Fandom Culture, Not Just For Geeks

As New Orleans gears up for the upcoming Wizard World Comic Con, the geek or as many prefer, fandom community, is ever active and ever growing. The films, comics, graphic novels, and television shows by which this community swears are growing in popularity, proving that these guys have been right all along, clinging to these amazing pieces of artistic culture before many gave it a chance.

Now, thanks to the allure brought on by epic comic and graphic novel based novels, as well as the “British Invasion” (if one will) of television, fandom is becoming increasingly mainstream. With the unprecedented near instant success in America of the new Doctor Who series, an old favorite to many, Sherlock, and Jekyll, which bring to life some of the most classic, timeless works of horror and mystery, also formidable parts of fandom in the modern day. But BBC America is far from an unusual TV channel. Even Archie Comics have been brought to the Netflix world with their series, Riverdale, featuring the old beloved conflicts, love triangles, and crushes as well as the classic character with an added deliciously scandalous plot line which keeps viewers watching.

Children, also,  are picking up the gauntlet with much vigor, some following in their parents’ footsteps, some drawn in by the increasingly heavy saturation of the formerly lesser-known classic story lines, themes, and characters, and themes of all the awesome facets of this sect of the arts in mainstream culture. Toys from many childhoods are now very valuable collectibles to collectors of all sorts and walks of life. I cannot confirm all of the positive influences that have spawned the influx of popularity in these one antiquities, but it is certainly a great thing for all.

The increasingly popular Steam Punk and its close relative, Diesel  Punk trends first manifested in fandom culture, their patrons displaying beautifully, often self-designed and sewn Victorian and Roaring 20s style garb, made to perfection and paired with flight goggles and other signature transport gig from the appropriate time periods.

The culture itself and related activities such as LARPS (Live Action Role Playing Games) are ever evolving in plot lines and cosplay designs, and other details which are maintained meticulously and with love. Where one once might only glimpse one version of Spiderman represented in a convention goers costume, they will now likely see at least one original and one black Spiderman costume among the crowd if not more. There are countless other examples, all valid, of different versions of comic and graphic novel heroes based upon the individual’s personal preference. Of course, “old school” anything is always received with much enthusiasm.

Within the folds, the fan based groups both inside and outside of “Cons” as the wonderfully eclectic geek and fandom conventions are called among their loyal patrons as well as outside, in spots designed expressly for whatever one’s geek cup of tea may be such as D4 Table Gaming Cafe and Bad Wolf Bar and Grill, as well as at friends’ houses for everything from table gaming, to LARP, or congregate as a fantasy Star Trek fleet. This is one of the more passionate alternate scenes which are currently active, a world in which people of like minds and interest can congregate to act out fantasies based on their favorite cult and other following(s).

Contraflow (New Orleans), Coast Con (Biloxi), and my all time favorite, Mobicon (Mobile), not to mention the upcoming New Orleans Wizard World Comic Con event at The New Orleans Convention center. This is where the big names of fandom, past, and present can be found for photo opportunities, and autographs. This does not mean that the other aforementioned Cons are not worth checking out. This is where the full-time fans all sorts and ages reunite a few times a year to game both on tables and in a LARP setting as well as take advantage of access to a weekend full of fascinating, informative panels by various professionals in the field of Fandom oriented literature, film, and much more. Along with countless ways to spend one’s couple of days at these diverse functions, at night live music is played in the auditoriums and costume contests (some of the best-costuming anyone could ever see) ensue. All sorts of people of all ages and walks of life can find plenty of fun to be had at Con, with their family, friends, a significant other, and even by themselves, knowing that upon arrival, they will be around friends and probably make some more before convention’s end.

I am incredibly grateful to have taken part in fandom already, and hope to have more fan fun with the wonderfully eccentric, kind, and welcoming people, as well as the activities and events which comprise fandom. I eagerly look forward to my next fandom related excursion, be it in Mobile, Georgia, or a 20-minute ride away! The cosplay skills I developed have at times created costumes so good that mainstream costuming affairs sometimes do not think I’m in costume until I point out who I am dressed as. Then my challenger turns into someone gushing over the details. The result is the same, but within fandom, my getup would be recognized at a glance.

For example, the costume my fiance and I put together for one Mom’s Halloween Ball depicting Joseph Gordon Levitt’s character, Johnny and an Old Town girl from Sin City, A Dame To Die For, at a fandom Function, people would know the name of the characters, this particular Sin City movie’s full aforementioned title, and would have caught every detail and known its exact relevance. Either way, fandom is as great a time for all as Krewe-related activities already discovered by the New Orleans populous.

So take a tip from someone who loves the same events, bands, and clubs as you do already and check out another awesome option for what to do in your free time. You will not regret it!

Margaret Marley is a regular contributing author for Big Easy Magazine. Be sure to check out her interview with Duke Stewart, as well as her other artist profiles and articles here.

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