Cons, Cons, and More Cons

Hello, my lovelies,

Sorry I haven’t been around for a while.  I’ve been to several conventions and other summer activities.  You know I went to WonderCon, StokerCon, and SDComicCon this year, but in the last few weeks I’ve also been to Midsummer Scream, ScareLA, and Mighty MorphiCon.  In addition, you can see me at the upcoming Long Beach Horror and ComicCon coming up September 16 – 18, and maybe San Diego’s Horrible Imaginings and LA’s Spooky Stories.  We’ll see about those.

Cons are interesting things.  When my dad was still alive, I used work the conventions with him and I have been to my own conventions for a variety of interests, but they’re always a hoot, in my humble opinion.  When I first went to SDCC, I went with my husband.  He had been in a scifi short film and was given a ticket by the producer.  I wasn’t all that interested in comic books but we went for 4 out of the 5 days and I was enchanted.  All these people dressing up!  All this pop culture!  I started to think I could use it in my classroom.  It opened up all sorts of doors for me.  The next year, we went with my daughters and grandson and had a hell of a good time.   I was finding things out all over the place.  Then I found out the major publishers were giving out free books!  Hot damn.  I came home with tons of books for my classroom.  They next year, I found out about the writer and screenplay workshops and panels. I was hooked forever.

I am humbled by the cosplay at these things.  I have won a couple of awards for my costumes — most completed with a heavy amount of hot glue — but these people floor me.  The amount of work, the humor (kids in buggies turned into at-ats,) the electronic abilities of these people.  It is amazing.  A couple of years ago I had a picture taken with the doppelganger of Heath Ledger as the Joker.  There’s always a good looking Batman, Wolverine, Thor (oh…last year’s Thor!,) and the girls, too.  Wonder Woman, Sailor Moon, and all sorts of exotic anime creatures.  A couple of my students go every year and it’s fun to see them there — in costume — and share that with them.  Nerd Alert.  Hell, yes!

Midsummer Scream and ScareLA are both fun.  Creepy, gothicy fun.  Halloween forever.  The costumes there are to die for but there is so much more.  Household widgets to make your haunted house the best in the neighborhood, make-up, wigs, and costumes galore, sliders and scary people from Universal, Knott’s Scary Farm, Queen Mary ghost haunt, etc.  Not for the faint-of-heart.  There was even a baker who sold cup cakes with (faux) bloody brains, glass, and (eew) embryos.  Good fun.

Last weekend I went with my husband to PowerMorphiCon.  A new one for me.  Now, I never watched it but I married a man who was in five episodes and when I tell my students, they’re very impressed.  This was a fairly small convention compared the others than I had recently been to.  People in very homemade costumes.  A couple of really good ones.  And a bunch of people that I didn’t know.  I was able to meet some people from my husband’s past — Karan Ashley, the second yellow Ranger, was adorable and so nice.  Steve Cardenas, second Red Ranger, (I’ve met him before) always a pleasure.  Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy (Bulk and Skull) — always a hoot.  I met the prop man and the front office man and many more.  All remembered my husband and all were so nice.  I even think a fan recognized him from 20 years ago.

One thing I noticed from PowerMorphiCon that I didn’t see a lot of in the other conventions was the preponderance of people in wheelchairs, people with mental and emotional challenges, and people with low social skills.  They bonded to Power Rangers in a way that was different than the other cons.  The Power Rangers are all good people.  They stand up for the little guy.  They symbolize what’s possible for any person, no matter how small, how different, how damaged.  They offer hope and acceptance.  One girl in a wheelchair came forward to thank the panel of Power Rangers.  She said that they had saved her life; she had met her husband at PowerMorphiCon two (I think) years ago;  that she knew, even in her wheelchair, wonderful things were possible and that every time she looked at her wheelchair she imagined herself as a Power Ranger (not her exact words but close).  The crowd cheered.

When we look at these cons, we can look at them like the hit ConMan, with humor at the rabid fans, the overachiever has-been, the bad hotels and worse food.  Or we can look at them as the vehicle they are: a place for people to connect with their heroes, their childhood, their future.  They are places of imagination and hope.  Yes, they’re kind of cheesy.  Yes, they can be annoying.  But they are fun.  Next time an invitation to another convention comes up, I’m going.  And I’ll see you there!



R. L. Stine and me at StokerCon 2016
R. L. Stine and me at StokerCon 2016

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Logo of Naomi Brett Rourke's signature - white

Naomi Brett Rourke is the pen name for the author, teacher, and theatre director living near the beach with her husband Tim. Naomi Brett Rourke has three children, three step-children and nearly a baseball team of grandkids. Her menagerie includes dogs, cats and a tortoise. When not writing, she can be found with a book in her hand, very often reading two or three at a time, with murder mysteries and horror being her favorites.


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