I’m not sure if I’m a geek or a pseudo-geek. I’ve gone to the last two Salt Lake ComicCons in costume and had the best time ever. That seems to lean toward being a geek. While there I find that I have to keep asking members of the group I am with (college age kids) who various cosplayers are representing. Although I recognize many, there are so many more that I do not recognize. This leans me toward pseudo-geek. In the end, geek or pseudo-geek, I am sitting here awash in good feelings from the most recent experience.
I went to all three days of Salt Lake ComicCon 2015. For the duration I felt a level of happiness that isn’t often reached during the rest of the year. I don’t want to overthink it, but I am curious as to why SL ComicCon makes me feel so good. I can think of a few possible reasons:
- Creative Passion—I am an artist of the writer variety. Passion drives me to write creatively every day in spite of the fact that I have to work two different jobs in order to feed and shelter my family. At SL ComicCon I am temporarily surrounded by 80,000 people, most of whom are there driven by passion. You need to understand that I have not dressed up for Halloween since I was a child. I mean to dress up every year, but every year Halloween comes around and I haven’t been able to make the leap from dream to action. At SL ComicCon I am surrounded by people who have the creative energy to make that leap, and so many of them make the leap in a huge way. Just check out the pictures. The creative energy flows in waves through the building and gives me a high.
- Happy People—Happy people tend to make me happy and at SL ComicCon I am surrounded by them. All those people who had a vision of what they wanted to play at the convention and then put the sometimes hundreds of hours into making their costume now have a chance to share it. Crowds gather around the more complex costumes to take photos. This brings artistic gratification to the creators and delight to the viewers.
- See and Be Seen–Just as delightful are the simpler costumes base on movies, animes, and video games that you have experienced personally. To spot Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service, Hellboy from Hellboy, or one of the creepy metal-headed enemies from the supernatural game “Silent Hill” gives me a thrill. One girl was “just a magical faun” as she put it, but she was lovely and glowed with pleasure as I took her photo. An older man consigned to a wheelchair was Radigast the Brown in his hare-powered sled from The Hobbit. He looked like he was having the time of his life as people called him out for photos. One of my favorites was a young girl being a character from one episode of Dr. Who—the Last Human from Earth. When I tapped her shoulder and asked if I had it right she gave me the biggest smile and gladly posed for me. The happiness of seeing and being seen is palpable at the event.
- Connection—If the convention were just a city of 80,000 people I’m sure I would have spent the day interacting very little others except for the small group I was with. As it were, I spent the day approaching total strangers to take pictures and talk with them about their costumes. The fact that we were all living our imaginations connected us and made us feel like family.
My group went out for Sushi at the end of the final day. After dinner we started the five blocks back to our vehicle. Traffic was heavy and a car honked. A girl’s voice rose above the din saying, “I love you Quail Man.” That was directed at my son who wore briefs on the outside of his shorts, a Q on his shirt, a red cape, and a belt on his head in quail feather mode. As we walked other cosplayers came our way. Our eyes met. No words were exchanged, but the connection was still there. I’m looking forward to next year.