When I was a lad of say, sixteen years, science fiction conventions were these small affairs that took place in airport hotels and run down community centers. But oh my, how times have changed.
Today, I just spent the day at the Portland, Oregon Convention Center with about thirty-five to forty thousand of my fellow geeks.
No kidding, the line just to have your bag checked literally wrapped around the block–twice, and I pity anyone who didn’t pre-register. Still, I have to admit, despite the crowded hall, I had a great time.
Dressed in my very best Star Wars rebel trooper uniform, I spend a day with like-minded souls as we discussed costuming, comic books, and old science fiction TV shows. And for one who grew up in the time when geeks needed to hide their passions from an unfriendly world, a modern Comicon is truly an amazing experience.
If you’ve never been to a fan convention of any kind, I highly recommend you go. Comicons are huge affairs that are well advertised and you can easily find one in most major cities. However, for every huge event, there are dozens of smaller cons that deserve your attention too. Remember what Yoda said, “Size matters not.” Because big or small, cons are a great chance to let your hair down and be yourself among people who won’t judge you for preferring to watch Dr. Who over Monday Night Football.
By the way, dressing in costume is never a requirement at any con. If you enjoy that sort of thing (as I do), you can get as creative as you want. If, however, cosplay is not your thing, just dress in the way that makes you feel comfortable. I think you will find that your fellow conventioneers will accept you no matter your appearance, as long as you’re polite and extend that same courtesy to them.
So, to coin a spots wear slogan, just go out there and do it. Use this interweb thingy to find something in your area and simply show up. And while you’re there, attend a few panels, schmooze with fans, play a few role-playing games in the game room, or buy that specific comic book you’ve been looking for since you were twelve that some random merchant at the con just happens to have. In short, have yourself a good time.
Because let’s face it, we all need a chance to blow off steam and have some fun before we die, right?
By Clayton J. Callahan