Guest post: David Brothers on why conventions are fun
Editor’s note: I roomed with David Brothers at the San Diego Comic-Con this year, and not only did he not snore, but he also agreed to write something up for Robot 6 about the con. Now that’s a good roommate. To see more from David, check out his regular posts over at 4thletter!
by David Brothers
San Diego Comic-Con 2009 has been over for just about a week now, and I feel like I’m finally shaking that hazy feeling a lot of con-goers experience post-con. It’s kind of like being cast out of Never Never Land and forced to become an adult again. No more late nights partying, talking about comics, and constant sensory overload.
I always forget that the sensory overload isn’t the most fun part of the con. Walking the show floor is like having several thousand people shouting in your ear to buy this, check this out, look at this, don’t you want this, c’mon buy this! all at the same time. It’s always very interesting, and there are some great things to be seen on the floor, but really, it’s all just a big ad, right?
The panels aren’t the most fun part, either. They tend to be more interesting, and less sell-tastic than the floor, to be sure. It gives creators a chance to explain some of their motivations behind their work, fans a chance to ask about things they always wanted to know, and companies get a few moments to explain what they’ve got planned for the next six to 12 months.
No, the best part, by far, are the people. It’s be the little kid dressed as The Flash who was running around on Saturday or the guy nonchalantly cosplaying Luke Cage. It’s creators like Adam Warren or Darwyn Cooke who were quick with a smile and a kind word. It’s catching someone who is usually selling something at a down moment and having an honest conversation.
Most of all, though, San Diego Comic-Con is about good times with good friends. I had the distinct pleasure of catching up with people I see only at conventions, or just rarely in general. Sometimes, this was as brief as a “Hey!” in the hallway as we passed each other on the way to panels on the opposite side of the con. Sometimes, it was a quick two-minute catchup, like when I found Laura Hudson of AOL’s Comics Alliance in the front lobby while she was hurriedly filing stories, cementing her status as the busiest woman in comics. And other times, it was spending over an hour talking with Robot6’s own JK Parkin about the various highs and lows of Marvel Comics Presents from back in the day.
I was talking to Jason McNamara on Friday and he summed it up as well as I’ve ever heard. He said that he comes to cons to remember why he likes comics. It’s a chance to interact with like-minded fans and have a bit of fun at the same time. Reading, or creating, comics can be a pretty solitary experience, and comic conventions, particularly San Diego, can function as a great reminder of what makes comics fun.
If you’ve never been to a convention, go to one and see for yourself. If you go to conventions to work, try to take a day to just wander around with a couple friends and see the sights. Spend an hour talking about bad comics that you inexplicably love. Check out a panel that isn’t geared toward selling you the latest and greatest story arc in whichever universe.
Comics are fun. Sometimes you just need a reminder.