Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Perfect Storm, The Con Is On.

     I recently attended the Rose City Comic Con in Portland Oregon. This was my first comic con that I had ever gone to by myself.  My wife usually accompanies me, and she, not being the fan of comics I am, has been a grounding rod for my unbridled nerdcitement at these events. That being said, I had a great time at  this particular con.  No terrible social catastrophes happened that I was aware of. Still, after this time in particular, I have been thinking about the Comic Con and the strange social phenomena it has become.

     My biggest fear at a con is meeting a creator I admire and having it be a bad experience. Nothing would be worse for me, than to have a bad encounter with a creator and having their work forever tarnished for me. So far I haven't had anything but good or neutral encounters with creators. I try to keep my wits about me, act like a human, and have done my homework when meeting these people. And that's the key, people. They are people just like their fans.  With lives and stress and ups and downs. I try to keep that in mind at the con, but at the same time, they make my most cherished form of entertainment and I fear that bad meeting so much. Have you had great experiences with meeting creators? What about bad? How did it affect your enjoyment of their work?

     That brings me to another etiquette question of the con: should you always buy something from anyone you want signatures or quick sketches from? Ill admit it, I'm shy. and the comic con is a group of socially awkward people meeting other socially awkward people. That being the case, asking someone to do something for free for me, like make a quick sketch in my sketch book because I'm a fan, terrifies me. I know you aren't obligated to buy anything from anyone at a con, and how can anyone afford to buy something from everyone, right? But I still feel that need to get something, to buy a print, a comic or something if I'm going to ask for signatures or a quick sketch. Full disclosure actually, Ive never been able to bring myself to ask for a quick sketch.  My sad little sketch book is blank. How do you do this?

     Finally one of the strangest phenomenons of the comic con are the cos players. Don't get me wrong, I love me a fat Spiderman or a sexy Hulk as much as the next guy. At the same time I have seen an increasing number of fair weather cute girls who have probably read a handful of comics going to cons to get attention rather than immerse themselves in the con itself. Its not a big complaint, but more of an observation that has been getting more and more apparent each year. What are your feelings on the cos players at cons?

     At this point the Comic Con is a strange, wonderful experience that both terrifies and thrills me. I have met great people, discovered awesome work I didn't know about before, and had great personal and family experiences at. I take the Con to be a challenge to my social phobia's and to ground me in my comics reading experiences. What are your feelings about the comic con? I look forward to hearing about your experiences.


  1. First off. I love Cons and have gone to the craziest one in San Diego two years in a row for four days of madness. Love them. Absolutely love them.

    Second, don't be so.quick to judge the cute fair weather cosplayers. I recall recently, I was waiting in line by myself for a Writing For Comics panel at SDCC by editor Andy Schmidt that also featured Josh Fialkov and Peter David. It was a late afternoon panel without any bells and whistles of blockbuster movie or TV series, but in front of me in line were 3 stunning female cosplayers dressed as Enchantress, Domino, and Black Widow. The critical geek in me immediately questioned their integrity and I dismissed them as the growing number of video game/movie/TV fans and not as a true comic fan.

    To my surprise they erupted into a heavily debate to convince Enchantress not to wait in line because of some of the merits of Fialkov and Schmidt (not David of course). Needless to say I was overwhelmed and impressed by their knowledge of the creators and their more obscure work that no fair weather fan could truly appreciate and know. They left the line and I was 3 steps closer to making the panel.

    Point: Don't underestimate or overestimate the nerds at cons. They truly come in all shapes and sizes and kinds and should all be appreciated for their nerd love. :)

    1. Fair point, it probably shows how im becoming more and more of a "pureist" nerd judging people how I hate to be judged. Thanks for the reality check, and really I dont have much of a problem with cos players, it makes things fun, its just kinda a strange phenomena that I never really understood for a comic con setting.

    2. Purist eh? Sounds like the workings of a historical German fascist I know of... :)

    3. Awww conversation over, Godwin's law in effect.