Every year, I attend the New York ComiCon, one of the biggest gatherings of comic book fans and industry professionals in the country. Comic books have always been popular, but only in recent years have they gained such wide mainstream appeal, helped in no small portion by the stunning success of multiple movies and TV series, which have introduced long-time comic characters to new generations of fans. As such, the New York ComiCon has grown into a mammoth pop culture event. This year, for the first time, I brought my family along with two other friends, and made it a group outing.
At this event, I spend, what is for me, a lot of money on geek stuff. I buy prints and special editions from artists, I pick up tchotchkes, I commission sketches…the works. This year, however, I took what I normally would spend and divided it between my kids and gave it to them. Normally, I would require my kids to save their allowance and earn money working chores for something like this. But I knew that neither of them really understood what ComiCon was like, and how expensive it could be, so I made sure they had enough to score some sweet loot for themselves. I would just have to live vicariously through them this time.
On a similar note, our six-person group spent a lot of energy just trying to navigate ComiCon without getting separated. We went on Thursday, the first, and least populated day of the convention, and there still had to be 10,000 people there, easily. Until one attends ComiCon, one does not understand the crushing mass of humanity that is ComiCon. When I am on my own, I can move swiftly through the crowds and cover a lot ground. This year, not so much. We got to see only the smallest portion of what ComiCon had to offer, and after a few hours of this, and of me not picking up the various collectibles I pick up, I started to get pretty cranky about it all.
I had to remind myself that this year wasn’t about me. It was about the family. I was sharing something with them that meant a lot to me, and in so doing, hopefully, it would mean a lot to them, too. When we got home and I tucked my kids in, they both said they had a wonderful time and couldn’t wait to go next year. My geekdom was now their geekdom. It is something that brings them happiness, and it is something that will bring us all closer together. Mission accomplished.