Let me begin by saying yes, this was my first ever Comic Con. As someone who consumes nerd culture like I do Blue Bell Salted Caramel Brownie ice cream, walking into the Brazos County Expo Center, I didn’t know what to expect. I felt an odd mix of excitement and apprehension as I approached the entrance. The line stretched along the entire front of the Expo center, yet as I asked, “Is this the line for VIP?” the gatekeeper chuckled, “Oh no, that’s for regular people. You can come on in.” Welcome to College Station Comic Con by Con Live!
At that moment, I realized – is there such a thing as “regular people” at a Comic Con? The short answer is no because every cosplayer I encountered was “amazing people.” I witnessed a dedication to craft that rivals professional athletes. These cosplayers displayed construction, painting, sewing, and creativity skills, blending references and fandoms into incredible costumes.
An Amazing Community
While lacking the massive scale of SDCC or NYCC, College Station Comic Con’s energy was intimate, welcoming, and fun. The diversity of our community shone through the variety of passionate fans. I learned so much in panels on voice acting, anime, budget cosplay tips, and more. There were plenty of vendors to quench your nerd thirst. They even had a Retro Gaming center where you could play games on retro consoles on tube TVs from Altered Beast to Zelda. The intense video game competitions featured such classic titles as Halo CE and Dr. Mario.
Wonderful Celebrity Guests
Speaking of nerd joy, legendary voice actor Marty Grabstein, who’s name is synonymous with “Courage the Cowardly Dog,” brought smiles to everyone as he voiced characters on request. His generosity of spirit was matched by Kari Wahlgren, who voices Haruko Haruhara, Meleena and Kitana, Tigress, Rick’s Computer, and more. When it was my turn to meet her, I reacted as if I did not know how to communicate a thought or complete a sentence (I believe the term is “fanboy-ed.”) She was so gracious despite my fumbling and is an absolute gem of a human.
In her panel, Ms. Wahlgren discussed her career and answered questions until there were no more. Even as people were asking multiple questions at a time (that may have been me), she continued to smile and be gracious. She also discussed her roles as Emma Frost, Chloe Carmichael, and Anka Scholtz from Archer. As the panel ended, you could hear laughter blended with Courage’s antics in the distance.
Vendors in Cosplay Mode
I interviewed several vendors such as Grimm’s Prints who specialize in 3D printing miniatures. They spoke about meeting our very own Kat at 8 Bit Block Party representing Shieldmaiden’s Creative Creations back in July. I also got to interview a “chicken” salesman named Heisenberg. He told me about how he stumbled into cosplay because some of his coworkers said he looked like Walter White.
To Cosplay or Not to Cosplay
I interviewed cosplaying contestants, including Samus, Master Chief, Iron Man, and Commander Shepard. Their creativity and passion were contagious. In one panel, Cosplayer Meg said something that inspired me to dip my toe into that world. She discussed inspiration and how her choices are based on her relatability to the character. With that spirit in mind, I’m leaning towards Baylan Skoll as my first attempt – from the latest Disney+ Star Wars installment, “Ahsoka.”
The celebrity guests in attendance took their time with their fans and engaged consistently. The vendors were all friendly and down-to-earth. And the cosplaying was superb. I don’t know if that vibe exists at larger cons since this was my first, but it felt like a family reunion celebrating creativity. I cannot wait for February’s AggieCon!