Anyone who reads Unpainted Lead on a weekly basis knows that I tend to divert quite often from the miniature wargaming scene and go off on my own tangents and reviews… This is another one of those days.
This past weekend was spent running around the ever growing signature pop-culture event of the southwest: The Phoenix Comicon. It was a chance to rekindle the geek flame among the new and old disciples within the nirvana of nerdom. For me, as well as many others, comic cons are the greatest places to just be you. No hiding your massive knowledge of Battlestar Galactica lore, no holding back your excitement for upcoming comic book based films, and most definitely no fear of wearing that awesome costume you spent months perfecting every stitch and color so that those endless nights practicing poses and catchphrases you’ve been working on don’t go to waste. Any and all comic book conventions are places where you can let your geek out and no one will bat and eye at you.
What made this particular con special for me though was the fact I was able to bring a special someone for their first time. Yep, the Phoenix Comicon was my five year old daughter’s first con. To assist in the magic that much more, I had her put on her Alice from Alice in Wonderland costume and I dressed as the Mad Hatter. I figured this would help her feel as much part of the excitement as she was experiencing it. I never thought I would be opening a proverbial Pandora’s Box in the process.
It never once occurred to me that small children dressed as characters that they resemble were a hot commodity among convention picture takers, and silly me, by dressing as the Mad Hatter, I made a large easy to find signal for all attendees to congregate and photograph. We were only able to move in ten foot increments between mobs of adoring photographers.
Now this was thankfully no big deal for my daughter as she amazingly loves to have her picture taken and was willing to smile for all of them. But for a geek like me, I wanted to see the convention. And suddenly we were at a role reversal; she patiently stands or sits still for ten minutes at a time allowing her audience to gush over her cuteness and me becoming impatient and wanting to go play!
My little girl wanted to play some games so we went to the game hall and rented Zombie Dice. Among other gamers we played a few rounds of the polyhedral brain eating game (She beat me too!). It wasn’t until we neared the end of the night, barely seeing the vendors’ hall, not going to any of the panels I had hoped to see, and a bit blind from all of the flash photography that it hit me.
Sitting next to me was my five year-old daughter, a girl who throughout the whole day pointed out the cosplays she recognized (Especially Captain America, I don’t know why, but she was very excited to see anyone dressed as him or even wearing anything that carried the image of his shield), who had fun playing with my massive top hat whenever my head got hot, and when she got tired she wrapped her arms around my neck so that I could carry her around, something changed in her that day. My daughter may have made some wonderful memories from her first comic convention, but I will forever hold this time close to my heart as the day my daughter became a geek.
I’m not the only one who has had this type of experience. What’s your story of your first con? Who brought you? For those with kids, what was it like to see a con for the first time through their eyes?