GeekGirlCon: A Family of Fun

A column article, Manifesto by: Jason Sacks

Every convention has a different vibe.

Some are big and daunting and overwhelming and crazy. Yes, San Diego Comic-con, I'm talking about you in all your splendid, insane, ridiculously over-the-top glory.  San Diego's vibe is kind of hard to pin down – is it the mutual shared love of geek culture that everybody shares, or is it the love of crowds or the sheer glee at being part of a genuine pop culture happening?

Other conventions have different feels. Stumptown Comics Fest is kind of like a Farmer's Market for cartoonists, a chance to "meet the maker" and get to spend time with the talented folks who follow their dreams to create comics that are completely, idiosyncratically, theirs.

But there's no convention quite like Geek Girl Con. In just its second year, this convention has taken on its own unique vibe: a tremendously positive, wonderfully fun, completely inclusive sort of spirit that is all about how our unique, shared approaches to our respective fandoms help to enrich everybody's life.

Whether male or female, wheelchair-bound or able to walk, an eight-year old child or a 55 year old woman, artist, writer, blogger, international traveler from Australia or just simply a mother of a toddler, this convention welcomed you unconditionally and embraced your diversity – unconditionally, with a passion to learn more about your life and share your passions.

This was a con where people would have great conversations about whether Ollie Queen is a jerk, and whether you could still plan D&D with your friends even if you have a toddler, and trade hints on good cosplay techniques; and collaborate together on a jam comic. All under one roof, and all embraced and sanctioned by the community in the room.

It's a special, special weekend because what it really celebrates isn't just the diversity in each other's' lives but the diversity that we all feel in our hearts and souls; the fact that we're not just a combination of our own specific attributes but a multitude of sometimes competing impulses and intelligences and passions. It's all right to be weird or different or complicated or have deep opinions on the treatment of women in the DCnU (still a very hot topic – DC had better take note), because that's who you are. And that's valuable and special and interesting and exciting and exactly what we want in people we know.

I guess the word I'm searching for here is that this was a family show, in the multiple senses of that word. It was a family friendly convention – I brought my 12-year-old, and there were kids running around everywhere, including my dear friend Kyrax's wonderful daughter – but more than that, it was a place where people embraced you for who you are and who you want to be, give you hints and help and a feeling of belonging and acceptance.

Great cosplay at GeekGirlCon
Image used through the kind courtesy of Robyn Hanson/The Snipe News 

Oh yeah, and a chance to hang out with friends, meet new friends, buy some cool stuff, attend a great party or two, and attend some wonderful panels.

I don't want to write too much here in this column, because few things are more irritating than hearing stories from your friends about how much fun they had at a party that you didn't attend. But I have to share a few quick bullet points about the high points of the con for me…

-          At the top of the list has to be getting the chance to spend time with CB's own Kyrax2 and her wonderful family. I had such a great time getting to visit with you guys. Your inclusive spirit is an inspiration, and your command of Japanese was impressive as hell.

-          It was fantastic to get to spend extended time talking with Gail Simone and her husband Scott. Gail was already one of my favorite people in comics because of her classy and fun attitude, but the two of them were so gracious and wonderful and fun to talk to. Definitely make a point of talking to Gail if she comes to your convention.

-          Getting to meet and hang out with "Wolverina" of the "How I Got My Boyfriend to Read Comics" podcast. She traveled all the way from Perth, Australia, to attend this convention – and she claims the trip was worth it. That should give you an idea of how great the convention was.

-          The terrific "How to be a Negotiation Ninja" panel conducted by Katie Lane, maybe the most interesting and definitely the most helpful panel I've ever attended at a Con.

-          And of course, old and new friends (of whom I'm sure I'll leave some out) – hanging out with Rima and Risha, cool geek sisters; talking aesthetic standards with Kristi Valenti of the Comics Journal (I hope I didn't sound like too much of a fool!); visiting with Teal Shearer and her very cool husband (I owe you vodka!); the fun of visiting with James and Becky Hicks, as always; finally getting a chance to talk to the cool Jason Thompson, and even meeting a guy who used to work at the same tiny little software house that I work at. And of course, many, many more people.

Make your plans now to travel to Seattle next August for GeekGirlCon III. Our weather is great then, and the convention is well worth the trip. This con has a unique vibe that you just have to experience.

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