ADVENTURE: Comic Con
I don’t need to explain to you, my avid readers and fans that I am a huge nerd. Within the last few months, I have posted two blogs which reveal this, one about Harry Potter, and the other about Star Wars. My two biggest fandoms, in that order. This week I lived out my nerddom at the Portland Comic Con: Wizard Con.
I had heard about the con long ago but since decided that altogether the trip would cost too much, and I was better off staying home and using my money towards something practical, like new front tires for Lucille. Now don’t worry, Lucille will still get her tires, but luckily my niece cut a deal with her mom which benefitted everyone. My sister agreed that if my niece got her grades up, she could go to Comic Con, and good news for me, my sister was not interested in going herself. With a little money and a little planning, my niece and I set off for Portland on a stormy Friday night to a hotel in Salem.
Having lived in Salem for my entire college career, I knew the area well, and it was convenient and fiscally savvy to stay just off of the Freeway only forty-five minutes from the Oregon Convention Center. However, our Comic-Con experience began across Burnside Bridge at a little bookstore called “Powell’s.” Powell’s City of Books is of course not small at all. It is a three story bookstore, to which you may grab a map at the entrance to navigate between each genre, and room, as organized by color. Lauren has never been to Powell’s, and I was beyond excited to share this bit of Portland with her, before what would later be deemed, “the best day of her life”.
So we started off the trip searching for some of our favorite “Young Adult” series including her favorite Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the series I’m currently reading and recommend to any young, middle level readers, The Seventh Tower. Then after bagels, coffee, and the purchase of a few books, we set off for the Convention Center.
Lauren’s excitement bubbled over when we reached the center. I was focused on trying to find parking, stressed over the one-way streets and the full parking centers while she was giggling and pointing out each character as they walked towards the event. As I aforementioned this was “the best day of her life”, and the reasoning was confusing and disheartening. She tried to get me on board, “Are you excited? You’re going to meet a bunch of people just as nerdy as you!”. Of course, I was excited, yes very excited, but not in the same way and certainly not for the same reasons. I didn’t feel separated from my peers in the same respect that my niece did. I rarely felt alone in my nerdiness. Maybe everyone wasn’t to my level, but they, at least, found it endearing and in college, I was far from the nerdiest nerd. Throughout my life, I didn’t experience the same shame and isolation for being a nerd that my niece does at her public school. While it was exciting to be able to give her this feeling of belonging, it also was also discouraging that she needed this event to feel that.
I was worried that we would look out of place with full “cosplay” or costume, but we didn’t. While I envied the dedication of those, who dressed up and I imagined the fun I could have had, my Star Wars T-Shirt and tennis shoes for a long day of walking served me just fine. Lauren and I were with the majority of people who kept it low key, but we have vowed to go all out in the future. Comic-Con is like Halloween but in a place where you don’t need to explain what you are and if you do a good enough job, someone might ask for your picture. For the day, you are who you dress as, just like the characters at Disneyland. Lauren took several pictures of character’s from her favorite fandom, “Homestuck”, a web comic that can be found on YouTube and at one point, found a corner where they all convened. She quickly met a few friends and played a game of Spin the Faygo, which is spin the bottle for Homestuck cosplayers. Except since they were mostly among strangers. they decided to play with hugs instead of kisses.
I was at Comic Con for the guests. As a Whovian, I was particularly excited for the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, and his companions Arthur Darvill who plays the beloved Rory, love interest and admirer of companion Amy Pond, and Alex Kingston, who stars as the vivacious River Song from the BBC series Doctor Who. I was ecstatic to see so many stars from a series I had started only months before. Plus there was the appearance of cultural icon William Shatner, our unforgettable Captain Kirk, and Kristen Ritter from the new Netflix hit series, Jessica Jones. As I noted when I saw Ms. Ritter at the con, “she is just as beautiful in real life.” And Matt Smith exceeded my expectations by not only being charming but just flat out hilarious, dancing and singing the theme song on stage then handing off his signed cup to a fan. For an event that I nearly didn’t attend, I would’ve had no idea how much I was missing out on, but I am so grateful to have gone.
If not only for the awesome merchandise we came home with and the fantastic characters we saw, just being in a place of equally ecstatic fans drives us back wanting more. Comic Con exceeded my expectations. The concept seems so simple and yet turns out to be a delightful roller coaster even better than I could have imagined. The best part is that you don’t have to be the most knowledgeable person there. You don’t have to be the biggest nerd to find your place. Whatever your fandom, whatever your interests, you are among friends at Comic Con.