I admit it: in my younger, sillier days, I thought dismissively of comic cons. “Those are for nerds,” I’d say to myself.
But let’s face it: I am, and always shall be, a nerd.
It just took a few years of professional librarianship for me to go from “ehhh, hide the nerdiness!” to “HELLO PEOPLE. I AM NERDY AND I LOVE STAR WARS AND COMIC BOOKS.” Plus, it really helps you connect to the teens in your area who are super into fandoms (see Alice’s post here!). Trust me: they’re there.
This was my third year attending C2E2, and if you’re a librarian, you can get an awesome discount on a 3-day pro pass. You have to fill out a short application to qualify, but it’s completely worth it. These usually go live on the site in January.
So what’s it like actually going? It’s basically a massive party of fans who love talking about their favorite inkers for Batman or the coolest incarnation of the Enterprise or all of the My Little Pony characters and everything in between. Plus, a lot of people cosplay, or come in costume as a character, and a lot of these are just amazing. Take Groot here:
Isn’t that amazing?
Where else, besides at a con, can you walk up to a Rebel Commander and ask, “Is that your Wampa?”
Or have Ted Naifeh sign single issues of Princess Ugg (note: I need to do a writeup of Princess Ugg, because it is amazing!)?
I honestly get tons of inspiration for my teen programs at C2E2. A few years ago, I noticed that a lot of booths were selling perler (fusion) bead art for a pretty hefty price. I said, “Hey, my teens could do that!” and now it’s a staple at my Fandom Frenzy program. We also recently discovered a button maker lurking in the depths of the supply closet (our supply closet is like a TARDIS), so I am definitely going to have them make fandom buttons.
Looking around at the cosplays and booths can also give a great indication of what’s trending. Last year, it was all about the Who. Doctor Who, that is. I can’t tell you how many fezzes, wild scarves, and Weeping Angels I saw. This year? Not so much. A few fezzes, a few Tenth Doctors, and one Weeping Angel. This year it was all about Marvel and ladies of DC. It was like a Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers takeover. Obviously, the movies have a huge influence, but also the popularity of some of the newer runs like Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye (another one you must read! It’s hilarious!).
So, if you decide to attend a con in your area (or not in your area!), here’s some tips:
BYOB (of H2O, of course!) and refill it at water fountains at the facility. Ditto for snackage. Food prices are seriously inflated at cons. Although, at C2E2, a local brewery always does a new brew for each year, so it might be worth it if you like craft beer.
Wear comfy shoes! Unless you are cosplaying, this is not the time to bust out the heels or break in those cute new flats. I wear my Chucks, but any comfy shoe will do.
Bring Advil/Tylenol/the pain reliever of your choice. You will be walking a LOT. You WILL be sore.
Bring cash. The majority of artists, talent, and artisans don’t accept credit cards, although Squares are becoming more common.
Tell artists and writers that you are a librarian! I’ve found that this gets you a little extra swag, plus it’s a sincere compliment if you tell them that you purchase their books for the library and recommend them.
TSU Agent Pamela Penza is a Librarian with New Hanover County. All views expressed here are her own and not that of her employers. Pam loves Star Wars, cooking, finding new ways to look awkward at the gym, and reading YA fiction. You can find her on Twitter @Pamelibrariland or on her blog at http://pamelibrarian.blogspot.com.