My people will travel from all over the lands to attend this yearly event and others like it. Some work all year long on perfecting regalia for competitions and shows. Artists, craftsman, exhibitors looking to peddle their wares at the weekend-long events in hopes of making a few extra coins. Young men and women are hoping to meet each other in an environment best suited for those with similar passions, looking for a little love. I bet you thought I was talking about a pow-wow. But I am talking about a gathering for every nerd, geek and fanboy across the country. Comic Con.
I don’t know about some of you but Comic Con weekend (which took place July 18-21 in San Diego) was a brutal time for me. I knew that my geeky brethren were all congregating at the biggest nerd gathering on the planet — and the fact that I was not there to take part in it was killing me. Seeing the various updates on Twitter, watching the pirated sneak previews on YouTube, drooling over the Con exclusives I would have to mortgage my home to buy on eBay. Oh, it just tears at the soul.
But it is more than just that.
Being socially stunted from birth and born in the wrong era, I have often felt like a leper at gatherings. Attending my first Comic Con was like… Nerdvana. In Comic Con I found a true place of acceptance. It was the chance to be myself without threat of ridicule, to be the same boy who chose to wear Vulcan ears* to junior high to be himself and simply have fun.
*Huge mistake. Note to parents: Please talk your kids out of ever trying this.
What is so great about Comic Con (besides all the cool swag, great action figure finds and meeting several writers and artists on whose inked pages I've stained many a fingertip over the years) is that it is an opportunity to meet others who come from different places and backgrounds but share the same story: brothers of the cape and cowl, children of Skywalker, cousins with the same mutant gene.
It’s like the annual Canoe Journey we have up here in Washington. You meet other Natives who live on other rezzes but can tell the same tales of misbehaved kin, and trips to the store for large red-hot burritos with a Coke, and the experience of becoming elders — tales of shared experiences exchanged while standing in line waiting for a decent piece of fry bread. Comic Cons, if you get past the money and hype are just like rez gatherings. Friendship and understanding and a home away from home.
Finding and accepting one’s true self is a hard thing for many; locating a group of people to do the same can be even tougher challenge. But whether it’s a Comic Con, a Star Trek convention or a pow wow — whether you wear a cape or a feathered headdress — it’s good to find a place where you can swap stories, share a common love and just have some frakin fun.
Jeffrey Veregge, Port Gamble S'Klallam, is a graphic designer and lifelong comic book fan based in Seattle. To see examples of his Native/superhero art, read the ICTMN story "Superheroes Meet Native Design in Jeffrey Veregge's Work" or visit his personal site, jeffreyveregge.com.