Another North Carolina Comicon has come and gone, but the memories are everlasting. Surprisingly, unlike prior cons I’ve attended, this time around there was a definite separation of activities that marked the two days between looping the dealer’s room and panel fun. It was definitely a successful weekend!
Day 1 – Dealer’s Room Marathon and Vampires
I fully intended to do panels both days of the convention, but the draw of the dealer’s room was too much. I looped the tables, then looped again for hours on end, marking items that I wanted to return to and consider further. According to my steps tracker, I got in five miles of walking through dealer’s room exercise, so there’s an upside to being indecisive at least.
There were a large number of dealers in attendance, selling goods such as discounted comics, posters, fandom crafts, and toys. Across the way, the artist alley also provided a variety of fantastic artwork. As always, I made it my mission to find any dealer or artist who recognized the pull of Jason Todd in order to support my undying devotion to the lost Bat-kid. There was a notable lack of Red Hood love, which I maintain is a tragedy at comic book conventions, but I did get a fantastic large print that will go up on my wall soon. And I got ideas for other-fandom goods that I might follow up on after the convention close.
And there were a number of fandom vehicles in attendance as well: the Impala from Supernatural, the ECTO-1 from Ghostbusters, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, Bumblebee from Transformers, and a jeep from Jurassic Park. I commend the con for having these vehicles on the con floor rather than in the parking lots outside, which is common at other cons, because it meant more foot traffic could enjoy the sights without having to brave the often-rainy and cold weather outside.
And the one panel of the day I did attend was a 10th anniversary movie showing of the vampire classic 30 Days of Night. This was my first time seeing the movie, and it was definitely an interesting experience. As someone who is planning on seeing Alaska soon, I would hope that my trip isn’t marred with an overrun of blood-thirsty vampires. I appreciate that the convention screens these types of movies for attendees, though, because it’s a great audience-bonding experience. Keep it up!
Day 2 – Diversity Is Key
The second day of the con was more dealer’s room recon, a focus on diversity panels, and monitoring how low the booth sales would go. I’m very saddened that Chapel Hill Comics is closing its doors, but they had great sales on their stock. Sadly, I did not find a good deal for myself, but I noticed a number of fans pulling single issues for a fun post-con round of reading. Best wishes to the former staff of the comic shop. They provided myself and many others years of comic support, opening our eyes to brand new characters and storylines.
The “Representation Matters” panel was run by members of the Color of Fandom group, focusing mostly on racial diversity and touching on when fandom materials do it well and when they fail miserably (I’m looking at you, Sleepy Hollow). It’s interesting to hear about the perceptions of when diversity excels and when it falls short, along with what that effect the visibility and lack thereof has on our society as a whole.
Visibility and societal influence was also a theme for the “Love Is Love” panel, focusing on the representation of queer characters in media. There were lots of great recommendations, most of which I have read before, and a notation that the adaptation of print media to the screen often falls short in exploring the wide variety of gender and sexuality representation that comics provide. There is also the fear that, when these queer characters are adapted for the screen, their representation might become more heteronormative, which seems to be the case with Jughead in the new Riverdale series. We must continue to fight for the equal representation of all identities, else we as a society cannot move forward.
Image Credits: DC Comics, Kimberly Workman, Chapel Hill Comics, and Archie Comics