One of the best things about living in Seattle is the easy access to any type of convention you might want to go to. We have PAX, Sakura-Con, Moz Con, Cypticon, and, my personal favorite, Emerald City Comicon. It’s the perfect mix of art, comics, geek TV, geek film, cosplay, guests, and merch. However, I was reminded as I pushed my way through the Washington State Convention Center this past weekend (March 2-5), there are some basic rules that we should all follow while we join thousands of folks in one pursuit.
The first thing that greeted attendees upon entering the Washington State Convention Center was a sign reading “Cosplay is not consent.” This feels like a no brainer, especially to an invisible plebeian like myself. It was funny and sad to stop and contemplate that there was precedent for this sign. I Followed up with a cosplay contact to find out how necessary this signage is. I was informed “Very necessary.” So, first thing is first, don’t be a jerk!
Remember the Bubble
Everyone has personal bubbles of different shapes and sizes. Some are very small, and some are bigger. Mine happens to be the size of an aPodment. I’m uncomfortable a lot.
Naturally there are a LOT of people at cons, so it can be difficult to avoid running into people, jabbing them with an extended elbow, or accidentally stopping suddenly and throwing off any entire lane of people behind you. At one point this weekend I had to have someone poke me in the arm to move out of the way of a wheelchair when I wasn’t paying any attention.
But, try to be aware of your surroundings, don’t step backwards, as most often there will be people or booths directly behind you. Don’t gesticulate wildly. Don’t break into a large-sized jig in the middle of an aisle. Don’t do a Sound of Music spin (see below)
Don’t Forget About the Hygiene
When you group this many people together, there are bound to be some unsavory smells. Make a mental checklist before you leave your house. Have you washed your cosplay since the last time you wore it? Did you shower each morning of the con (yes. yes. yes)? Did you put on deodorant? Did you brush your teeth? Some people have iron senses and some people have nasal passages that are a little more sensitive. Both are fine. Just be sure to think of both before leaving your apartment in the morning. Put in the extra effort. We all appreciate it!
This is two-fold. Eye contact is great. We all have something in common! We love comics, art, TV, Video Games, Movies. We’re all here because we love something in geek culture. It’s okay to make eye contact, smile, do a secret society nod. It always gives me a little thrill when I share a moment with a like-minded momentary-friend.
Also, eye contact is important when talking to a member of the opposite sex. My eyes are up here. Not down there. You’re having a conversation with ME.
Be considerate of the time of others: cosplayers, artists, panelists, celebs, or anyone who is there on a schedule. Especially in Seattle, we’re very polite. We’ll edge away or try to turn our attention elsewhere, without telling you that we have a place to be or another person to talk to. Do a thing, get your moment, and then move on so others can do their thing and get their moment, and everyone can get where they need to be in a timely manner.
More than a couple times I stood tapping my foot while a body stood directly in front of a booth, blocking ALL the things while they pulled the attention of the artist with their questions. There were also couples that would stand glued at the hip. One member would be engaged, and the other would just be standing there blocking beautiful prints, books and possibilities. Do you really want to be the person responsible for blocking a potential sale for an independent artist? Make some room, scoot a little to allow access to as many people as possible. If you’re done looking or engaging, or aren’t looking at all, move along. Just because your bae is interested, doesn’t mean you have to act as their security guard. They will be fine without you.
Always ask if you want to take a picture of someone at a con. If you’re going to take a crowd shot, you’re probably fine not asking each of the hundred people appearing in it (joooooke). But if there’s a person you don’t know in an amazing costume that you want to capture, ask! They’re probably nice. They’re probably proud of their costume. They’d probably be flattered to pose for you. They probably want to have control over what their face looks like in your memory box.
Sadly no one wanted to take a photo of a woman in a boring blue cardigan, so I don’t know this from personal experience. But again, I went to my cosplay contacts and they said that this happens way too often. It results in them feeling violated, insulted, and annoyed. So avoid all that negativity, build some positivity, and ask!
Last and most important
Have SO MUCH fun! There’s no better way to spend a four day weekend then at comicon. Roaming art booths, vendors, panels, seeing celebrity guests and cosplayers, and buying as many Funko Pop toys as you can fit in your arms, it’s all a blast. We all look forward to it months in advance, and mourn it when it’s over for the year. So here’s to Comicon 2017. And we’ll see you next year!