Passions drive us to seek out the amazing, the unknown, and the fantastic. For collectors of the finer things in life, there are few greater ambitions than discovering what is curious and exciting. A fan is deeply passionate, even to the extent that they wish to demonstrate this affection to others. It is when fans gather together that something very unique takes place, namely a convention, or a Con for short.
These conventions are organized events that act as outlets for expression and gathering points for fans to connect to each other. They are massive social points where new treasures can be found, yielding even greater benefits to fans. In the simplest of terms, they are like holidays held inside buildings. The inspiration for fans to go to conventions springs from the desire to celebrate fandom. That’s where cosplaying, posters, and collectibles really come into play. Fans can also network with retailers and professionals, and hope to meet awesome celebrities.
Comic conventions have been around since Bernie Bubnis was lead organizer for the first comic convention, COMICON 1964. These conventions have been popular ever since. There have been times of expansion and retraction, but the mainline comic craze has continued through the years. The appearance of eBay diminished the power of the small merchandise conventions due to its constant online presence. However, the powerful element of being right in the moment with someone creates a comfortable environment for understanding. Having celebrities adds to the energy in the atmosphere of the show. These events give people the chance to escape the troubles of the burdening world for the week as well.
During the calendar year there are hundreds of conventions, with dozens of them in Florida. Conventions can last one day or even a week. Crowds can be one hundred people or hundreds of thousands. The San Diego Comic Con and MegaCon are among some of the biggest. The average convention experience varies depending on the event. The larger the show, the larger the areas of merchandise and the amount of offerings. Performances, stores, contests, artists, and gaming are just some of the fun happenings at a convention.
Conventions helps cities and people. A large amount of commerce develops when people act out in what they love doing. For instance, when Fan Lexicon, Ancient City Con, Wasabi Con, and Collective Con occur in Jacksonville, they bring with them food vendors, hotel sells, and merchants of special items that are able to enhance the fan’s experience. The creation of demand attracts visitors from out of state and treats them to the exclusivities of local businesses. The grander the event, the greater attraction, which means even bigger crowds. For the community, conventions are channels for interacting with one another on a social level. Talking with an individual or group that has similar aspirations can be uplifting; even more so when they dress up as an icon or a familiar star.
There will be a rise of conventions in the foreseeable future. This could depend on the economy or tourism, but the fun will remain. Fans, of course, will be the determining factor in a convention’s destiny. What is interesting is that there will always be fans, and every comic book store is the beginning of a convention; in fact, they are mini-conventions every day. Even as technology advances, the drive to hold on to the past grows. Online communities like Facebook link collectors to other researchers, making it all too easy to track down those elusive pieces of our childhood and objects of our affection. This makes an event like Fan Lexicon a treasure trove for value seekers.
Together the many can learn from the individual, and vice versa. With conventions, everyone can talk and learn from each other while having fun in the process.
In reference to early Comic Cons: J. Ballmann has just published a great book The 1964 New York Comicon and it covers that first comicon in over 250 pages ! Every blemish, pot hole and success is on display and the original 32 page Con Booklet is reprinted. Great history of a near forgotten day attended by George RR Martin, Paul Gambaccini, Len Wein and a host of other teen aged comic book fans over 50 years ago.
I attended also. Glad I got a chance to be a part of fan history.
Enjoyed your article, thank you.