Monday, February 10, 2020

My First Comic Con Experience!

I had never been to a comic convention before. When I used to work for NBC, I was offered tickets every year to the San Diego Comic Con ... but when you're a poor teacher with a family of 6, a plane ticket to the other side of the country so you could dress up and buy comic books didn't sound like the most practical idea. (And yes, I know there's a lot more to a comic con than buying comics  they also sell Funko Pop figures!) So when I read about my buddy Spencer's many trips to FanX in Salt Lake City, I was inspired to go to my own comic con.

Meeting Ja'Siah Young
On February 8, I went to the Lehigh Valley Comic Convention in Allentown, PA, about an hour from my home. They hold four conventions a year, and next year will be their 20th anniversary. It's a small operation compared to the conventions held in San Diego, or New York, or even Philadelphia. But smaller means more intimate, and more opportunities for innovations and intimate connections with people.

There were five panels at this con, and we attended four:
  • Name That Tune Deluxe: Every song was either from an anime or video game. And my interests are not anime or video games. Yet somehow we came in third place, winning some candy, a Star Wars poster, and some Star Trek coasters! (Thank goodness I remembered that one anime episode of South Park!)
  • Meet the Mandalorians: This was just so awesome, to see two guys from the local chapter of the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club (that exists?) talk devotedly about what they love. They brought all their gear and told us how they made their cosplay. Hearing people talk about things they're passionate about is MY passion. 
  • Raising Dion Panel: We watched Raising Dion as a family, and we loved it. And it was really enjoyable to hear Ja’Siah Young talk about his life since starting as Dion. He's a pretty chill 8-year-old. My kids really enjoyed hanging out with him, doing backflips together, dancing, and exchanging phone numbers. Yup, really. 
  • Creating Voices for Cartoons: My kids enjoyed meeting Ja’Siah the most, but I was most taken with Erica Schroeder, a voice actress who worked on Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Sonic the Hedgehog, and a ton of other fun shows. Erica just had this really incredible energy and spirit about her. It was refreshing. 
  • Transformers: In the Beginning: This just wasn't our thing, so we walked around instead and acquainted ourselves with the weird and wonderful world of comic cons. 
Cosplay Dating Game
The after party was by far the best part of the evening. Held at a nearby hotel, there was delicious food (complimentary), karaoke, an elaborate Dungeons and Dragons game, a cosplay dating game, and a pool party. I'm learning that this is pretty standard fare for the Lehigh Valley Comic Con, but a little unusual for other conventions. That's fine by me, I'll keep going to Lehigh Valley, where I can sing my heart out in a rousing karaoke rendition of “Let It Go”, my boys can feel included and accepted playing the best game of D&D of their lives, and they can take a dip in the pool with the star of a Netflix original sci fi show!

So this geek is now sold on comic conventions, and my family can't wait for the next one. Until then, we will keep calm and comic con.
Cosplay Aang meets Funko Aang
Doc Ock was incredible!

Aang and Black Panther
Dion and Aang, just being kids
D&D was epic!

Meeting Mystery Science Theater 3000
Water Bender
Mega Man and the gang

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