Yes, geeks not Greeks. While I'm sure the Greeks do have their own magic, today I am here talking about geeks.
I have just survived another Comic Con. Not sure, but I think this is number 16 or 17 (that I’ve been to- they all blur after a while). I’m in recovery today, reconnecting with the aspects of my life that got shoved into a dark corner during the week of con madness.
For folks who are unfamiliar with this tiny, intimate event- let me provide a brief explanation.
Comic Con International San Diego is one of the biggest popular culture events in the world. 125,000 geeks gather from across the globe to mix and mingle with other fans of comics, novels, tv shows, movies and art. It is a four day bit of glorious madness that is dear to my heart even as it has me often ripping out my hair.
People can see a number such as 125,000, but often not really process just what it is like. It’s A LOT. Even someone like myself can get thrown off (see above for how many of these things I’ve lived through). For instance preview night (once upon a time preview night was for pros and a select few to make deals and see the floor- now it is just insanity in a three hour window). I knew to expect madness, but the crowds just had me running for the door after an hour (but not before I’d bought my pass for next year ;)).
To see any of the “big” panels (aka those hit tv shows and upcoming movies) you really need to be in line by about 6 or 7 am…even if the one you want to see isn’t until much later in the day. And the stars have just gotten bigger each year. This year I saw panels for the movie Megamind (Will Ferrel and Tina Fey in attendance), the upcoming Tron movie (the whole flipping cast); Salt (Angelina and Leiv- nuff said), and Battle Los Angeles. Plus the casts for Chuck, Castle, Futurama, Family Guy and many more. And I missed FAR more than I saw. You learn to function on little sleep, pack lots of food and water, and hunker down for the duration. These big rooms hold between 4,600 and 6,500 folks- so the lines are massive.
Massive lines, insane hours, pressing crowds…and yet I am depressed now that it’s over.
Aside from the coolness of seeing some favorite actors, writers, and artists, and getting to be around my "own people" en masse comic con is an amazing example of the power of creative energy. Even as it is sucking the energy out of you- it is also feeding your creative spirit.
The sheer mass of creative folks there is simply awe inspiring. There are so many folks from so many creative industries that you can’t help but get a little psychic charge. A bit of “wow, that would make a great character in a book!”, or new ideas for a WIP, or weird terrifying thoughts like “yeah, becoming a cartoon voice actor would be great!” (it’s important to watch what panels you go to- ya never know WHAT will seem like a good idea!)
In short Comic Con is a well-spring of “what if’s” and folks who are following those what if’s, living the dream of all creative people everywhere. They are a reminder that wherever we are in our career- we too can make it.
I know a lot of writer’s limit their convention exposure to events that only handle writing, and often only their genre. I say that if you can, find other types of creative conventions. Comic Con isn’t for everyone, nor can everyone come out to San Diego. But chances are there are some sort of smaller creative cons near you- check one out. The buzz you get may motivate your work in new directions.