I have always said… the coolest people I know are not those who are the “trendiest” or have the most friends. The coolest people are those who are passionate about SOMETHING. So passionate that they do not care how they are perceived by those around them, so passionate that they simply want to share that passion with others. I do not care what the passion is… whether it is comics, music, cars, videogames, football, or crafts. They simply love SOMETHING.
This is what Comic Con embodied for me. It gave community to so many people who have never felt comradery among the masses in common life. The vast majority of those at the Con were never the popular ones in school. We would never go to class and have people notice us or have the limelight among our peers. However at the Con we are the cool ones. We were at home in a sea of strangers. Once a year we get to meet, take photos with, and talk with complete strangers simply because of a shared a common interest. People would come up and ask to take pictures of us because of an an outfit we had made from our favorite books or games. We would crowd around monitors to watch others dominate in a videogame like Titanfall. At Comic Con the strange became the amazing, the shy become the stars, the lame became the cool. Not the cheap “high school cool,” but the genuine cool. To a kid you were a hero they saw on TV, to your peers you were another passionate fan. For a few days we got to be the Heroes we love, we got to meet the stars we cared about, free of the judgement or ridicule of the “cool kids.”
A lot was made about the lines at the Con or how crowded the building was. But take a moment to consider what those lines and crowds represented. A slideshow was played of photographs of people at the con, almost like a slideshow one would see at a high school prom. But instead of pictures recapping the year by showing the graduating Quarterback, the cheerleaders, the cute boys and girls… In this video it was the Jokers, the Links, Master Chiefs, the heroes, the villains… it was geeks, gamers, nerds. Not the stereotypical basement dwellers. It was geeks proud to be geeks. It was passionate people sharing their amazing interests with thousands of others. In that moment I looked around at the thousands of people watching the slide show. I realized as alone and small as many of us felt in school or in our jobs, we were not alone. Over a hundred thousand people attended the Con, many were inside that ballroom. We were a community. We were the cool ones.