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Celebrating its second year as the Biggest Little City's only comics- and art-centric convention, the Sands Reno Comic-Con kicks into gear with a new Friday night events schedule in addition to a full day of activities on Saturday. Fans, cosplayers and a large number of vendors will converge at the Sands Regency Hotel Casino from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 19 to trade collectibles, meet artists and take part in panels.

Sands Reno Comic-Con organizers have worked to bring attendees a more event-focused schedule this year, increasing the number of panels and including the pre-con night of special events.

Here are the top five things to do at this year's self-described "old fashioned comic-con":

Friday night events

New to the convention for 2015 is an expanded programming schedule for Friday night, with all events held free to the public. Starting at 6 p.m. Friday, artist, illustrator and Lucasfilm Animation designer Nate Watson hosts a seminar on drawing superheroes, followed by a discussion on the myths and cultural themes of the series at the Anthropology of Star Wars panel with local expert Daryl Frazetti. Those 21 and older are invited to a Drink & Draw session at the Sands' 3rd Street Lounge from 6 to 9 p.m. Convention guests will be sketching and mingling with fans and welcome anyone with a sketchpad to join in on the drawing session.

Meet the artists

Watson also will be appearing at the main event on Saturday as part of the lineup of featured artists. Other artists include Ron Lim (Silver Surfer, Spider-Man and Captain America), Chris Marrinan (who's worked for DC, Marvel and Dark Horse Comics) and Sparks local Rob Mather, who has self-published zombie and horror comics. Artists will meet-and-greet with fans at their exhibition tables, many selling signed artwork and taking photos with convention attendees.

Costume contest

No comic-con would be complete without cosplayers lining up to show off their hard work and amazing costumes. Cosplayers can enter the costume contest, featuring cash prizes for the first year ever, at 4 p.m. Saturday. Judged by a panel of special guests, both homemade and store-bought costumes are eligible to enter, with categories for children and adults.

Panels

In addition to the Star Wars panel on Friday night, the Sands Reno Comic-Con will host a number of panels, on topics from art to cosplay, throughout the duration of the event. Highlights include costuming on a budget, the cultural imagery of Gotham City and Metropolis in comics, and a special spotlight panel featuring the art and career of Marinnan, who will share insight and advice on those looking to break into a career in comics.

Collectibles, comics and art

The main convention floor is devoted to vendors, coming from around the country to give those convention-goers the chance to get their hands on toys, comics and art to add to their collections. Signed memorabilia booths will draw big crowds, and boxes upon boxes of comics -- both new and rare -- will be available for purchase. The first 500 people in the doors will also receive a special, limited edition print created exclusively for the Sands Reno Comic-Con.

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