Going to a Comic Con wasn’t on my bucket list, but you do a lot of things for your grandkids that you wouldn’t ordinarily do.  That, plus the fact that a friend of mine, Scott Wilson, was appearing as one of the guest stars when Wizard World Comic Con came to Tulsa.  And, I was naturally curious about a phenomenon that has grown from a comic book convention to a group of Trekkies and Star Wars fans to a show that highlights a whole pop culture world of comic books, graphic novels, movies and television shows.  These things are huge.  The Comic Con in San Diego draws A-list stars.  There had to be something to it.  Right?

There aren’t so many grandparents there because it’s noisy, you walk a lot on hard floors, the crowds are big, and other things that make it not as attractive once you’re older and more curmudgeonly.  But, there are people of all ages.  It’s a diverse crowd because there is a universality to costumed characters that transcends race, gender, sexual orientation, income levels, age.

I also learned a new word…cosplay.  That’s short for costume play.  There were signs saying that you needed to ask before taking photos of cosplayers.  That amused me because I guarantee that the majority who spend hours and dollars on elaborate costumes are there to have their pictures taken.  This guy strutted around all day, posing with anyone who asked.  I have no idea who the character is, but his costume is cool.  IMG_5513If you go to a Comic Con, take lots of money.  There are booths with everything you want in this fantasy world.  There are toys and action figures.  I loved this little girl in her fancy Robin costume picking out a toy.IMG_5423There are swords and other props, and, yes, the swords are real metal.  Wow!  These guys are armed for any kind of invasion or apocalypse  IMG_5420There are helmets and hats IMG_5419And beautiful masks crafted of leather   IMG_5431and t-shirts and huge tote bags to carry all your purchases  IMG_5454This father showing his kids the incredible light sabers amused me.  The father probably grew up with Star Wars and is passing it down to his sons.  I saw people playing with the light sabers they bought at costs of $200, $300, and $400 and up.  They were definitely cool.IMG_5514And, of course, there are comic books and graphic art of all kinds…IMG_5426IMG_5451Meeting celebrities is another plus.  The Tulsa World featured a piece of custom art for the Tulsa show  5459e1ec5e042.imagecreated by this artist who was selling prints of his other work.  IMG_5521You could meet Lou Ferrigno of The Incredible Hulk, as my grandson did.  IMG_5523Here is Robert Englund, who played Freddie Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, strapping on his sword-like hands for a picture with a fan.  I watched a little boy wearing a mock hand and Freddie Krueger hat gasping in awe as he watched him.  IMG_5505There were lots more stars from shows and movies from William Shatner from Star Trek, to stars from Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Superman, Harry Potter, and others I didn’t know.  There were question and answer panels that drew thousands of fans.  My friend, Scott Wilson, has a long career in films and became a Comic Con star playing Hershel Greene in the Walking Dead series.  The four actors from that show who came to Tulsa were by far the stars of the show, with Norman Reedus, who plays the crossbow wielding anti-hero Darryl, being the rock star.  Their lines were continuous.  I have to say that Scott goes above and beyond with his fans, giving them all hugs and personal conversations.  He is a gentleman and a jewel in my book.  Here he’s wearing the t-shirt featuring Tulsa’s iconic Golden Driller that I gave him when he got to town.IMG_5489He also stayed an extra hour to give free autographs and pictures to the show’s volunteers at the end of a grueling weekend of activities.  IMG_5543Comic Con has the reputation among the non-believers of being only for nerds.  Well, maybe, but this is where these fans can meet their peeps and mingle for a delightful weekend.  After all, I’ve been to Renaissance Fairs and re-enactments and the Scottish Games and October Fests which are not much different.  It’s all a festival where adults can remember what it’s like to be a child again.  Comic Con is a place where families can play – or cosplay – together.  IMG_5515Here’s a family with oddly colored children.  IMG_5536Couples can fantasize about whatever or whoever they enjoy being… IMG_5519Children can meet their action toys in person.  IMG_5548And grown men can bring the Oklahoma Ghostbusters out to play.  IMG_5444Some of you are rolling your eyes that people actually do this, but it’s really great fun to watch people enjoy themselves in whatever fantasy they choose.  There was an atmosphere of camaraderie and festivity for all who attended.  I got a huge kick out of watching it.  Way more than I thought I would.  As my little friend, R2D2, said to the crowd…Beep! Beep!IMG_5478My own memories flash.  How many Star Wars figures did I pick up off the floor when my son was little?  Why did my mother throw out all my brother’s comic books?  Who knew?