By Robert Simmons

I will freely admit that my Comic Con experience is more recent than most. My first Comic Con experience was in Salt Lake City in 2013, since that time however I have traveled to dozens of Comic Con’s across the country, and while the venues are as unique as the locations themselves, they all have a feeling of home. I went to school at a time when the age of the geek is not quite what it is now. People played ‘Magic, the Gathering’ in the dark corners of their schools. Star Wars was ‘that movie about the space ships’ and computer nerds really did live in mom’s basement. Being a Geek was not easy for me nor for thousands of others.

Now however we live in the age of the geek! Video games, sci-fi, fantasy, cosplay, comic books, all of these are now part of our everyday lives. Marvel, Star Wars, DC, Star Trek and other genres all vie for our attention and dollars. With the rise of so many comic cons across the country we are no longer confined to small little groups or to large convention cities as our only options. As I look out over a show floor I feel a profound sense of satisfaction of belonging to a group of people who love geekdom as much as I do.

Do you know what I really love about Comic Con? The inclusion, we include everyone. Turn on any news source and you will find angry commentary about the right or the left, religious or not, same-sex or straight. The list of ‘what can I be mad about today’ goes on and on. Yet here at Comic Con none of that matters. Rebels stand beside Imperial Stormtoopers. Iron Man and Batman pose side by side for photos and the Joker’s and Deadpool’s vie for the most photo bombs at a single convention. Who you choose to be, WHAT you choose to be is as natural as watching a pack of Pokemon walk past you on the floor. We cheer for the costumes and love it when we see little kids in awe of the multi fandoms that surround them, we celebrate those of special needs whose enthusiasm is contagious. We cheer for the underdog and root for the most obscure character in the fantasy universe. We embrace our uniqueness and our sameness, we celebrate one another’s achievements and work as a community to make every experience better than the last.

This is why I love Comic Con, this is what I want my kids to see, how I want them to treat others, and how I want them to experience it. While there is the occasional good natured ribbing about Star Wars being better than Star Trek (of course) we always have our community, and to us that community is stronger and will endure longer than the turmoil that surrounds us every day. So I will see you at Comic Con, bring yourself, your friends, your grandmother, let’s make it a weekend to remember and give us a reason to be excited about the next time we all meet!

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