Saluki-Con 2023 Feature

If you drove anywhere near Southern Illinois University Campus this weekend, chances are you saw a lot of costumes. No it wasn’t Halloween, but rather people in cosplay heading into Saluki Con. The event, similar to a Comic Con, hosted hundreds of artists, business owners, video game lovers, cosplayers, and self-proclaimed nerds all together to create a weekend geek’s dream. 

With the purpose of the event being a specific venue and weekend to those society normally places in a box and rejects, it allows for those around the Southern Illinois area to connect, share passions, and support businesses within the community. This is put on by SIU in particular because it draws people from all over the Midwest, and sometimes farther to the campus, putting the school on the Comic Con map. 

From caricature artists, band cover paintings, cosplay costume clothing designers. Participants could buy a drawing of their favorite video game character then move an aisle over to meet the voice behind their favorite animated character. Giving the Saluki Con go-ers hundreds of opportunities to make the most of a weekend they and their friends waited all year for. 

Not only is the event beneficial for participants, but small business owners from all over the Midwest area, travel to make their most earnings of the year. This was the case for founder of Midnight Scout, Dwight Miller. The alternative company, representing dozens of individual artists’ work, features stickers, patches, shirts, and pins that appeal to many different styles and backgrounds, turning the home made art and quirky pieces into a Comic Con’s dream vendor.

Dwight Miller, owner of Midnight Scout, describes the difficulties of reaching out to your target audience and the positive impact conventions have on small businesses in connecting a community:

“It’s a monster, that you have to learn how to tame and direct to find your target audience. And we can get into the ethics of selling data and all that, but ultimately, it’s a lot is what I’m saying. But to be able to come here and find people for a flat fee, and people come to you and you get to talk to them, and everything I just explained to you. I have a TED talk that is like shortened down to the key points that is not nearly as in detail, but because of that I get to open up dialogue and have conversations, and any kind of person, with my brand, can talk with me about it. Doesn’t matter where they are on any spectrum: political, social or whatever. They’re like, I love that, I love that. That’s awesome, what you do about that.”