It was 31 October 2014. My younger brother and I were in the middle of our college years. No real activities outside of classes and friends, mostly staying in at home. Nothing really exciting happening, no hero to meet, no event to attend. Calm and quiet homefolk, taking time to relax after classes.
Our mom texts us: “I got you tickets to Comic Con, I figured you guys might enjoy it!!!”
We went, obviously. Comic Con is one of those huge events that no geek wants to miss. Thing is, this was Columbus Comic Con. What exciting stuff could we run into here? This isn’t SDCC, or Chicago, or New York. It’s Columbus: the most boring town we’d ever known.
We have cement corn stalks listed as a landmark. We’re that level of excitement.
But we went, my brother in a Captain America t-shirt, me in a League of Legends shirt. And it was one of the most insane, glorious, ridiculous, and awesome nights of our college experience. My brother even got a blurry photo of Bruce Campbell before security told us to put down our phones.
This, a night of fun that we otherwise wouldn’t have known was happening, was my first exposure to con fever. And it led to some great travels I doubt I’d have made without that first push.
The First Time is Always the Strangest
Up until walking into that convention hall, neither of us really knew what to expect. The most exposure we’d had to a con was through ren faires and secondhand mentions. I couldn’t honestly tell you if we’d even seen what a con was like on the inside.
Walking in and seeing people in costumes, huge stalls selling merch, panels and displays of all kinds; it was incredible. I remember losing my mind over the artwork and models up for sale, and trying to convince my brother not to get a sword. I still have my relic’d Portal turret and stuffed Rammus on my shelf, and even got a hat to match the plush.
We spent hours combing the venue, looking for new cool things to see and experience. It’s a little shocking to see a comic case displaying old issues surrounded by piles of hundreds, only to be told that it’s all real and that’s how much the first issue of The Incredible Hulk is worth.
And don’t even get me started on the first issue of Batman.
My brother and I went home that night with armfuls of stuff, still reeling from it all. Seeing that for the first time, not just through casual mentions or pictures, was huge. It was unfamiliar but exhilarating, being surrounded by people with common interests and passions. Certainly my best Halloween to date, and my first experience with convention fever.
And oh, did it grow from there.
Vegas, Baby! GP Vegas 2017
It was probably mid-March when I heard about the next opportunity to go to a convention. And not just a convention, a Magic: the Gathering Grand Prix of all things. Mid-June, a full week of Magic, and a change of scenery. A chance to meet friends and content creators, celebrities and players, people involved with a game I love. A real growing-up con, to be honest.
This was the first con I’d chosen to attend myself, as well. Footing the bill, dealing with issues, planning everything possible. I’ll say right now, it was pretty nerve-wracking.
But it was also exhilarating. I hung out with friends I’d only spoken to online, talked to some incredible people, and played hours of Magic. Artists were selling their work, cosplayers were walking the halls, side events were firing, all in celebration of this game.
It was hard to leave at the end of the week. Here was a place where I felt I fit, playing games and petting dogs and having fun. Crazy nights turned into working days, on to starting a new job once the plane landed home.
I wouldn’t trade that week for anything.
Onward and Upward
So what does the future hold? With different conventions and gatherings happening every weekend, where will this crab scuttle off to next?
SCG con is on the list, 8-10 June in Roanoke, Virginia. Magic and cool stuff, hosted by one of the largest distributors in the world. Yeah, that’s on the list.
Grand Prix Vegas is 14-17 June as well, so you’ll probably see me there. Feel free to say hi!
After that, who knows? It’ll be an adventure.
What was your first con? Do you have any planned or are you looking for a new adventure yourself? Let us know in the comment section, and maybe TGE will see you there!
As always, thanks for reading, and go get your con on!
I like weird and silly and scary things. Sometimes I talk about them.
I enjoy gaming, sci-fi/fantasy books, well-written stories, Magic: the Gathering, and caffeine. I like things that make me think, feel, and react.
Praise Cthulhu, hail Rakdos, enjoy the weirdness. And remember: a good story can come from anywhere.