I wasn’t fully prepared for it. The onslaught of color. The bright lights. The colorful crowds. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was it. So, I took one step forward, and a deep breath, and here I was, at my first con.
I don’t talk to too many people who are fans of the same stuff as I am. I don’t think I know many people who are fans of the same stuff I am. If I told you I was a Whedonite, would you know what I meant? Or a Whovian? If I called something “shiny”, would you know how to respond? I doubt most of my friends would. But that’s fine, people have different interests, it’s what makes getting to know people interesting. But it’s also always nice to meet someone who knows what you’re talking about. And cares about it as much. And more importantly, takes it as seriously as you do.
And this weekend, for me, was finally finding just that. This weekend, I attended the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2). This was only the third year it was being held, so it wasn’t nearly the size, or as chaotic, as San Diego Comic-Con (from what I can tell at least, having never been but would love to), but the fans were just as passionate, making it the perfect place for me to attend such an event for the first time. And not be entirely overwhelmed.
Stepping out onto the show floor, I couldn’t help but break out into a smile. Banners of various superheroes hung from rafters. Fans in full costume representing their favorite, or latest, character obsessions casually walked down the aisles. Everyone from the Ghostbusters to Batman to Katniss was in attendance. I stood next to the Hulk while the line-up of Mortal Kombat struck a pose. And got out of the way when Voltron almost knocked me over. I even survived an encounter with a Dalek as I passed by vendors selling everything for a superhero fan, a steampunk enthusiast or an anime devotee.
As I returned from watching my first ever Quidditch match, I headed towards the section called Artist Alley. Not too familiar with a lot of these artists and writers (admittedly, the majority of my fandom is based in TV), I decided to take a look. I soon found myself engrossed in a conversation with a NY-based Puerto Rican artist about our favorite superheroes. It wasn’t a casual conversation about superpowers or the latest movie that had just come out, but an in-depth discussion on what the characters meant to us and how they related to our own lives. It was absolutely amazing, and refreshing, to be able to have a conversation like that.
But C2E2 just didn’t give me an opportunity to meet people who loved the same things I did, but also a chance to meet people I was a fan of. I’m not sure what I incoherently rambled on about when I came face to face with Jane Espenson, writer and producer of such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (my favorite TV show of all-time), Battlestar Galactica, Gilmore Girls, Torchwood, and Once Upon a Time, to name a few. As she signed my copy of the Season 8 Buffy graphic novel she had penned, I was just taking it all in. Her work was one of the reasons I had fallen in love with this world, and here she was. Right in front of me. Luckily, this encounter did help me deal with a few nerves, as I was much more coherent when I met Buffy’s Nicholas Brendon and The Guild’s Amy Okuda. Not as nervous, but definitely as giddy. (A little more so after getting a hug from Xander…um, Nicholas.) That was the other great thing about this world, the artists (whether they be actual artists or writers or actors) acknowledge the passion that these fans feel about their work. And they show up to celebrate it with them. It’s a real and complete community.
And I had found my place in it.
Apologies for some of the shoddy photography. Did my best with my camera phone amidst all the excitement!