The invitation was quite unexpected and it took all of about three seconds to say “yes.” Would I consider coming to the Long Beach Comic Con to participate in a panel on LGBT issues in fiction? No need to ask twice, I booked my airline ticket, reserved my room at the historic Varden Hotel, and waited with great anticipation for the day to arrive. I was going to my first Comic Con.
Now given what I write you might wonder why it was my first one. Oh, I’ve wanted to go in the worst way and yet was always too chicken to make the venture. For me, the greatest risk I’ve taken is to write my books the way I want to write them and create the characters that make me happy. Everything else about my life is pretty conservative from the day job to the city I live in to my leisure-time activities. It’s simply the way I’ve always rolled.
Yet inside me is the wild woman longing to be set free. Lately I’ve been listening to that woman and slowly, she’s finding a bit of freedom. It probably started with my novels then moved to going out on a limb with some extra work on Z Nation. Then a play. Then dancing in a short film. And finally accepting the Comic Con invitation.
Walking up the steps to the entrance of the Long Beach Convention Center was a moment filled with joy that was also mixed with trepidation. I mean, let’s face it, I’m not a kid anymore and did I really belong there? Had this ship passed me by while I huddled beneath my conservative cloak pretending to the world that I didn’t want to be different? My answers were just inside the glass doors ahead of me. All I had to do was take a deep breath, open the doors, and walk inside.
And so I did. By the end of the first day, five things became very clear to me:
- You’re never too old to let your dreams soar. Comic Con isn’t just for kids. It speaks to every age, race, and gender. Dreams come alive inside those doors no matter who you are.
- You’re not alone. You might think you’re the only one who finds Steam Punk awesome but you’re not. You might think you’re the only one who believes Princess Leah is hot but you’re not.
- Live for the moment, you’ll not regret it. Joy is in the air the moment you step inside. Drink it in and let it nourish your soul.
- Be brave. Not everyone will understand why Comic Con is important to you. Walk through those doors anyway because inside are lots and lots of people who do.
- Top hats are cool. No explanation necessary…you either get it or you don’t!
Comic Con was an experience filled with things I never imagined. I met great people, witnessed incredible artistic talent at every turn, and was surrounded by positive creativity. As I now sit and write my stories of psychics, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts, I know without any reservation that out there in the world are those kindred spirits who get it and maybe, just maybe, I’ll see them again at the next Comic Con.
And next time…I’m wearing my top hat.