There are two pretty big cons happening this weekend: C2E2, the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo and Power-Con which has relocated to Columbus, Ohio this year. While I have frequented C2E2 many times over the years, I’ll be heading down to experience Power-Con for the first time. It was a last-minute decision to attend, but I’m going to spend eight hours in the car and a few hours at the con for what is sure to be one very full day of toys and fun. While some folks might not be eager to put themselves through that type of toy marathon, I’m confident I’ll be able to pull it off.
Over my years of navigating cons, I’ve seen just about everything. The good, the bad, the pros, the “Kaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhnnnnnnsssssss!” While I love the passion that many attendees bring to the experience, there are some things that I think we can all do without. If you want to avoid posting on the, Am I The Asshole? boards, come Monday, follow my advice.
Cosplayers! I love you! Although I do not cosplay myself, I dabble in 3D printing and all kinds of geeky DIY projects as part of the points of ARTiculation livestreams that I co-host. I appreciate the work and the effort that you put into your masterpieces. What I don’t appreciate is the way that you block the aisles of the convention with your oversized labours of love. If your costume triples your size horizontally, hold off on hitting the show floor ’till you can make a wardrobe change. If you have to have someone guide you because you can’t see, how the hell are you shopping? Let’s be clear: 95% of cosplay is perfectly fine for walking the show floor. We’re talking about the Gundams and Transformers. The Hawkmen and women with fully extended wings. The guy with those Hulk arms that are six foot long and has stopped saying “SMASH!”, in favor of “’Scuse me… Hulk, Sorry.”. Your stuff looks great and there’s a place for you at the Cons! It’s located at the end of the aisles or a competition stage. Which also happens to be the best place to ask those amazing cosplayers to pose for a picture. Please stop asking them while they’re in the middle of an aisle! It turns into a whole thing and no one wants that.
It’s not just cosplayers that need to be put on notice. I myself have a confession to make. I’m a backpack guy. I’ve taken out numerous people over the years and if I ever took you or your small child out on the show floor, I’m sorry. We can all do a better job of recognizing when we’re taking up more space than normal and being courteous to the people around us. Just because you can fit it all in your backpack, doesn’t mean you need to bring it all with you. This goes for you too, rolling suitcase and stroller wagon people. If you absolutely MUST bring those beasts with you, be mindful of others. Don’t take up more space than you need to. If you run into someone’s heels or cut someone off, apologize. Everyone’s there to have a good time. Don’t be the reason that someone doesn’t.
OK. You all knew this one was coming. If you’re going to the con for one day or the entire weekend, please do your fellow Conventioneers a solid and wash that ass. Unless there are circumstances beyond your means, there is no way you should be attending a con knowing you’ve got some mud butt going on. It’s not just the body odor either. Don’t make the mistake and try to autocorrect by drowning yourself in cologne or aftershave. People are sensitive to that stuff as well and in some cases, it can be even worse. I’m a big guy. I know when I’m getting ripe. If you’re carrying a full backpack, your back is drenched in sweat within two hours. If I’m going to be at the convention for the entire day, I’m taking a couple extra shirts. Hell, it’s a convention! Buy yourself an extra shirt if you need to. There’s no reason you need to walk around looking like you just got out of the Splash Zone at Sea World. And don’t go crop dusting the show floor with your flatulence. No one wants to smell that and there are little kids just walking through those clouds of funk getting pink eye because of it. Be better y’all.
Looking forward to meeting your favorite celebrity? They’re looking forward to collecting your money and hearing how much you love them! They’re not looking forward to hearing how much you love them. This is probably advice that goes beyond conventions for some of you, unfortunately. If you think that a meet and greet entitles you to anything more than a simple “Hello” and an opportunity for you to tell that person the impact they’ve had on your life, you’re wrong. If the person you’re meeting isn’t comfortable with handshakes, prefers to wear a mask or doesn’t share the same enthusiasm for meeting you as you have for them, don’t be a creep about it. Respect people’s personal space. “No.” Means No. Means No. Period. End of story. I’ve seen those terribly cringeworthy photos of guys taking prom pic poses with Becky Lynch and if her eyes say anything, it’s “SEND HELP”. To the best of my knowledge, no fan/celebrity relationship has ever been birthed at a con and I can assure you that you won’t be the exception to the rule. As hard up as those eighties kids might be getting, they’re not that hard up.
Last bit of advice to keep in mind: Have fun! The great thing about conventions is the fact that we’re amongst our own tribe. I can count on one hand the number of friends I have in real life that share my interests in toys and pop culture. When I get the opportunity to be with MY PEOPLE(!) I can be myself. I don’t need to explain to my wife how Wanda and Pietro were raised by a cow. You all get it! If you want to geek out with someone geek out with them! Don’t geek out at them. The people that are selling toys and books probably know just as much as you do. If it’s just a kid running the register, they probably aren’t impressed with the fact you can recite the Green Lantern oath, and really don’t need you to teach it to them. They’re just waiting for you to fork over ten bucks for that back issue you’ve been searching for the last twenty years. It might mean something to you, but you’re just another customer to them. Find the people who share your passion and go nuts! Hit the panels. Do trivia contests to prove that you’re the real Chosen One. Try to get everyone to sing the Spider-Man theme song. If someone isn’t into it – don’t force the issue. The fact most of us know what it feels like to be an outsider should be all the motivation you need to make sure that you never make others feel like one. Somewhere along the line, someone allowed you to find your way. Let others find theirs. Toxic fandom sucks. Don’t be a gate keeper. Allow people to come in when they’re ready. Art is subjective. You don’t need to like it all and neither does anyone else.
Stay safe this weekend Conventioneers! Don’t go getting monkey pox or COVID. I’ll be back soon with a show report from Power-Con!