Comic Con, a convention where fans come together to share their passion for comics, films, science fiction and anime, is held most weekends in cities across the world.
What is Comic Con? Why do people go to Comic Con? And why do people cosplay as superheroes and villains?
We went to the MCM Comic Con in London to find out. Here are 5 things we learnt:
1. FEAST FOR OUR FANDOMS
Comic Con is an entertainment showcase where Hollywood parades its greatest hits and future exclusives in front of an enormous and enthusiastic crowd. Thousands of super fans pilgrimage to the convention, and a big reason for visiting is to get a first look at the exclusives from the studios – movie trailers, costumes, and limited edition merchandise.
With meet-and-greets in abundance, Comic Con also grants us the opportunity to meet and show gratitude to the people who make the things we love – the writers, producers, and actors, who are responsible for our fandom.
2. STRUT OUR SUPERHERO STUFF
Nearly everyone who visits Comic Con dresses up (or cosplays) as their favourite superhero or villain. The costumes are jaw-dropingly elaborate, taking weeks (or sometimes months) to create.
The floor of the convention centre takes on catwalk stature as attendees strut their creations for all to see. The ultimate accolade is for costumes to be salivated over and photographed by fellow attendees, with crowds gathering around the most standout. For Cosplayers, there is no such thing as too much adoration!
3. RE-CHARGE OUR GEEK BATTERIES
Being a super fan of a superhero or anime character can feel super-geeky, and at times, be very lonely.
Going to Comic Con allows us to meet kindred spirits. Conversations are struck up with people we probably wouldn’t speak to in everyday life, or fellow fans we’ve previously only ever met online.
It’s in the many lengthy queues at Comic Con where most of these conversations take place. Connecting with people who share the same geek-passion as us is a powerful validating experience, and allows us to emerge feeling a little more accepted and a little more connected.
4. BE OUR ULTIMATE SELVES
Cosplaying is a way to try on new identities in a supportive and non-judgemental way. The increase in the confidence levels of the cosplayers is palpable from the back to the front of the queue to enter Comic Con.
Once past security (and behind the persona of our favourite character), we get the chance to be more confident, feel more sexy, or embrace our inner bitch, in an anonymous and safe way.
5. GRANTS US PERMISSION TO PLAY
We all have the desire to be more playful, but are often too inhibited, busy or guilty to indulge. In these uncertain and serious times, Comic Con offers the perfect antidote by granting us permission to play.
Getting into character at Comic Con is higly involving, both emotionally cognitively. The act of role playing delivers a profound sense of freedom for fans who enter into a fantasy world and satiate their psychological needs to experiment, escape and unwind.