After returning to Indy PopCon for only the second time in four years, I easily remembered why I enjoyed myself so much the first time.
It’s easy to get excited about all the flash and appeal of huge conventions like San Diego Comic-Con, New York Comic Con, and C2E2 in Chicago. Meeting your favorite stars from popular films and TV shows is definitely high on the fun scale, and everyone should attend one of those at some point in their lives, but when it comes to giving conventions a try, you definitely shouldn’t count out local, or semi-local, cons.
My first convention experience was San Diego Comic-Con, and to say I was a little intimidated is the definition of an understatement. Those who have seen our coverage over the last few years knows that Hypable is lucky enough to get in on press opportunities as well as attending all the fun fan panels and such.
My first year consisted of me planting my ass in a pretty decent seat in Ballroom 20 and basically trading my time between there and the show floor. I didn’t volunteer for press duties, and I didn’t get anywhere near Hall H. It was just too much for me to handle. I wish I’d had more experience with conventions because I definitely could have done more.
The following year brought me the opportunity to attend Indy PopCon, and the atmosphere I found there opened my eyes to exactly what you miss out on when you start big. From the local artists with booths full of unique, interesting art, to the chance to slow down and appreciate the absolutely incredible cosplay all around you, and so many things in between, there is so much that smaller conventions have to offer. Not to mention time to just hang with your friends, rather than running from free swag opportunity to signings and back again.
More than even the actual events, celebrities, and art, Indy PopCon serves up a sense of community that welcomes everyone with open arms. Everyone there, be they staff, vendor, or guest, is happy to help as best they can, whether it’s steering you to the perfect vendor, pointing the way to the yummy food trucks, or explaining the what, when, or where of the next cool thing going on.
Just this year alone, I was lucky enough to catch Spider-Man: Homecoming on opening night with a few of my favorite ladies on the planet, listen to an awesome band called Five Year Mission who sing awesome songs about Star Trek: The Original Series while enjoying a delightful warm, Indianapolis evening, and met the generous, friendly hosts of the Established Facts podcast, who we were lucky to have as our booth neighbors the entire weekend. We played board games and shared fandom stories with new friends.
It’s easy to settle in and feel comfortable at Indy PopCon, and that’s what I hope you can find at a local convention near you. They have many of the bells and whistles that the corporate ones do, but you will undoubtedly have an even more incredible time meeting fandom people in your own neck of the woods, which is even better.
However you choose to start your convention experience, you should definitely head out and give it a try. Small conventions can be great for getting your feet wet, especially if you have plans to check out the larger version in the near future. Large conventions are full of opportunities that most of us don’t get in our daily lives, so they are not to be missed either.
And don’t forget to check out Indy PopCon if you are anywhere near the area, as it really is a group of people doing a labor of love for a thing they care so passionately about. We definitely love our Indiana home away from home.