So another Con has come and gone and now there is a Con shaped hole in my heart. I did exhaust myself and now I have the post-con cold brought on by fatigue but it was so worth it, right? I have mixed feelings about this Con, but overall it was really fun. Here is why.
The temptation to drink was almost nonexistent! Going in I was really worried about Comic-Con being a trigger or even being in the bars and after parties. Fortunately this was not the case! I think going in with a good plan really helped as well as a cause to keep me focused. Sure, there were a few times it buzzed in the back of my mind. The thought that “dang, a beer would go great with that burger,” but overall it really wasn’t much of an issue! So if nothing else it was a smashing success just because of that. I also am learning to have more fun in sobriety then in drinking, and to slowly put myself back out there. So I was really pleased by the way it went.
Now let’s get to the Con itself. As noted in my last post, I sacrificed most of the Con in order to promote the recovery meet up. I am not sure I missed out on that much. To be honest, the Con’s programming was really weak compared to past years. This is the first time I never went to Hall H and except for Friday with the Walking Dead and Game or Thrones, I feel I didn’t miss out. From what I have heard, neither Marvel nor DC really delivered. I also didn’t see a lot of the creative writing panels I normally see on the schedule. That being said, let’s move on to what I did enjoy panel wise.
God Is Disappointed With You – I saw this panel on the schedule and knew I had to check it out. Turns out it is a humorous rewriting and condensing of the Bible. This was one of the best panels I went to. Writer Mark Russell and Shannon Wheeler deliver a surprisingly funny yet reverent take on the Bible. It would have been easy for them to just stick it to the Bible or Christians, but instead they were reverently irreverent and stayed true to many of the Bible’s themes. While Russell grew up protestant, I got the impression neither was particularly religious, but they both read off parts of the Bible that meant a lot to them and they both highly encouraged the audience to read the Bible for themselves, especially the Gospels. They were also both incredibly witty and engaging and answered numerous questions, including my question about how did they handle the Song of Solomon (if you haven’t read it, you will be shocked by what is in it). I went to their booth and bought it afterwards and really look forward to reading it. It was probably the best panel I went to. But then there is also this one…
The Battle for Multicultural Hero’s – I went to this panel in Wondercon and really enjoyed it so I decided to attend again. The panelists Tony Kim (@Crazy4ComiCon), Andre Meadows (@BlackNerd), Andrea Letamendi (@ArkhamAsylumDoc) and Linda Le (@VampyBitMe) do a great job of taking a series issue and making it fun, thoughtful and engaging. I had an interesting conversation with ArkhamAsylumDoc afterwards. She knows about my story of mental disorders and alcoholism, and she said that to her, the issue isn’t just about minorities, but anyone who may be marginalized or misrepresented for any reason. This also applies to the geek community and I told her about how hard it was growing up in the conservative Bible belt while being told half of the stuff I was into was evil (due to magic etc.). So as probably one of the whitest guys in the world, in some ways, I still know what it is like to be marginalized. Don’t get me wrong, I am not pretending to even begin know what it is like to be a minority in the USA, but it is something I think my experience can empathize with on some level. Anyway, this is a really good panel that will challenge some of your beliefs and I highly recommend it.
End Bullying! Responding to Cruelty in Our Culture – This one gets an honorable mention. First, I would like to say there was a line outside to get in, and since most people in the line had been bullied, I had no problem pushing my way to the front of the line. Secondly, I feel this panel has A LOT of potential but it just didn’t deliver. Here is why. First of all, there were eight panelists, which is about four to many. The simple fact was there just wasn’t enough time for everyone to speak their mind on various questions. Secondly, while doing the introductions, the moderator asked each panelist a really in depth question that demanded an in depth answer. By the time all eight panelists were done, there was very little time for audience questions. Bullying is a passionate issue for my people (I myself was a victim) and the audience has a lot to ask and say about it, this panel should give them time to do so. Lastly, out all of the questions the moderator asked, only about half pertained to bullying. For instance, one question revolved around Her Universe’s plans to challenge body type issues by using different size models. A great question and cause, but it had nothing to do with bullying directly. So it was that the anti-bully panel left you wanting more. It has a lot of potential, let’s just see hope they fulfill it. After all, I’d hate to have to pick on this panel again.
So there you have it. My panel highlights. My biggest highlight (besides staying sober) was just being on the sales floor and meeting tons of really cool people. Ultimately, isn’t that what the Con is about? And yes, I’m already thinking of next year.