The Verde Valley Comic Expo returns for its second year Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cottonwood Recreation Center Gym, 150 S. Sixth St.

This family-friendly comic book convention will feature cosplayers, merchandise vendors, food trucks and artists from across the Southwest.

Guests of honor include Chris Giarrusso [Marvel Comics’ “Mini Marvels”], Brian Augustyn [DC Comics’ “Flash”] and Michael Gallagher [Archie Comics] and Stephen Reid, veteran animator on “Space Jam,” “Titan A.E.” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

The event is organized by the Northern Arizona Cartoonist  Association, a collective of artists that promotes the arts and literacy through comics and cartooning in cooperation with the Cottonwood Public Library and Bookmarks. This year’s show is dedicated to the memory of Ann Roberts, who was instrumental in organizing last year’s expo.

The VVCE will be preceded by a special screening of the independently produced science fiction film, “The Occupants,” on Friday, March 31, at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre, 2030 W. SR 89A, in Sedona at 7 p.m. “The Occupants” comic book artist Dave Beaty will be available for questions after the screening and is also a guest of honor at VVCE.

Tickets for the Verde Valley Comic Expo are available the day of the event for $5, or for $3 with the donation of two canned foods. Children under 10 years old are admitted free. Proceeds benefit youth and adult programs at the Cottonwood Public Library.

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