Summer is coming to an end and childhood Tyler would be insanely sad, but adult Tyler is a bag of mixed emotions. Now that I am a working citizen, Summer is not a big deal anymore. We don’t get a “summer break” anymore, however, I do get something even crazier: peak con season.
When we go to a convention, either for the network or for fun, I either love it or hate it. Summer conventions are different, they are the best. This year I attended Ronin Expo, Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, Anime Expo, and San Diego Comic Con and loved every single one of them (if you paid attention to our podcasts, you already know). Four doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s been 3 weeks since SDCC and I STILL haven’t recovered. It takes a lot out of me as I go through the year going to con after con…. after con… Conventions bring everything out of me: anxiety, excitement, hyperactivity, anger, sadness, and tiredness. The spectrum is broad, but it is worth every second. Making friends, seeing old friends, making memories, partying, working on awesome content, and just experiencing the atmosphere is indescribable.
I have been going to comic conventions since 2006, which means I was a late-bloomer for my age… according to Derek from Geekdom Fancast. It’s true though, I didn’t grow up with these because in Texas it wasn’t prominent. Besides a tiny convention in a small hotel or fantasy faires, I didn’t have many options. San Diego Comic Con 2008 was my second convention and changed everything. It was my first Summer and first out of state convention. Also, I should mention the comic convention I went to prior only had around 240 people attending… It being a yearly trip through college made the wait for Summer un-fucking-bearable.
As the years were going by, more and more conventions would pop up in the Central Texas region, but none in June, July, or August (besides RTX) until I moved out here in 2012. Moving to California, and seeing the options, was overwhelming as hell. D23 and Anime Expo in the SAME MONTH as SDCC?! What is this insanity?! I was working for a website (that I hate talking about) where I would be able to attend and I was absolutely hooked. Suddenly, I was going from one summer convention, the one being the grand-daddy of cons, to multiple giants.
Obviously, we go to these events for the site to promote it, make content, and network, however, I still have a blast and try to meet everyone. The convention may drain me, like Amazing Comic Con with the heat, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to have a good time and have as many experiences as possible. People go to conventions for specific reasons: collectibles, meeting people, panels, making profit from flipping exclusives (or being douchebags), party, being part of the convention in some capacity, artist alley, press reasons, find new content, or walk the exhibit hall floor.
When going to a convention, you will be judged by people for the reason you go, don’t let it get to you. Be you. I used to go to San Diego Comic Con for Hall H every day, except Sundays. I loved it. I would camp out and meet amazing people and see movie stars promote their films. It was magical and I look back happy with my choices. The years went by and now I don’t see the value in going to Hall H. Do I think it’s dumb? Absolutely not. I understand, but I have evolved. I have other priorities with the site and now experiencing the exhibit hall is my main focus.
Anime Expo is a very long convention and I will attend one or two panels. I will see the very talented group, The Corps Dance Crew, perform and another panel that either the group wants or whatever I just “need to see.” I wrote an article about Anime Expo last month and I still think it’s one of the best conventions of the year. It always has huge issues, but no convention, even other anime conventions, will ever feel like AX. Going through Summer and reaching Anime Expo week is where it feels like the official halfway point. You finally get to a really steep slope where you go from the usual 2 or 3 day events to 6 days (with Day -1). I missed half of the convention this year, but Kevin talks about his experience right here and on our ShuKai episode here.
Once Anime Expo is done, every other year D23 is right there to punch you in the gut and drag you through it. I am not a big Disney fan, I enjoyed the years I went to a certain extent. We were denied this year for some reason, but life goes on. There are a lot of amazing opportunities for experiences at the expo, but it definitely is the weakest of the Summer Season. If we return, I would love to see what it is like in 2 years.
I honestly find it hard to end this article because I could talk about Con Peak Season forever, but there are other conventions I need to prepare for. For GGG, we attend around 24-28 conventions a year and around May we get exhausted, but the Summer shows rejuvenate us. It reminds us why we keep doing it and how many amazing experiences and people go to these shows. Now that we do panels, it adds even more urgency and appreciation for the next show. There are a lot of people that hate the giant shows (AX and SDCC), but they are so needed. They show a different side of the convention scene. I am very sad that these conventions are over, but I had an absolute blast. I can not wait for the Fall Season and then to redo everything in January with ALA (Anime Los Angeles). See you guys next year!