There are different types of large events that easily draw crowds of thousands of people in a single place. Sports events are one example; concerts are another. In recent years, another type of event has proven to be so popular among young and old alike, from all walks of life, that so many versions have sprung up worldwide. You can bet that there’s one happening weekly, perhaps somewhere close to you!
It’s an event called a comic convention (often called a comic con) – a celebration of different aspects of geek culture that takes place over several days at a time.
Initially, these conventions were created as a space for buying and selling comic books and for fans to gather and talk about them. Eventually, these events expanded to include other types of media such as TV, films, fiction and art inspired by comic books and vice versa. Today, comic conventions bring together comic book creators, artists, actors, their fans, collectors, enthusiasts and many others to geek out for the love of the medium collectively.
That being said, this description of the event doesn’t even come remotely close to preparing you for all the spectacular things you’ll behold when you finally arrive at a comic con, especially those held in major locations like San Diego, California, New York, London, or the Middle East.
To give you a clearer picture, here’s a list of the top 5 things you can expect to see at a comic convention.
Immediately, the first thing you’ll see on your way to the comic con venue is groups of people flocking to the place dressed in costumes. People dress up as popular superheroes, horror movie villains, creatures from science fiction, characters from comic books, video games, manga and anime, and so much more.
It’s not a requirement to wear a costume to attend comic cons, but most attendees do in celebration of the mediums and characters they love. This practice of dressing up is called cosplay, and some cosplayers put lots of effort and creativity into making costumes that are as close to the original designs as possible.
It’s always exciting to see groups of cosplayers dressed up as entire casts of characters from a comic book, video game or film. Often, they’ll be happy to have their photos taken with fellow attendees. They’ll even often act out some of their favorite scenes.
2. Comic Con Panels
One of the more exciting parts of comic conventions is attending a panel. This is a stage show where interviews are often held and attendees can sit and watch. A presenter introduces a panel to the audience and asks them questions.
Typically, the panel consists of celebrities promoting an upcoming film or the latest season of their TV series. There are also panels for video game creators giving exclusive sneak peeks into their forthcoming releases. Panels of cosplayers may give costume advice, or gamers may hold tournaments with prizes.
3. The Artist Alley
The artist alley is a beloved fixture in comic conventions. Here, you’ll find famous and independent artists and creators from various genres selling all kinds of items – art prints, paintings, posters, comics, toys, pins, patches, figures, stickers, books, clothes, and so much more. These goods referencing popular franchises are a big hit among comic con attendees seeking to take home some awesome loot.
A common activity among comic con visitors is to proudly show off their haul on social media after they spent the day (or days) scouring the artists’ tables and stalls for items made for their specific fandoms.
4. Merch Stands
Aside from the artist alley, comic conventions will always have spaces and stalls selling merchandise from big-name retailers. Often, these stalls display shirts, caps, figures, stuffed toys, collectibles, trading cards and other items from famous films, comics, video games, and even bands. There will also be special comic con merchandise that’s exclusively sold at these conventions and nowhere else, which is why many collectors and enthusiasts make sure to come and grab the limited-edition merch while they’re available.
5. Autograph Signings/Photo Opportunities
Of course, where there are celebrities, actors, artists, video game and comic book creators, and other famous personalities, there will always be fans – and comic conventions offer an opportunity for the fans to have their picture taken with their idols and to get their posters and merch autographed. These are memorable keepsakes that comic con attendees will be proud to show off and preserve.
Ready to head off to the next comic convention?
Comic cons are fun, vibrant and joyful events where people come together to celebrate their love for their favorite franchises, see famous personalities and meet fellow fans. Watch out for the next comic con coming to a location near you, and be prepared to be swept away by the spirit of so many stories, fandoms, worlds and multiverses.