Jason Mewes, Corey Taylor, horror icons, pro-wrestlers and more headline Astronomicon 4 in Ann Arbor

Erica Hobbs
Special to The Detroit News

What do you get when you combine a passion for horror, comics, toys, wrestling and film? You get Astronomicon, an eclectic pop culture convention returning to Ann Arbor this weekend for its fourth straight year.

Playing off “astronomical” – something “out of this world” – Astronomicon is the brainchild of two sets of childhood friends: Rap/rock “horrorcore” duo Twiztid, as well as their manager George Vlahakis and his childhood friend Mike Winagar, who co-coordinate the event.

“We love to collect toys, we love horror movies, we love everything pop culture from wrestling to fill-in-the-blank,” Vlahakis said. “Between all four of us, we put a wish list together every year, sometimes these things happen sometimes they don’t.”

Jason Mewes and more headline Astronomicon 4 in Ann Arbor.

The three-day event is packed with panels, photo ops, music, games, collectibles, kids activities and cosplay, with celebrity appearances from horror icons, musicians, pro wrestlers and more.

Celebrity highlights include:

·       The “Kings of Horror” panel featuring Kane Hodder (“Hatchet,” “Friday the 13th”), Bill Moseley (“House of 1000 Corpses,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”) and Michael Berryman (“The Hills Have Eyes,” “The Devils Rejects”). The panel will be hosted by Spencer Charnas, frontman of horror-themed metalcore band Ice Nine Kills.

·       Corey Taylor, frontman of Slipknot and Stone Sour.

·       Jason Mewes, “Jay” from “Jay and Silent Bob” and “Clerks.” Mewes is currently filming the recently announced sequel, “Clerks 3.”

·       Butch Patrick, famous as Eddie Munster in “The Munsters,” accompanied by the show’s legendary Munster coach, parked outside for fans to take photos with.

·       Pro-wrestler Mick Foley dressed up each day as a different one of his “Three Faces of Foley” personas.

·       Ming Chen from the “Comic Book Men” reality show and the “I Sell Comics!” podcast.

·       Pro-wrestlers Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti.

Twiztid will also be giving their own panel.

“This year we definitely sprinkled in a lot of new faces,” Vlahakis said. “I’m proud of the different groups of people we got to sign on this year. We have a wide variety of things for people to do when they arrive.”

Other events include horror, Juggalo and wrestling trivia; cosplay and tattoo contests; video game tournaments; and live speed painting with Dave Santia.

Children can enjoy their own cosplay contest, as well as a kid zone dance party and a DIY Home Depot workshop.

“We definitely want to make this a family event, so when people bring the kids, there’s something for them to do as well,” Vlahakis said.

The event will also feature the early and exclusive release of series two comic book “Twiztid Haunted High-Ons: The Curse of The Green Book,” with an Astronomicon cover only available at the event. 

With all the stress going on in the world, Vlahakis said Astronomicon is a great opportunity to escape.

“You can come and have a good time,” he said, “even if you’re on a budget.”

Astronomicon will take place at the Sheraton Ann Arbor Hotel at 3200 Boardwalk Drive, Ann Arbor, Mich. Hours are Friday from 5-11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Weekend passes are $70, Friday-only is $30, Saturday-only is $35 and Sunday-only is $25. Tickets for kids ages 6-12 are $15 and good for the entire weekend. Children ages 5 and under get in free. Additional packages with photo opportunities and full details of the event are available at www.astronomicon.com.