We’ve arrived once again my friends at the joyous time of year known as San Diego Comic Con. This annual gathering of nerds, gammers, cosplayers and fans from all over the world always brings some impressive news stories and awesome events that will hopefully satiate our normally endless appetite for the rest of the year.
I have a bit of a special connection to this convention since I grew up in San Diego and was able to attend it as a kid, wandering the convention hall unsupervised for a few days of completely nerdy indulgence. It was in these first days of con going that I found my real love of all things geeky, but especially comics.
Until first venturing into SDCC I always liked comics. I think that since I was at least reading something, my parents were happy to indulge my love of the medium. I had spent hours pouring over back issues at local comic stores but it wasn’t until I set foot in the exhibition hall that I truly found out that this was a place where I found my people. The thing was, growing up, I had never really had friends that shared my love of comics. Sure I had friends who liked video games or the same movies, but nobody I knew really shared the love of comics that I had. When I would go on long rants about why Wolverine was ultimately going to be able to beat Galactus in a straight up fight, I was often met with strange looks or questions like, “What’s a Galactus?” It wasn’t until SDCC that I met people who would not only understand what I was talking about but could intelligently converse and either agree or disagree with me. I found my tribe.
Browsing through $.25 bins of comics, while surrounded by hoarded of fans who shared the same passion as me let me know that I wasn’t alone in my love and not only did I not have to hide my love for the medium, but I could openly celebrate it. I could meet the creators of the stories that I took as legend and if I was lucky some of them would draw a sketch for me if I was willing to wait in line. I talked to people who liked things other than Batman and Star Wars, and they introduced me more thoroughly to worlds I knew nothing about, like Star Trek, or board games, card games and indie comics. It was a revolutionary time for me. Following my first year, every year subsequent, had a special energy, and it was often the highlight that I was waiting for. It was my birthday, and Christmas, and New Years all rolled into one. Unfortunately, as I got older and arrived into my teenage years, I gave up my passes, and eventually my interest in the subject matter wasn’t as great as it once was. This was probably one of the bigger mistakes that I have made, and I regret that choice still.
In the years since I gave up my tickets, SDCC has transformed significantly. It went from a niche group of people to a festival of sorts that included celebrities, taste makers and media coverage that I never imagined. It truly is an all encompassing entity at this point. While I don’t personally enjoy all aspects of the con, I can certainly appreciate that the heart of the con remains the same. Groups of rabid fans getting together to celebrate something that they love. And while I love many things nerdy, I don’t know if I still would have the heart to brave these now crushing crowds to celebrate my love. I salute those who do, but for me, SDCC will always be the small boutique show that a young wide eyed kid found out there was a tribe for him, even when it might not feel like it all the time.