Convention Confessional: The Day the Doors Opened

Andy Smith

Andy Smith continues his observations of the Pittsburgh Comicon. He has met the fans, gentlemen, and they are us.

I'm an hour and a half early.

A walk around the convention center finds scurrying vendors, convention center staff carrying a table between the same two spots and industry professionals strategically stacking original art with splash pages on top. And I, soon to be known as "the guy with the camera", watch like an orphan on Thanksgiving.

I walk outside and eavesdrop on a few friendly strangers--neighbors not in their hometowns but in the stations in which they are assigned. They are members of a boundless chain of booths, each providing a different person, a different story and a different component in the industry machine. One may simply own a comic book shop back home. Another took work off for the weekend to humbly display his own renderings of familiar characters. The other may have drawn that image of the Silver Surfer that seems vaguely familiar from your childhood.

The sound of Silk Spectre's stilettos on asphalt is my cue to enter the convention again. The fans are coming.

And just like those waiting inside, the onslaught of attendees varies in its roster. Of course, Silk Spectre is not the Watchmen character or even her film incarnation, she's a twenty-something with far more confidence than I have. She is followed by the prototypical attendee -- adorned with what could be a "fanboy" starter kit -- displaying his brand allegiance with a matching shirt and patches on his convention satchel. They are the first of many to enter, but not the sole ambassadorship of convention-goers.

No, that party would have to include the inhaler puffing middle-schooler with his mother in tow, the signature-hound who refuses to wear any pants that aren't of the sweat variety and the confused individual who only came because the Iron Man movie turned out to be a lot better than he thought it would be.

Sure, people are not so easily classified. I learned that soon into the convention. And my hopes are that my observations do not appear without love for my fellow Comicon attendees. It's simply a display of our collective role despite diversity and that shared contribution to the undeniable feeling of the Pittsburgh Comicon's opening atmosphere: anticipation. Certainly, we were all the same in this regard.

Whether or not any of us got what we are looking for remained to be seen.

Andy Smith's observations and impressions of the Pittsburgh Comicon continue later this week. -sQ

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