Attending Comic Con has the feeling like you have really accomplished something – especially given how time consuming it was to try and get tickets. I truly felt like one of the lucky ones that got a 1-day ticket. My wife Jan got one too (it was her first time). As in years past, it was extremely crowded and again, as in years past, I was struck by the friendliness of people, despite the crowds. Time and again I am also amazed at people’s creativity, their sense of play and how family-friendly it is. Jan and I stayed away from the big panels (with movie or television guests) because we didn’t want to stand in one line all day to take the chance on getting into the room and also, there were far more other interesting panels and speakers than those only in the big rooms.
The first panel we heard was titled Progressive Politics in Comics and I was struck by the fact that the majority of the panel was made up of young adult women (as writers, editors and artists of comics). What surprised me was the attendance in the room – barely half full.
One of the best panels we heard discussed the genre of Dystopia literature. Granted, not in comics but in novels and yet the room was packed as the panel, with three women and three men discussed the meaning and importance of this work. They pointed out that this genre and young adult literature in general (which is beginning to blur the age categories anyway and isn’t that exciting!) celebrates a well-told story with quality writing and thought. And more than one panelist emphasized the need for the literature to remain hopeful at the end of the story. I got to thinking about the recent hit movie The Hunger Games and our need to acknowledge how our society is not working for so many and how we long to feel empowered and think that we can make a difference. Hence, the popularity of the genre and the panel.
The last panel was titled “The Most Dangerous Women at Comic-Con” and it was a huge panel filled with thoughtful, articulate women who had a lot to say about women’s role in comics, at the convention and as artists perfecting their craft. And again, the room was packed! One of the questions they responded to asked something like ‘why do you attend comic-con?’ Beyond the “normal” responses (i.e., I have to, it’s in my contract), answers included “I come for the sense of belonging with people who share a similar passion.’ Immediately I thought of our community and how this basic human need is so powerful that people are willing to put up hours of trying to buy tickets, the unbelievably long lines and massive crowds – all to feel for a few days like they belong to something larger than themselves…and I felt in that moment especially blessed to be in our community – because that sense of belonging is fulfilled every Sunday, no waiting.
We hope to go back again next year – for the thrill of the crowds, for the eye candy of people’s creative costumes and for the chance to see this planet we share from a different point of view.
Editor's note: the comments below were carried over from our previous website and were submitted between 7/23/12 and 7/25/12.
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