Comics/Graphic Novels

What Rioters Miss Most About Comic Book Conventions

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Elisa Shoenberger


Elisa Shoenberger has been building a library since she was 13. She loves writing about all aspects of books from author interviews, antiquarian books, archives, and everything in between. She also writes regularly for Murder & Mayhem and Library Journal. She's also written articles for Huffington Post, Boston Globe, WIRED, Slate, and many other publications. When she's not writing about reading, she's reading and adventuring to find cool new art. She also plays alto saxophone and occasionally stiltwalks. Find out more on her website or follow her on Twitter @vogontroubadour.

While hope is on the horizon with the vaccines, it’s unlikely it’s going to be safe to go to a comic book convention in the near future. Recently, someone fancy in the comic book world on Twitter (possibly the great Gail Simone) asked what people miss most about conventions, which inspired me to write this post. 

While there’s lots to love about comic book conventions, I miss the cosplay the most. It’s like a second Halloween for me. It’s fun to dress up like my favorite characters (a function of my love of the character plus the availability of objects in my closet and the ease of making/buying things on the cheap). At the 2020 C2E2 (!), I dressed up as Hilda, Prince Robot IV from Saga, and Ash from Die (which no one got). 

But the real joy is everyone else’s costumes. In particular, I love the group costumes (like the folks who dressed up as different characters from Pixar’s Up) or the mashups like Samurai Darth Vader, or the folks who combined Gravity Falls with Silent Hill.

Two Gravity Fall cosplayers with a video game twist. One is Bill and the other is a mashup with Silent Hill's Pyramid Head.
Bill and Pyramid Hill Bill from Gravity Falls. Photo: Elisa Shoenberger

I also love the chance encounters like the group dressed up as Nazgul who met with an unaffiliated Eowyn and did battle in the lobby of the Convention Center. I can’t wait to be able to go back to a convention and see fans’ creativity on display. 

Characters from Lord of the Rings have some fun cosplay. Eowyn in green fights five Nazgul.
Eowyn fights five Nazgul. Photo: Elisa Shoenberger

I asked fellow Rioters what they missed most about comic book conventions. You can see their responses below. 

As a huge fan of comic book conventions, such as NYCC and Florida Supercon held where I live, I miss everything! I miss the vendors where you could find unique gems, I miss dressing up like my favorite characters and I also miss meeting other like-minded friends at the various cons. One of my favorite memories of NYCC 2019 was meeting and interviewing author Holly Black, receiving ARCs of new books and comics coming out, and hearing amazing creator, artist and author panels. I’m hopeful that soon we will be able to be together again at a Con. They’re truly the best and truly bring us together as a happy geeky family.

Aurora Lydia Dominguez

Everything! I miss building cosplays and getting to play pretend for a day. I miss seeing other cosplayers in their incredible costumes. I miss all the friends I only see at comic cons (I have got to get better about that!). I miss meeting creators I admire and discovering new artists to be a fan of in Artist Alley. I miss swag and pawing through back issue bins. I even miss my feet and shoulders aching while I eat a $17 convention center hot dog! But most of all I miss the feeling of absolute joy that pervades a comic con, where everyone is so delighted to be celebrating the geeky things they love. I want the good vibes back!

Jessica Plummer

I write comics as well as reading them, so I’m often on the other side of the table at comic cons, and I miss them so much. The sense of community between indie comics creators is fantastic, and I love getting in early, catching up with the friends that I only see at these events, then setting up behind my table with a Thermos of coffee. I love browsing through the indie comics tables and coming home with a huge bag of beautiful new comics to read, and I miss that “treasure-hunt” side of it – buying comics online isn’t quite the same. And I miss playing “spot the cosplay” with my friends, and trying to guess what the new favourite character to dress up as will be each year.

Alice Nuttall

I haven’t been a collector in a while, but I’ve always enjoyed meeting with and getting autographs from creators. Writers or visual artists, I love talking with them about their craft, buying straight from them, and getting their autographs. Sometimes you find creators to be less-than-awesome, but more often, I’ve found them to be wonderful humans and artists. 

Chris M. Arnone

Want more on comic book conventions? Here’s a great post for folks going to their first convention for when it’s safe to congregate on masse. Here’s another post about a Rioter cosplaying as the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl at a convention.