The setting: Phoenix Comicon 2013, Phoenix, Arizona. My now annual visit to the fusion of cosplay, comics and chaos that is Comicon was in full sway. I make every effort o insure each of the imperial prodigy (my children namely) get to visit on a "sidekick pass" every year. On a Sunday afternoon, sharing the main hall with roughly 30,000 other local Geek-culture aficionados, my daughter turned to me and says "you did this to us." I was stunned. "What do you mean sweetheart?" I ask.
"You made us like this stuff," she replied. She was being glib but still, my response was a clear, resounding "you're welcome."
Hey kid, all I did was expose you to a world where your imagination is encouraged to roam free, a forum where any story you connect with–or have in you–can be shown the love and nurturing all creative pursuits need to thrive.
Comicon is one of the truest expressions of love I have ever come across. Everyone who attends is there to have a good time, free of the ridicule that often comes from "normal people" when we are expressing love for something to we connect with or doing something we care passionately for–like ready, writing or drawing comic books, graphic novels, building replicas of fictional vessels, video games, TV shows and movies.
It's Woodstock for geeks. I have seen many of the great Cons; New York Comicon, Boston (my hometown), Phoenix, AZ Comicon (yes they're different) and of course, the coveted San Diego Comicon.
At age 45, I am a lifelong fan-boy. I will be gaming in my 70's. Writing, reading and drawing comics until my last moments. The stories, the art the wonder of watching the normal become the fantastic–it's the kind of appreciation I can only begin to describe.
My favorite scene; a newswoman from a local Phoenix TV news group was there to 'cover the freak show' (not their words but you know that's what she was thinking). This corporately professional reporter, say late 20's, was in standard professional attire; skirt, heels, blouse, modest make-up and attractive hairstyle. The person she was interviewing? A 6-foot warrior-woman, 18" blonde mowhawk with pink tips, a bustier made of faux battle armor (a 'breast-plate' if you will), a shield, arm-bands, gauges and a gold bikini bottom with a sword and gold combat boots.
The look on the newsgirl's face was priceless. Her life clearly gave her NO frame of reference for embracing or processing what this woman in front of her represented. I couldn't help but smile.
So to my daughter I say, you're welcome. I've exposed you to at least one place that is practically void of ridicule and loaded with people as passionate as your Dad–and perhaps, one day–you will be, too.
And in doing so, you will never be alone.