Hey, guys. It’s Lucia, your friendly neighborhood nerd. Can we talk about fan conventions for a moment? Awesome. Because guess what? San Diego Comic-Con, commonly known as SDCC, is happening this weekend, and as usual I’m bemoaning the fact that I live on the other side of the country. SDCC is the pinnacle of geekdom, a spectacular four-day extravaganza that celebrates comics, sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and all things nerd. This is the magical place where sneak peeks at hotly anticipated new movies happen, where intelligent discussions about the ethical and moral issues faced by superheroes past and present occur, and where fans get to mingle with their favorite actors, writers, artists, and filmmakers. Every year at this time, I bitch about the fact that I’m not there. Here’s the thing: You all know the sorts of things I write about. You know I’m a giant nerd. When I was living in London, I took a day trip out to Cardiff, Wales just to see a temporary exhibit of Doctor Who props and costumes at a random mall. When Return of the King came out, I totally would have done Trilogy Tuesday if I hadn’t been taking a Latin exam while it was happening. I’ve been to many midnight screenings of high-profile geek movies. But you know what?
Cons TERRIFY ME.
Need a little background info? Glad to oblige. I come from a big nerd family– Star Trek: The Next Generation was a family event in our house– so naturally, when I was a kid, my dad used to take my brother and I to Star Trek conventions on a regular basis. My brother went more often than I did; I was probably no older than three when these excursions started, which my parents deemed too young to go. So for a while, I watched my brother and my dad venture off into the great unknown, knowing that when they came home, they’d have a) stories and b) swag. The cons were one of the ways that some of the more specialized toys found their way into our home. My brother had boatloads of Trek action figures, but those were easily obtained from our local Toys ‘R’ Us. Here, I mean the really spectacular toys: Working phasers, tribbles that squeaked when you squeezed them, disappearing-reappearing transporter mugs, and so on. I was thrilled when I was finally old enough, at the ripe old age of roughly five, for my dad to take me with them. Unfortunately, the experience ended up being a little less momentous than I’d hoped. Here’s what I remember from my first Star Trek convention:
- Knees. No, really. I’m short as an adult, but I was TINY as a kid. With the exception of the times my dad picked me up so I could get an idea of what was going on, I mostly remember looking at a lot of people’s knees, because that’s what I was eye-level with.
- Not actually seeing actors in person. Not because they weren’t there– they most certainly were– but because I was kind of afraid to meet them. I was young enough that it was still difficult for me to differentiate between fictional characters and real-life actors, so I figured it was safer to let them be.
- Swag. I came home with a miniature Deanna Troi from Next Gen and a tiny Lucas from seaQuest DSV, complete with Darwin the dolphin. I also came home with a headshot of Marina Sirtis, the actress who played Troi, though I’m not entirely sure why. I didn’t really quite understand the concept of headshots at the time; nor did I understand that the principle reason they’re sold at cons is so that you can then go find the actual actor and get an autograph.
- The crowds. Oh, god, the crowds. I wasn’t wild about large crowds when I was a kid, probably because I was so little, and I still don’t particularly like them now. They were both terrifying and exhausting then, and they’re terrifying and exhausting now.