The Range family—Thomas ’89 Sci, his wife, Maureen Connolly- Range, and children, Megan ’18 Com, ‘18 Lib and Mitchell ’21 Sci—attended comic conventions along the East Coast while Megan and Mitchell were growing up. Once Tom, a teacher, and Maureen, a physical therapist, retired to State College, they thought they would start their own. The first Happy Valley Comic and Collectibles Convention hosted roughly 2,000 visitors in February 2023 at the Nittany Valley Sports Centre. The second will be held at the Centre on Feb. 24 and 25.
“Going to these conventions has shown us stuff that we would and would not like to do,” says Megan. The likes include costume contests, tables for celebrity guests, more than 200 vendors and comic book artists, and Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon tournaments. As it did last year, the Penn State All-Sports Museum will provide trophies and props for children to be photographed with in front of Nittany Lion–themed backdrops. Partnerships with organizations including the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, which provided a grant to help launch the convention, and the Alliance of Heroic Hearts, a student “cosplay for a cause” organization, will continue this year.
Planning for the 2024 event started as the 2023 convention was wrapping up, with Mitchell checking in from his home in Houston. “This is a nice way of keeping us connected,” says Maureen.