MANCHESTER — The Granite State Comicon returns to the Queen City this weekend with comics, cosplay, gaming and guest celebrities, including Exeter native Matty Cardarople, whose credits include the Netflix series “Stranger Things” and “Series of Unfortunate Events.”
The 17th annual Comicon will take over the expo center in the DoubleTree by Hilton Manchester Downtown from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The VIP entrance opens at 9:30 a.m. both days.
On Sunday Cardarople will be on hand to meet fans. His understated and often awkward delivery have made for memorable character roles, including on Netflix as the Cheetos-loving video store clerk in “Stranger Things” and the Hench Person of Indiscriminate Gender in the Lemony Snickets tale “Series of Unfortunate Events.”
In addition, the Exeter native is known for his roles in the movies “Jurassic World,” as an amusement park ride operator rattled by reports of a dinosaur break, and “Dumb and Dumber To,” in which his character’s tech presentation hits a glitch.
In advance of his participation in the Comicon, Cardarople on Wednesday met with students at Exeter High School to share his experiences in Hollywood and advice for aspiring actors.
Cardarople, who graduated from Exeter High in 2001, told students in one of the school’s acting classes not to worry about rejection.
“You’ve got to just keep pushing forward and be yourself,” he said.
Cardarople said he enjoyed meeting with the students.
“I really hope it inspires them to really go after their passions and not let people interfere with those, because I think it’s really important that you live a truthful life,” he said.
Cardarople’s visit inspired students like senior Leah Kirk, who plans to pursue an acting career.
“I want to do what he does and having him come in, it helps me to know that there’s hope beyond Exeter. It’s nice knowing that there is hope for people who want to pursue something that’s not what people consider stable or what’s mainstream,” she said.
Sophomore Ana Bator is also considering a career in acting.
“It really helped a lot. We got a perspective from someone who’s done it. You know you can have a shot,” she said.
Visitors to this weekend’s Comicon also can look for actor Michael Biehn, who played the time-traveling Kyle Reese in the original “Terminator” and is known for his work in the films “Aliens,” “The Abyss” and “Tombstone.”
There will be costume contests, video game tournaments, board game room, panels and an escape room. Plus, get pictures with costumed characters from “Star Wars,” “Ghostbusters,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and Marvel and DC comic figures.
New for 2019 is the Southern New Hampshire eSports Arena, where guests can participate in video game tournaments with members of SNHU’s eSports team.
Check out the Kids Zone for coloring, drawing and craft-making activities, along with meet and greets with princesses and superheroes.
Admission is $25 for Saturday and $20 for Sunday (not including after-hours events). A weekend pass is $40, with VIP tickets costing $75. Children ages 10 or younger get in free with a paid adult admission.
For more information, visit granitecon.com.
Union Leader Correspondent Jason Schreiber contributed to this story.