Rencon brings out the sci-fi and fantasy in Renton

Comic and game convention still seeks permanent home for yearly event

As school starts up again, something besides students came to campus: a comic book convention.

Renton City Comicon (Rencon) came back to Renton for the 2019 convention at Renton Technical College (RTC), Sept 6-8. The event had panels, vendors and cosplay from guests.

“This is where our convention started and where we want it to be,” Co-founder Ben Andrews said.

This year had a few new features, including the “Star Wars” exhibit and cars from the movie “Transformers,” the television series “Supernatural” and the comics under the “Marvel Universe.”

Andrews said his favorite cosplays were guests Carma Cosplay, who did a Wonder Woman costume, and co-founder Emilio Morales’s large robot cosplay.

As a returning vendor, writer and illustrator Sara Ventura said it was active on Saturday. Ventura and graphic designer/illustrator Chris Buckley vend at comic conventions around the Northwest. Ventura said RTC was also more accessible for guests, being on a single level, and had less bottle-necking than the Tukwila convention.

As a team, Andrews said they were excited to bring the convention back to Renton, which received $10,000 from the grant in the second round of applications this year. Supporters of Rencon came to city council after not receiving funds in the first round, which was due to the convention’s return on investment.

“The city took the time to help us get to where we needed to be,” Andrews said.

“They gave us a lot of validation, I’m proud we all worked together to implement this.”

He compared it to how geek culture has grown and become profitable, and made a positive impact on society. He said in 2016 they started with a chip on their shoulder, wanting to be recognized.

After the 2018 convention Brian Morris, one of the other co-founders along with Emilio Morales, took over as Rencon CEO.

Andrews said he thought the convention was better suited for a hotel environment, but that the decision to have it at RTC was right for 2019.

Last year the event was in Tukwila at Hotel Interurban after not receiving funding from Renton’s hotel lodging tax grant. Previously it was held at Red Lion Hotel in Renton and the downtown Renton core. Andrews said they’ve had a variety of locations to learn lessons from.

Andrews said the event was down on attendance this year, to about 1,000 guests, which he thinks was due to them moving the venue each year. He said he hopes to find a home for Rencon and stay there. Despite the low turnout, Andrews said it was the most “functional” year for the convention.

Some of the younger guests, including Brooklyn, a 13 year old from Des Moines, said this year felt more organized and had more artists compared to last year. She said it was a good mix of vendors too. Her and one friend were cosplaying as characters from the anime “My Hero Academia” and the other as someone from video game series “Danganronpa.”

“It’s a cute convention. It’s not like the bigger conventions that take a whole weekend. That’s why we’re here,” Brooklyn said.

Now Andrews said they need to rebuild the marketing machine for next year, including possibly rebranding the convention to a name that reflects all of South King County, and the other municipalities interested in the event.

“It can live in Renton, and it will live in Renton,” Andrews said. “But we want to make all the surrounding communities feel like it’s theirs also.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Courtesy photo
State demanded more drop boxes, and now it must pay for them

A King County judge says a law requiring more ballot boxes was an illegal unfunded mandate.

file photo
Renton tourism grant applications open for 2021

The amount of money available has not been determined yet due to COVID-19

The mural in progress about the Cascade Benson community, that led to a Fairwood man aiming a firearm at the artists. Courtesy photo/Facebook
Fairwood man arrested for harassing Cascade/Benson Hill mural artists

The man pointed a gun at the artists while saying ‘All lives matter.’

King County 2020 unemployment numbers. Source: Washington State Employment Security Department
Boeing, coronavirus likely to impact King County economy

Unemployment remained high in September.

Smith, Basler running for District 9 Congress seat

Republican challenger takes on Democrat incumbent.

Oct. 16, the Skyway community celebrated the Skyway Resource Center as a designation for a new HUD Envision Center. Courtesy photo/RIZP
New Skyway Resource Center receives national designation

The center was established with support of Renton Innovation Zone Partnership and the Renton School District

File photo/Renton City Hall.
Mayor presents proposed 2021-22 budget

The city council will make its first vote on Nov. 2, after the final public hearing

Gov. Jay Inslee during his Oct. 6 news conference. (Screenshot)
Gov. Inslee loosens rules for bars, libraries and movie theaters

New rules come as coronavirus cases are on the rise statewide.

Jay Inslee (left) and Loren Culp
Inslee, Culp will meet in only televised debate Wednesday

The two candidates will answer questions for an hour but they will not be on stage together.

Most Read