Monday, July 12, 2010

Forget soccer: make way for Con Moms!

This.... THIS is why Comic-Con is busting at the seams.

In the words of a mom in Middletown, Conn., commenting re: an online news story about a local convention:
"This is my third year taking my kids to the Con - now ages 8, 13, 15 and 18.

We look forward to it all year.

Just a word to parents. If - like me - you worry about the passive watching of cartoons, playing video games and reading endless manga/graphic novels - then take your kids to the Con! It all comes to life and they are having play battles with foam swords, meeting new people over games of apples to apples and Risk, taking photos of other kids dressed up as characters and meeting the artists who draw the webcomics they read online. It's really a positive environment. But bring some healthy snacks - I was mobbed by teens when I pulled out a bag of cherries of and blueberries.

See you there? "

Forget soccer moms. Or even geekgirls. Welcome to con moms!

I just happened to come across this little snippet of real life, this little snapshot of why Hollywood has swollen San Diego Comic-Con into a crowd bigger than the largest city of eight U.S. states ... why it's easy for Trek to be cool again and have a zillion genre cousins in the same boat: and why all things geek are mainstream (are we going to have to just break down and redefine "geek"?)

why new ones are popping up all over and the middling ones are booming too....

It's as homegrown and innocuous as can be. What's the big deal, you say?

The backstory: the recent ConnectiCon in Waterbury, Conn., elicited *gasp* a straight, on-the-nose news story in the straight, on-the-nose Republican-American newspaper's online pages. Time was when even your city's typical "alternative weekly" tabloid couldn't resist taking a few token pot-shots at the local Star Trek or comic or gaming con. And the con comm would be thrilled to have it.

Especially since all they'd ever get out of the local TV coverage is the token "get the face-painted alien geeks in costume" shots ... at 11 p.m. .... on SUNday. Thanks guys--insults, AND too late to Harness the Power of Mass Media in time and let it help get us anyone new in the door. And believe me--back in the day in Oklahoma City with SoonerCon and ThunderCon, I stood in those shoes all TOO often.

But see, pioneers get to be martyrs. Those who follow on today's trails just get to be real, and read about it. No one even realizes how easy it is to get both respect and normality. Or how impossible it was only a short while back.

But back to "Middletown Mom" and the Republic-American Dot Com: praise be to reporter Kristi Tousignant. It took a generation before all the Trek fanboys (and girls) got old enough to get pro credentials and WRITE the shows they wanted, dammit; looks like Kristi is in the same mold, on the news front.

ConnectiCon is a sort of modern-day Star Trek convention, targetting the wide-ranging sci-fi interests of today's younger generation. ...

"I really just enjoy seeing people with similar interests to myself in one building," ConnectiCon chairman Matt Daigle said. "It's like a vacation weekend."

Taking a step into the convention center Friday was like walking through the looking glass into Wonderland. People wearing fuzzy tails and ears walked past Hello Kitty characters and knights in full metal armor. There was Captain Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, Queen Amidala and even a few scantily-clad Na'vi from "Avatar."

Hardly news to us—but that's not the point. It's hardly "news" to anyone—but now, it's a nice "color" feature story.

And then, that blessed comment from Middletown Mom. Actually, I know of several Con Moms who exist already. As do you, I'll bet.

Yep. Talk about the Next Generation? Well, there it sits.

PHOTO: Darlene Douty/ Republican-American
NOTE: News link may require free registration


Margaret said...

The madness will *really* start in another generation or two, when all THOSE kids have kids.

It's going to be Awesome.

Larry Nemecek said...

Isn't it great? Isn't it odd? Well, *you* get to start out like this. A lot of us are having to pivot, even as fun and exhillarating as that is, and leave our "closet fan" baggage behind.

I dunno. There's a blog in there somewhere. It's been on my mind lately: the adjustment phase of getting what you always wanted. Not the "Be careful what you wish for, Lieutenant"--but the sheer adjustment.

Oh--just checked out your blog. Love your tone.

陳佑發 said...


Margaret said...

Haha, well, as a teenager and adult I've never had to be in the fan closet, but even in the early nineties being a giant Trek nerd didn't exactly score you points at school.

I can't tell whether people accept my geekery now because it's more mainstream or because I'm more confident about it. I'm guessing it's both.

And thank you! (Did you see the one about klingon notes in my lunch box? Talk about geek-parenting!)