In my previous post, I shared when my love for comics started, and what I plan to post in the future. Conventions will definitely be a part of that discussion, so I wanted to share an experience that helps put my passion into context.
Wondercon is my con. It is the con I look forward to with a sense of nostalgia. Going to Wondercon is like seeing an old friend and picking up where you left off. It doesn’t matter how much they have changed or how far you may have to drive to see them, it is always worth it.
I know people gripe about it, especially us geeks in the bay area; every year there is speculation that they will come back, or split off, or people that vehemently refuse to attend because they have been hurt by the betrayal. But I get it, sometimes you just need a change in venue (literally), do what you gotta do buddy.
Wondercon, for each year I have attended, has provided me with just what I needed, and when I needed it. I go to Wondercon to come face to face with people I admire, hear professionals and amateurs alike speak on topics that move and inspire me, and to learn more about the ever growing world of popular culture.
If it weren’t for my geeky friends, I don’t think I would have ended up there. It’s hard to venture out and explore on your own; solo leveling is not the most fun. I’m always going to be grateful for these guys for supporting me.
While I am not sure how we ended up deciding to go, I do know what helped lead us there. I wanted very specifically to talk to a local comic artist/writer, who also happened to be a teacher. Long story short, a friend of mine took me to her holiday party at the Cartoon Art Museum and there was one piece that stood out to me:
I did some research and found out that he was a guest at Wondercon and I wanted desperately to ask him a question. We were lucky enough to make it to the panel and I got my chance. I wanted to know how he juggled both professions. I wanted to know how I could be like him. I wanted to know how to live that dream. He gave me a great response and I felt like I was ready to change the world. The simple answer was that it was hard; it took him three years to complete his graphic novel, and it wasn’t even a daunting size. But, through time management, desire and hard work, he completed a fantastic piece of literature.
The other panelists were extremely informative as well, one being a coworker of Yang’s (he was an art teacher and stated it was a lot easier for him). It was nice to hear them share their stories, trials and tribulations, and eventual successes. After the panel, I was able to speak to Yang more, and he even gave me his e-mail address and offered to answer any questions I had while I was working towards my goals (things have changed, also lost the email address).
What I love about Wondercon is this moment. This is a moment I get to replicate over and over again, because as my interests and knowledge expand, I find more people to look forward to meeting, all while sharing a cultural experience with those closest to me. I know that I can, and have, found this at other conventions, but that doesn’t take away from the emotional connection that was forged 6 years ago. I have relied on Wondercon to keep me an enthusiastic dreamer in the culture I have grown to love. Gene Yang is one of many people I have met at Wondercon that inspire me to create, and help validate my decision to return year after year.
Thanks for taking the time to read. Part 2 will be out shortly.
TL;DR I love Wondercon because I get to meet people, in this case, that guy who is kind of a big deal. People know him. He has many leather bound books that smell of rich mahogany.