A couple years ago, I took a weekend to get away and enjoy a comic book convention. GalaxyCon Raleigh, taking place in North Carolina, was a weekend of cosplay, celebrities, and comics. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new faces and taking pictures of all the amazing cosplayers. Meeting a few celebrities face-to-face was awesome, too.
The massive vendor area also had talented artists showing off their skills with drawing, painting, and crafts. Some were well-known, others local artists struggling to make a living with their craft. Not only did I enjoy taking my time to peruse the spectacular art, but it truly brought home to me what being an artist of any kind really means. Each table held something special and unique. Were there a ton of superhero drawings? Of course. Were there wooden swords at more than one table? You bet. There were also several jewelry vendors selling their wares. What many people gazing at these works of art may not realize is that each piece is unique in its own way. Each one of us has our own style, our own vision that we are trying to bring to life. We put a small piece of our soul into our art, just as authors do with writing. No two Harley Quinn sketches from different artists looked exactly alike and that is why even struggling artists who only do their work part time have something important to bring to the table.
This was also reflected in the cosplay costumes. Many were hand-made, and you could not only see each creator’s skill with sewing or finding the perfect accessories, but you could glimpse how they saw that character in their own minds. A Jack Sparrow/Deadpool costume (with pirate Domino as a sidekick) had me doing a double-take. How to Train Your Dragon characters had colorful armor that must have taken hours to assemble but the end result was breathtaking. The best part was when I commented on how great each cosplayer looked and seeing that look of pride and glee in their eyes as they thanked me. This was their contribution, their art that they brought to life for the enjoyment of the masses and I felt privileged to be a part of that if only for a weekend.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the con. I danced at the rave, witnessed great acts of kindness, danced with strangers outside, laughed at the hilarious Q&A sessions, and felt completely comfortable with crowds of people that would usually have my anxiety screaming in agony. But these were my people. Everyone there could appreciate not only members of their own fandoms, but of others. Nerds are a friendly, artistic bunch, and I am proud to be a part of that.