Saturday, August 4, 2012

Lily's First Convention: The Great Allentown Comic Con

I used to work at a comic book store and when I talk about this time, I usually describe it as "a few years ago", but it was really almost a decade and a half by now. Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore.

Despite this, I've stayed on good terms with my old boss and he mentioned on Facebook that there would be a comic book convention up in Allentown, and further, Scott Hanna would be holding a panel and then auctioning off some of his art for charity. That last part didn't surprise me. I had only met Scott a couple times, but he always impressed me as one of the most authentically nice people I've ever met.

Lily had talked about going to a comic convention, so I decided to take her up to this one. We talked about costumes and looked at the Superheroes are for girls, too!, Tumblr for inspirations, but we decided to go in normal clothes after all. I thought that her cousin might want to go too, so we grabbed him and went on up. Not a lot of people dressed up anyway, though there were a few neat ones. My favorite had to be Wolverine in his civilian clothes, which was just a guy who needed a shave in jeans and wife beater with his hair moussed up like Wolverine.

At least I think that was a costume.

Honorable mention goes to a kid who looked a little younger than Lily, in full Captain America getup. I think he was supposed to be pre-Super solider Cap.

I sometimes make it sound like I'm the father to the best-behaved child on earth, but she is not infrequently impatient and bratty. This was one of those days. We ran into a family we knew almost as soon as we entered the door, and as we were walking to area where the convention was being held (it was in a room in an indoor mall), we passed a little snack bar with an ice cream freezer right out in front.

So Lily was obsessed with ice cream. We got me a wristband and walked around the con for a few minutes, but she kept pestering me about it, so finally relented, because nobody was going to have any fun until she got it. So I bought it for her and then we returned to the con, and not five minutes later Lily was asking when she could have some bubble gum.

The last convention I had attended was I-Con about four years back. It was held on the campus of Stoney Brook University and bigger in scale and broader in scope, covering sci-fi, anime, cosplay, role-playing and pretty much any aspect of geek culture you'd care to name. This was limited to a couple rooms and almost entirely comics, except for a couple genre celebrities. The big one was Jeremy Bulloch, who had been Boba Fett in Empire and Jedi.

There were a couple comics creators promoting properties I had never heard of. It must be tough way of making a living. My wife has been making natural dyed eggs and selling them at craft shows since she was a child, and she enjoys the creative aspect of it much more than the part that actually makes her money. I suspect the same dynamic is at work here. I like writing and it's a creative outlet for me, but even if I had the talent for it, I don't think I'd want to make a career out of it, because the actual creation is such a small part of the process, and I think the hard work of sales, and the rejection would sour me on the whole thing very quickly. 

Lily bought a light switch cover from a woman who makes them. She picked out the Justice League one. Here's a link to the woman's Etsy store, because she does nice work.

We also picked up some dollar comics and a discounted Avatar trade paperback and we also saw a statue of Raven from the Teen Titans comics, and I pointed it out to Lily, who loved the character as she was depicted in the cartoon, but she said "That can't be Raven. She's not mopey enough." Heh.

We walked around for a little bit more, but Lily was getting extremely antsy and still whining about the gum, so we made an early exit. Overall, it could have turned out a bit better, but I don't regret going.On the way out, she looked at the con logo and said, "Those silhouettes look like Fred and Daphne as superheroes," you know, I can kind of see that.

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