My adventures in climbing the cliffs of life’s insanity this year have included ConnectiCon, PAX East, Boston Comic Con, and New York Comic Con.
But the experience attending Geek Girl Con was different.
I’ve been trying since I left Seattle last weekend to put my finger on why. It’s not that I saw friends I never get a chance to see. I’ve been able to do that at every con. It’s not that it’s all about geekery. All the cons were. And it’s not even that there were more girls at Geek Girl Con, as there were lots of women at the other cons too, especially the college-aged kids at ConnectiCon.
I finally came upon the answer when comparing the New York Comic Con program book to the Geek Girl Con guide.
The other cons were largely about what we consume: books, shows, movies, comics, games.
Geek Girl Con is about who were are and who we could be.
GGC was a conversation about how geeks of all types interact with the world. And that includes children, too. Maybe that’s why GGC, instead of wowing me or overwhelming me, created a huge number of “aww…” moments that warmed my heart.
Here’s a sample of the workshops available on Saturday at GGC:
Turning Your Art Into An Online Business; Labor of Love: Why Women Make Transformative Works; Women in Gaming: A New Frontier; Geek Etiquette, Everything I Thought I Knew About Fashion History Was Made Up by Victorians; Strong Female Characters in Young Adult Literature; Geek Girl Style; Helen of Troy Unlimited; We Are Fandom, Hear Us Roar; Deconstructing the Mary Sue Myth; Octobriana, the Black Heroine and Wonder Woman: A Comic History; Race in Costuming and Performing; You and Your Connected Kid; Geeks in Education; Making Giant Robots Go; Home Geek Home; Fan Studies, Past, Present and Future; Making Science Fun.
Here’s a sample of Saturday’s programming at New York Comic Con, excluding the major television shows:
50 Years of Doctor Who; IGN Presents X-Box Fun; The Mythbusters; Comics for Everyone: Creating Stories for All Ages; IDW: The Ultimate Panel; Mad about MAD; Avatar Press Uncut; Justice League Forever Evil; We are BOOM; Kodansha & Funimation; Rocket Girl; Thief (a new video game); Spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski; Sword Art Online; Diamond Select Toys; Celebrating 36 Years of Judge Dredd.
In essence, most of the panels were about things we’ll eventually purchase or pop culture items we already love. There were a few more academic discussions, such as Geeks of Color Assemble! and The Mary Sue Presents Representation in Geek Media, plus one on Breaking Into Comics, but it’s easy to see the difference in programming comparing the two lists. That doesn’t make NYCC wrong or evil but it explains the far different vibe between the two cons.
There was also a consideration for children that I didn’t see evident at the other cons. NYCC had a kid’s day and this year they added a kid’s room, but it was one of the conference rooms downstairs. It’s a decent start and the kid’s room had some programming, but the entirety of GGC seemed set up to allow the younger set to have fun too.
The DIY science area at GGC had seven stations, designed to not just teach science but give the kids something hands-on to do in an interactive way. At the lower level, gaming areas were set up like at PAX and PAX East and a few other cons, but they seemed designed to also let parents and kids take a break instead of walking around.
Sure, some people tried to sell stuff and GGC had a nice exhibition area with a lot of cool crafts, from knitted cats to artwork, to geeky jewelry and t-shirts. Right outside that area was a signing area for those who wanted to visit with the creators who attended. Yet the placement of those tables seemed designed to encourage conversations rather than move along fans.
Basically, I went expecting a regular-style con only with more women. What I found was a community basically throwing a huge getaway weekend. Instead of being exhausted at the end, as I feel like at most cons, I left energized and excited about the future.
I need to find a way to get back to Seattle next year. And I need to bring the minions and my husband this time.