Ed Catto: Family Reunion – Geek Culture Style

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Reunions remind me that I am definitely in the “Lucky Guy” category. Celebrating recent wins and remembering the good times invigorate me – and I’ve done both at my recent reunions. I may need my time alone to recharge – it drives my creative process and keeps me sane – but deep down, I’m truly a social creature blessed with an abundance of family and friends.

SDCC-LogoBut I’m not the only one who’s been focused on reunions this summer. Choice Hotels’ recent advertising campaign targets all those folks who are undecided about attending an upcoming reunion. The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go? reinforces our natural indecision as a wide variety of people anxiously prepare for their reunions. “It won’t be the same without you, bro”, taunts one bearded man who undoubtedly represents a friend we all have. Take a look here if you haven’t seen it yet.

I’ve always enjoyed my college reunions. I haven’t missed many. I love being on campus without those ‘pesky’ students running off to interesting classes I’d like to follow them to or flaunting their seemingly endless time to relax in the Quad. Reunion is like a private party at Disneyworld without the other customers. Or the Bottled City of Kandor without the Kryptonians.

Reunion Comic-con 1And my family reunion was a fantastic time to reconnect with 25 family members, get some family business done (we’re struggling with the inevitable elder-care issues) and have fun together. It was another opportunity to hand-deliver Archie, Boom! and IDW comics to the upcoming Catto generation. I also played with my young nephew, explaining the story of Thor (via a Captain Action toy) and blaming the thunderstorm later that night on his mighty hammer. Fans of Greg Rucka’s Lazarus comic will understand when I say that my internal mantra for the weekend was “Family First,” a phrase I borrowed from that outstanding Image series.

Reuinon Comic-Con 2I believe that “Comic-Con International,” the event that the rest of the world calls San Diego Comic-Con or #SDCC, is an event with the same kind of reunion magic – generating energy and creativity, support and hope.

I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with Geek Culture for some time now. Business acquaintances have become friends. Favorite artists, writers and publishers, at the core of Pop Culture, have likewise evolved into business acquaintances and friends.

Oh sure, for me SDCC is a time filled with business meetings, panels and interviews. It’s also an opportunity to discover new ideas, new creations and new ways of doing business. But so many of us connect with old and new friends, celebrate shared passions and just hang out.

When I was a Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Reed Elsevier’s Exhibition division, I traveled to conventions across the US and around the world. In most cases, these tradeshows share a congenial element of friends gathering together. Some conventions are more business-like than others. But I don’t think any other industry’s trade show has the unique vibe of Comic-Con. Those other conventions simply don’t have that overwhelming passion baked into the DNA of the exhibitors and attendees at Comic-Con and the connections that come from that passion.

For so many of us, last week’s San Diego Comic-Con was a place to spend time with people that feel like family. Over 130,000 of them. And it was a time to learn news about shared interests and then share it – both within the tribe and beyond to the world at large. But like the mystical cities of Brigadoon or K’un Lun, this magical reunion in San Diego appeared all-too-briefly and then shimmered away. It was a the ideal spot to gather together and I never thought, “Should I stay or should I go?”