I just got back from WonderCon in San Francisco, the week before that I was at the New York City Comic Con (NYCC).
These cons were fun and, for the most part, well run. I say for the most part because the NYCC people still have some work to do with regards to how they treat professionals and, more important, the fans. WonderCon ran smooth that’s because no one runs a convention better than Fae Desmond and the staff at Comic Con International. They treat each fan like they were the only fan there. The NYCC people have a good heart and I think any problems they had came from the staff at the Javis Center and not the convention people.
I had a good time at both but there is something missing from these cons and for my money something missing from all the really big cons. That something is intimacy. Now I can hear you asking the question: what does intimacy has to do with a comic book convention?
My answer is… everything.
Comics is an intimate medium, or it was once upon a time. Comic book fans will wait on a movie line for hours and consider it part of the experience. Comic book fans think that Star Trek marathons are cool, even if they were born decades after the show first aired. Comic book fans don’t just go to conventions seeking the issue of Spider-Man they need to complete their collection. Comic book fans go to conventions to be with like-minded people. They go there because if they want to they can dress up like a superhero and not be afraid. They can talk about a battle between the Hulk and Superman with the seriousness it deserves. Comic fans go to conventions because they are safe. Safe to be who they are, safe to say what they want.
These are important things.
Think not? Well let’s just say you are a comic book fan and you live in South Central L.A. You think you can stroll the street with your Captain Kirk outfit on without taking some flack?
You are walking down a South Central street a group of young men are walking towards you; they are members of a street gang. They approach and the leader stops and talks to you: