Comikaze Expo Panel: Pop Culture and Parenting 2015

Conventions Family GeekMom

Comikaze Expo took place over Halloween weekend. Partnering with comic legend Stan Lee himself and Elvira Mistress of the Dark, Comikaze is the only pop-culture convention owned and operated by true pop-culture icons.

After spending time researching both local and national conventions in the United States, Regina Carpinelli, the co-founder and CCO of Comikaze Entertainment Inc., and the rest of the Comikaze team have crafted an event that will thrill and excite even the most casual comic fan.

It is the fourth year that we attending as a family. This is also the second year of being a part of the Pop Culture and Parenting panel hosted by the Geekling and Parental Units. Kendra Moras, who submitted and championed our group took on the nuts and bolts of creating this year’s experience and led with enthusiasm and charm. I, too, had the pleasure of being involved with the behind the scenes selections of the parenting panel. Helping chose the members and questions. Gathering giveaways and even recruiting my husband, Mark Cronan, to step in as the moderator.

Official list of our participants: Kendra Jean Moras – Photographer, geek, and Mom (raising a 3rd gen geekling); Sky Craig – Professional Engineer and full-time super dad; Melody Mooney (myself) – Stan Lee’s Superhero Hygena, GeekMom writer, and Ella’s Mommy; AutumnRain Glading – co-founder Geek Girls Society & co-owner of Brave New World Comics; Portlyn Polston – co-founder Geek Girls Society & co-owner of Brave New World Comics; Laura Harkcom – Sci-fi show and comic book creator, mom obsessed with all things science-related.

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Ella as Captain Phasma and Lucas as Luke Skywalker practice Jedi Meditation before the panel. Photo: Melody Mooney

It was important to us to create a family-friendly zone to get away from the busy convention floor. There were coloring books, crayons, and space for our geeklings to spread out, and even practice some Jedi mediation.

We had a great crowd that consisted of parents, families, and the popular Geek Girls Society Members. Building on last year’s discussion, there were spirited conversations about why we need geeky parenting communities.

Kendra Moras shared what it was like being in a new city with a two-year-old and needing geek-minded friends. Laura Harkcom, who has a five-year-old daughter, shared that she started liking the darker side of things and wondered if there were others who shared this experience. Sky Craig, who has a four-year-old girl, mentioned that he believed that a geeky community may bring out more dads to playdates and events. Autumrain Glading, who has a teenaged daughter, co-founded Geek Girl Society and helped create an amazing space for girls to discover and grow fandoms and geek-minded friends. She addressed how she approaches and screens new young adult reading material before her daughter reads it. There was insightful perspective given by Portlyn Polston regarding geeky parenting. She touched on the difference between following a certain set of parental rules, like what order to show the Star Wars >movies and just letting kids discover your passions organically.

There was a question asked by a young adult in the room about how to navigate a relationship with his family who were not as geeky as he was. Expressly, he was concerned that he and his non-geek brother were growing apart. He was feeling misunderstood and maybe alienated.

The answers we gave him as a collected panel was not to give up. To keep finding ways to make their worlds intersect. Maybe it was sports or superheroes. The idea that they could bond through the popular genre movies out now was also raised. I reminded him to keep on “doing you” and sharing that his fandom and passion.

Along with more fan and professional panels, this year’s Comikaze Expo saw the highest attendance since its inception. It also played host to Cosplay national championship, cosplay being by far the fastest growing aspect of conventions.

Even the feelings were getting in on the fun. This video of our very own Lucas Moras as Mini Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel with a Sith Master has reached 131,377 views on Facebook alone. It was an epic battle that was amazing to witness. That’s my family and Lucas’ mom, Kendra Moras, in the background watching with pride.

Siena, Sky, and Ann Craig bump into The Man himself, Stan Lee before our panel. Photo Sky Craig

Being on the panel team from conception to completion, I can say with certainty that there is a definite need for more discussions like these. There is so much gained by being there and connecting to other geeky families.

If you have convention coming up in your area, I strongly recommend submitting for your own panel. It’s a bit of work but it’s all worth it to create your own convention magic. Just like our panel member, Sky Craig, and his family when bumping into this guy (Stan Lee) just hanging around outside Comikaze.

The Geeklings and Parental Units can be contacted by joining the group on Facebook. There is always room for a chapter in your own city.

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