The royal family of Geekdom ascended into the Annapolis Comic-Con last Saturday. King was dressed as Wolverine, Prince was supposed to be Lil Wolverine but after a battle of the wills he ended up going as Business Wolverine (for those not in the know, Business Wolverine is Wolverine minus claws and with a tie. In Prince’s case a purple and black striped tie. Quite professional) and I went as surprise, surprise Twilight Sparkle.
The Con was held in a Recreational Center, which provided more than ample space for the guest creators, vendors and even a kids alley. There was also a side room set up for an Injustice video game tournament, discussion panels and the costume contest at the end of the day. The center was well air conditioned, a much appreciated improvement over the Comic-Con we had attended in October last year at the same location when we were sweating through our costumes.
In addition to all the guest creators and vendors, this Con boasted not one but 2 actors from The Walking Dead AMC show: Travis Love (aka The Bowman) and Daniel Thomas May (aka Allen), who would not only be signing autographs but also be hosting a panel discussion about, what else, the Walking Dead. While I’m not a Walking Dead fan myself, I know the show has a following and to have these gentleman at our local Comic-Con was quite a draw. There was also a Tardis Photo Booth, another crowd pleaser!
I’ll admit, I’m not a tried and true Con veteran. Including this most recent one, I’ve been to 3 Comic-Cons all on the small scale, all Maryland located but all of them fun. And yes, each Comic-Con the family attends, we attend in costume. It’s kind of the best part about going to a Comic-Con, in my honest opinion. With so many other fans in costume, it’s hard to not get that geek-pride bond feeling deep in your soul as you walk around and get stopped for photos, like we have each time we’ve gone as a family. It’s fun. It’s carefree. And I’d hope it would be a judgement-free zone as well. Sadly, in this day and age, there are no judgement free zones. Not even at a Comic-Con surrounded by other geeks.
When we’re out in almost any public setting, my focus is on Prince. He tends to get overwhelmed by crowds and unfamiliar sounds, loud noisy places especially (which any Con is going to be) and my job is to manage him hoping to avoid a full-on meltdown. Why take him, if we know he has these issues? Simple. He needs to be exposed to these types of environments and a Comic-Con offers some distractions that will interest him enough to be a good distraction whereas a local or state fair or an amusement park will just overwhelm him more with too many distractions.
My point is: I don’t tend to pay much attention to those around us because I’m cued into Prince’s needs and behaviors. King, on the other hand, has more capability to notice the crowds around us. For example, I was taking photos of Prince while we were in a quiet corner taking some time to calm him down. King was sitting with his back to the wall and scanning the rest of the room we were in. It was where the discussion panels were being held as well as the Injustice tournament. King says to me, quietly not overly annoyed just stating a fact, “Why would you come to a Comic-Con and toss around looks of disdain at all the cosplayers?” I’m taken aback by his comment, because I’m in my mom-bubble. He goes on “There’s a couple walking around an at every cosplayer they’ve seen, even us, they’ve tossed a look between themselves and rolled their eyes. Why? Why would you do that?” The only response I could come up with was “Maybe they have a stick up their asses, and they feel only children should wear costumes.” We left the area after a couple more quiet moments, but I saw the couple and they continued their “secret” looks at one another, at every cosplayer they saw.
Now look, I’m not going to say I don’t judge people. Let’s be real. Everyone judges people. However, I would never go to a Pride Rally and judge people for being proud of being gay. In my eyes, a cosplayer at a convention is showing that same pride in their geekiness/fandom. So to go there and toss dirty looks and roll your eyes and whisper to each other as a cosplayer walks by? Not cool, bro. The saddest thing is: these people were doing this with a child with them. Therefore setting the example that cosplayers are to be mocked and ridiculed for their child. Don’t like cosplayers? Think grown adults dressed in costume is absurd? Don’t go to a Comic-Con. But please, if you’re going to go be respectful. If you have comments to make, send a text to your friends or wait until you leave. I feel like I’m judged every time I leave the house. At least at a Convention I feel like I can let that part of me go and just enjoy the day. Thanks for stealing that from me.
Also, not every family or group of cosplayers costumes have to match a theme. True, it’s awesome when it does, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out like that. Last fall, we went as the Avengers: Captain America, Iron Man and Black Widow. Totally awesome group costumes! This Con, the guys were Wolverine (King wanted so badly to be Big Wolverine to Prince’s little Wolverine that he bought a costume just for this Con!) and I was Twilight Sparkle of My Little Pony. I’ve put a lot of time, some money and effort into this costume and I’m not ready to say “so long” to her yet.
Please, tell me why I had to hear this “Twilight Sparkle and Wolverine?! Yeah because THAT makes sense, right?” followed by some chuckles as we were leaving the Con. I was carrying Prince in my arms and King was walking ahead of us, just a little. It was obvious who this person was talking about and that we were a family.
Look, maybe I’m being overly sensitive about the whole thing. It’s quite possible. But really, how hard is it to go to a Comic-Con or any kind of fan-based Convention and let the fans be fans without being judged, looked down upon, or ridiculed for expressing their fandom? Some people, like myself, have enough anxiety issues they don’t need the one safe place where they felt they could be themselves, taken away by people who are just being cruel.
In the end, those 2 events, while a little disheartening, did not ruin the day for us. We enjoyed our visit to the Annapolis Comic-Con and look forward to future Cons!