Let me start saying this: I am pretty much a newbie to the world of conventions.
As far as pop culture goes I have always been more of a generalist than a specialist. I love comic books, but I rarely read superhero titles. I love costumes and great cosplays, but I am mostly thumbs when I try to make anything. I really like to play video games, or should I say video game, because I really only ever play one. That sort of thing. And I’ve never really been to a cool, enormous, crowded convention hall filled with similar minded people having so much fun.
But I recently had the chance to attend the 2014 Denver Comic Con, and although I went ostensibly as media, and not in costume, I tried to approach the entire event as though I was just another attendee. I don’t have the journalistic chops to merit any great face time with the guests, and my skills as a photographer are limited, so I decided I would try to simply soak in the feel of the convention. The fly on the wall reports from wonderland, you know, that sorta thing.
Yes, there were some big names there: Levar Burton, William Shatner, Julie Newmar, Adam West, the rest of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Max Brooks (author of World War Z), Bruce Campbell, and this is not to mention the dozens, maybe hundreds, of authors and artists that are the backbone of the comics industry, but, those people will surely get plenty of press from some of the other larger media outlets.
What really impressed me about the convention was not the VIP guests or the awesome booths, or the Batmobiles (two of them!), or the vast array of merchandise as cool as all of these things were. It was the attendees.
Because what I couldn’t help noticing during my time at the DCC was that I was smiling. I just couldn’t stop smiling.
Everywhere I looked there was something that made me happy. People having a genuinely good time, comparing notes on their cosplays, posing for pictures. People excitedly showing their friends the print they just got autographed, or that one issue they finally tracked down to complete the set. People lining up to meet with icons of pop culture, sharing jokes, shaking hands. People who put in hours and hours of work on their costumes creating Hollywood worthy outfits just so they can make little kids smile. (Yes I am jealous of these peoples’ skills). People volunteering their time to help keep the whole giant machine running, purely because they love having a great comic con in our city, and they’ll do what it takes to keep it here.
So yeah, I admit it, I am a newbie to the convention culture. And sadly no, I probably won’t have a contest winning cosplay next year when I go down to the Denver Comic Con, but I’ll definitely be going. What can I say? I like smiling.