Nittany Con will be held in State College on Saturday and Sunday. Abby Drey Centre Daily Times, file
Nittany Con will be held in State College on Saturday and Sunday. Abby Drey Centre Daily Times, file

Weekender

‘Transformers’ artist returns home for Nittany Con

By Frank Ready

fready@centredaily.com

September 21, 2017 11:00 AM

If you’re a longtime reader of the Centre Daily Times — thanks, by the way — chances are that the name Livio Ramondelli might mean something to you.

Ramondelli cut his teeth drawing the paper’s political cartoons while he was still a student at State College Area High School.

“I was always the one who was drawing indoors when my parents wanted me to go outside,” Ramondelli said.

A taste for fresh air does not an invitation to Nittany Con make, though.

I was always the one who was drawing indoors when my parents wanted me to go outside.

Livio Ramondelli

When Ramondelli appears at State College’s annual comic book convention on Saturday, he’ll be returning to Happy Valley as a successful comic book illustrator who has taken his pencils to hot properties like the “Transformers” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

“Livio Ramondelli brings a great local personal story to Nittany Con. Livio went from being a local person that went from State College Area School District and Penn State who excelled with his artwork to become one of the internationally known people that works on ‘Transformers,’ ” Jason Lenox, one of Nittany Con’s organizers, said.

And it all happened from the climate-controlled comfort of the great indoors.

Having long since realized that childhood heroes like Optimus Prime, the X-Men and Spider-Man were conspicuously absent from the Centre County news scape, after college Ramondelli headed west to Los Angeles looking for a career in comic books.

Comics are cool because for one, you kind of have an unlimited budget.

Livio Ramondelli

What he found was concept design work for a video game called DC Universe Online. Ramondelli helped sketch in all of the nooks and crannies of the virtual environment that would play backdrop to the antics of Superman and the rest of the Justice League.

“You have to design everything from the Daily Planet to trashcans,” Ramondelli said.

The artist has since gone from designing trashcans to drawing the people that use them. He hasn’t gotten his hands on Spider-Man or the X-Men yet, but Optimus Prime, Megatron and a long list of other Transformers have all been checked-off his bucket list.

Ramondelli enjoys the sheer volume of worlds that he has an all-access pass to courtesy of his pencil.

“Comics are cool because for one, you kind of have an unlimited budget,” Ramondelli said.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

IF YOU GO

  • What: Comic convention featuring appearances and lectures by artists like Chris Claremont and Livio Ramondelli
  • When: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Ramada State College Hotel and Conference Center, 1450 S. Atherton St., State College
  • Info: www.nittanycon.com

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