I somewhat unexpectedly ended up going to Montreal’s Comic Con this weekend.
I have to say, the first thing that struck me was the sheer number of people (a few thousand at least) patiently waiting in line with big grins on their faces. (When was the last time you stood in a long line and everyone around you was smiling?) Right away, it was evident how excited people were to see their favourite comics brought to life. And it was then I realized the importance of books, stories and characters (and the important role librarians play in connecting readers to books). Stories deeply impact our lives – a single book can turn a reluctant teen into a lifelong reader, a struggling person can find solace in a book. Books make us laugh, they make us cry, they warm our hearts. That is what Comic Con is all about.
For those of you who have never experienced Comic Con, here are a few things you can expect to see and do at this kind of convention.
According to Wikipedia, “cosplay (コスプレ kosupure), short for “costume play”, is a type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea.”
There was lots of cosplay at Comic Con. Everywhere I turned people were wearing beautiful, intricate, thoughtful, sometimes handmade, costumes. I saw the Ghostbusters, the Joker, the Hulk, Rogue and Gambit, and countless beautiful and striking characters who were unknown to me. Regular people had the chance to channel their favourite characters, pose with fans, and parade across stage in a masquerade.
Meet the stars
Comic, fantasy and sci-fi aficionados had the chance to interact with their favourite characters (heroes and villains alike) on another level as well – they got to meet and talk to the stars who portrayed them. This year’s big stars included Stan Lee (co-creator of Spiderman, the X-Men and many more), Star Trek’s Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis, Batman’s Adam West and Burt Ward, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s James Marsters.
The stars were on the spot for photo-ops and autographs. They shared anecdotes and answered questions from fans in panel sessions. I attended a panel with Clare Kramer (Glory) and Mercedes McNab (Harmony) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They made the world of Buffy come to life from a whole new perspective. They talked about Joss Whedon, the arduous makeup process of becoming a vampire, and the fun to be had playing a villain. (To paraphrase Mercedes McNab, in real life you have to be nice to people, but when you play a villain, you get to be a b****.) As a longtime Buffy fan, I have to say, this panel was the highlight of Comic Con for me.
Comics and Art
Thousands and thousands of comics, graphic novels and manga were on sale (at a discount) at Comic Con. There were comics for absolutely every taste, and a person could spend hours and hours browsing. (The library nerd in me couldn’t help but buy the manga Library Wars, the premise of which involves librarians battling censorship. There is literally something for everyone.)
Even more striking than all the comics, and posters, and action figures, and costumes, was the original art – art that comic fans spent hours and hours creating. Different depictions and creations of so many well known comic book characters, and original characters too. The quantity and quality of the drawings was truly a testament to the importance of stories and characters in our lives. They are there for us when we need a friend. They allow our imaginations to flourish. They guide us when we’re unsure. And they are heartwarming, inspiring and fun!
Go to Comic Con
After experiencing the convention first hand, I’m convinced it’s an event every librarian should visit at least once. It was lots of fun – so much to see and do – and it gave me a chance to reflect on the impact stories and heroes have on our lives.
If you’re still not convinced Comic Con is for you, I have to insist, every librarian should attend the event. If only to see how important books, stories and characters – to see the role they play in the lives of our patrons and our peers. On top of that, it’s tons of fun – and you’re guaranteed to go home with plenty of new ideas for your library.
Find out more about it here: http://www.montrealcomiccon.com/
Comic Con on Flickr :