Comic book conventions, or Comic-Cons, are, without a doubt, a haven for geeks, nerds and super-fans, regardless of what it is that they love.
The honest truth about Comic-Cons, whether it be the largest or the smallest, is that those who attend throw themselves into what they love with what seems like reckless abandon. It would be strange to see a Klingon walking down Summit Street, but at Comic-Cons, it happens.
People of all varieties dress as their favorite characters. Costumes, makeup, facial appliances and even colored contact lenses are used to transform them into these characters. This form of entertainment is known as “cosplay,” short for costume play.
Perhaps the most impressive element of these conventions is the widespread acceptance one sees.
One of my friends is a huge fan of the “Back to the Future” franchise, so he dressed as Doc Brown at the last convention we attended together.
That particular franchise, surprisingly, is not seen often at conventions. It is far more likely that the cosplay seen will be based on “Star Trek,” “Star Wars” or the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the occasional DC Comics or “Doctor Who” character thrown in for good measure.
However, at this particular Comic-Con, my friend ran into another individual dressed as Marty McFly. The pair didn’t know each other prior to that even, but after they met in the last aisle, they became instant friends through their shared love of the 1980s movie trilogy.
Not only were they able to bond, but others who saw them together were able to interact with them in a positive way. Some even took pictures.
Perhaps the best part about Comic-Cons is that you can be literally anything you want to be.
Steampunk Iron Man? A Dalek in the form of a ballroom gown? A family of Supers?
All of these options not only are acceptable, but also are actual costumes I have seen at various Comic-Cons in the Midwest.
Whether they were professional looking or not didn’t really matter — only the enthusiasm of the wearer.
And there isn’t anything wrong with coming in plain clothes, either.
As an individual who struggled with body image issues and embracing the love I had for geek culture, seeing others who are as passionate about the things they love was eye-opening.
While it might seem on the outside that these conventions could be a mecca for fanboys who spend time arguing about whether “Star Trek” or “Star Wars” is better, they also serve as safe havens for those who love all things sci-fi and comic books.
There is no way to adequately explain how accepting people at Comic-Cons are of each other and other franchises that are not their favorite.
It just has to be seen to be believed.