HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — The family that has organized Smallville Con in Hutchinson for the past 10 years has decided it cannot do it anymore. The convention was a celebration of comic books and pop culture.
DC Comics hero Superman grew up in the fictional town of Smallville, Kansas. In 2013, Hutchinson agreed to rename itself Smallville for one day, and the annual convention came along with it.
“Smallville Con was built out of years of my family attending various conventions throughout the United States,” Jon Robinson, Smallville Con owner, said. “During each attendance, we noted what we loved, what we disliked, and what it cost to participate. Soon, we began to carefully observe logistics and operational strategies. As soon as I thought our community could support a comic book convention, I set out to make the event I would want to attend as a fan. With the generous and loving support of my family and close friends, Smallville Con was launched.”
The first year was so successful that the two ATMs ran out of money at the site.
Robinson said the family listened and learned from fans, vendors, creators and celebrity guests. They fine-tuned the convention each year, trying to keep it fun and affordable for families.
This year, the three-day event included a costume parade, a car show, a race, food and music. Robinson said they have brought in over 50 celebrity guests and hundreds of creators and vendors over the decade.
“Over the last eleven years, the Robinson family has diligently worked to provide a quality, light-hearted event that was both fun and affordable for the entire family to share in our fascination and love of pop culture entertainment,” Jon Robinson, Smallville Con owner, wrote in a news release.
But he said organizing the event also takes its toll. He said Smallville Con was a labor of love but tremendously hard work.
“We all have day jobs, careers and professions which are not connected to the pop culture industry,” Robinson said. “This was a hobby we worked on after hours and on the weekends. Unfortunately, it took a toll on my family as the focus was always on preparations for the next year.”
He said the family did not want the quality of the show to suffer or to increase the cost to participate. He said that would betray why Smallville Con was created in the first place.
“Following the conclusion of our 10th Anniversary Celebration, we acknowledge the increasing impact to our families coupled with rising operational costs are no longer supportive of a quality show,” he said. “Therefore, it is with a heavy heart we announce the conclusion of operations for Smallville Con: Hutchinson’s Very Own Pop Culture and Comic Book Celebration.”
Robinson said this was one of the hardest decisions he has ever made.
“After ten wonderful shows, I decided to end the Con while we were on top,” he said. “To quote comics artist Mike Zeck, ‘Every Con from San Diego on down who thinks they’ve mounted an impressive display…know that you’ve been trumped by a little show in Kansas! (July 22, 2018)’“
He thanked all the Smallville Con fans, volunteers, vendors, writers, creators, artists, sponsors, and celebrity guests.
Each and every one of you will always remain in our hearts as part of our Smallville Family. This has been an extremely difficult choice, but like the television series which inspired us, sadly our adventure too, now comes to an end after 10 years. From our family to yours, we humbly thank you for the adventure of a lifetime.”
KSN News asked Robinson if there is a chance the convention could be saved or if anyone else could take over running it.
“No, not as the Robinson’s built it,” he said. “Others may build events and have conventions, but there will only ever be one Smallville Con. Though we close the doors with a heavy heart, my family and I stand proud to have been Hutchinson’s Very Own Pop Culture and Comic Book Celebration.”