Costumed attendees descend on the Wyndham Garden Sterling Heights hotel to celebrate an eclectic galaxy of pop culture characters at last year’s Astronomicon.

Costumed attendees descend on the Wyndham Garden Sterling Heights hotel to celebrate an eclectic galaxy of pop culture characters at last year’s Astronomicon.

File photo by Brandy Baker


Astronomicon soars with new pop culture guests

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 31, 2020

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Paul Methric, the co-founder of the Astronomicon pop culture convention, envisions a day when his event will astronomically expand to larger venues, even Little Caesars Arena.

“By year five, without a doubt,” he said. “It could be as soon as year four.”

But for now, Astronomicon will return to Sterling Heights Feb. 7-9 at the Wyndham Garden Sterling Heights hotel. The expo will mark its third year in Sterling Heights, with top guests including wrestlers, comic book creators, cosplayers and film actors.

Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise, will attend. Alexa Bliss, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, The Boogeyman, and Amy Dumas, aka “Lita,” will represent professional wrestling.

Other guests include Jeff Anderson and Brian O’Halloran, who appeared in the movie “Clerks.” Actors Anthony Michael Hall and Robert Carradine, as well as actors from “Breaking Bad” and “Game of Thrones,” are among the many invited guests who are expected to appear.

Astronomicon was created by Methric and Jamie Spaniolo. The two are more popularly known as Monoxide and Jamie Madrox from the local rap duo, Twiztid.

Methric, 46, was born and raised on the east side of Detroit, around Seven Mile Road and Gratiot Avenue. He said he has known Spaniolo for about 40 years.

“We have been going to cons since we were 12 years old. We started with ‘Star Trek’ conventions. ... I met Stan Lee (from Marvel Comics) at a con about 35 years ago. He was just a guy up there signing autographs, and he was absolutely awesome. He knew I didn’t know who he was. What a class act, looking back.”

Over the years, Methric and Spaniolo continued going to pop culture conventions and watched them grow from being individualized events for a particular genre or franchise, like “Star Trek” or “Star Wars,” to becoming all-inclusive of genres like horror and science fiction, and media ranging from movies and television to comics and more.

So a few years ago, he and his rapping partner wanted to make their own convention — and they had something extra to bring to the table.

“Anybody can do a con,” Methric said. “Not everybody can do it right.”

Methric said Astronomicon considers and balances the needs of the audience, vendors and entertainers to make sure everyone wins.

“To us, everybody who walks through that door is treated like a king (and) feels like they are a part of that event,” he said.

Ming Chen, a podcaster who also appeared in the TV series “Comic Book Men,” said he is a Michigan native who graduated from the University of Michigan and grew up in Jackson and Ann Arbor. He said this will be the third time he has attended Astronomicon, and he is excited about this year’s event and being an invited guest.

“I always kept Michigan roots,” he said. “I became a nerd in Michigan. I read my first comic book in Michigan. It’s kind of an honor, just going from geek to invited guest. ... I would go to conventions anyway; so to get invited, that’s pretty huge for any geek out there.”

Methric said organizing Astronomicon has had a learning curve, but it has “grown leaps and bounds every year.” He described the event’s “spread of positivity” and called it an amazing experience. He has high hopes that the event will continue for many years to come.

“Our children will be doing this: Astronomicon 51,” he said. “It’ll  end up on another planet.”

Astronomicon will run Feb. 7-9 at the Wyndham Garden Sterling Heights hotel, 34911 Van Dyke Ave. in Sterling Heights. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

A weekend pass costs $65, Friday-only costs $30, Saturday-only costs $35 and Sunday-only costs $25. Kids ages 6-12 may attend for $10 per day or $15 for the weekend, and kids ages 5 and younger attend for free. Find out more information at astronomicon.com.

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