Spokane over the sunny weekend.

“I love Spokane,” she said. “It’s great.”

From Puyallup, Harrison said she’s visited the Lilac City a few times growing up, but this was the first time she has spent a considerable amount of time in the area. Above all else, she said she was drawn to the charm.

“It’s so peaceful,” she said. “It has a distinct feel.”

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