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The Rise of the Con


Posted February 28, 2014 by

Khan: I’ve done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I’ve hurt you. And I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her; marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet… buried alive! Buried alive…!




That moment in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn is literally the most heartbreaking instant in all of Hollywood history for nerds. But fear not, my fellow geeks, for a new obsession has emerged.  (And yes, we know that the picture above is of Benedict Cumberbatch who played the J.J. Abrams universe Kahn in Star Trek: Into Darkness and not a picture of Ricardo Montalban who was Kahn in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, but really, who would you rather have a picture of?)

Put down your old, worn-out Star Trek Limited Edition Replica Gift DVDs that your mother did not buy you for Christmas. It’s our little secret, I promise. Actually, you probably should be embracing the fact that you’re a little geeky. GASP. I said it. Embrace the geek and realize that Khan is not the enemy.

The Con, not Khan

Sorry, I got a little ahead of myself there. Khan is definitely the enemy, but a con is not. This is where we’ll discuss the rapid rise of the convention. Try to remember back in the day… when it wasn’t cool to be geeky or show any signs of intelligence. Now I’m starting to sound like my grandparents.

“Back in my day we had to walk 15 miles to school and a candy bar was only a nickel…” says Grandpa Bill.

“Yes, grandpa,” the grandkids groan. “We’ve only heard this story 30 million times.”

Anyways, I’m being serious. Being a geek was not something that people thought was attractive. When did nerd and geek and attractive ever have anything in common? They do now though. Thanks particularly to the comic book and entertainment conventions.

The first Comic-Con was held in San Diego in 1970, known as the San Diego Comic-Con International. Many other big cities didn’t follow suit until at least 2000 and some waited until 2012, just two years ago, before holding their own con.

I remember strolling through the massive amounts of comic books piled high at my first convention with my dad. It was like we had found an earthly heaven as our eyes gleamed, thumbing through the plastic-wrapped comics. As we were eating dinner that first night I remember him saying, “I wish they had these when you were younger.”

Interestingly, that made me think about things thoroughly. He wasn’t thinking about how having the popularity of cons during his time would benefit him. He was thinking about how taking me to cons at a young age would have helped me realize that it was okay to be a little different and to embrace wearing costumes and dreaming of being a super hero.

I didn’t embrace my own geeky qualities until college. High school and junior high were a blur of me attempting to be something that I wasn’t; it wasn’t until college that I finally figured out the problem. I worried so much about what everyone else thought when I was younger. There was pressure to wear a cheerleader outfit, but I just wanted to be Princess Leia every day. There was pressure to wear pink, but I liked orange and black. I was weird, but really so was everyone else around me.con

I think the instant success of the comic book and entertainment conventions is due to the fans. We’re not forced to hide in our mother’s basements or in our rooms full of Star Wars posters dreaming idly of a galaxy far, far away.

We can slowly crawl out of the darkness once or twice a year and mingle with others of our species to talk and discuss geeky topics at these mass gatherings. Comic and entertainment conventions are successful because they don’t cater to one specific type of person. They are made for all types of geeks and, trust me, there are so many various forms. It’s like Pokémon quadrupled itself and created a new species.

Next time you’re feeling a little bit like an outsider, consider that you may just need to visit a con nearby to feel like you belong.

Also, if you’re new to the convention world there’s one rule: bring extra cash. You’re going to need it.


If you’re located in the Midwest, take a look at TNB’s list of upcoming anime conventions. For a list of worldwide anime conventions, check out and for a list of comic conventions in the US and Canada, check out Convention Scene. Keep an eye out for our upcoming article about this year’s anime conventions in the Midwest!

Jen Weddle




    I wish I had started going to cons earlier than I did. My first con was Ohayocon 2012. Now I’m about to present my first panels, but I could have been doing this stuff so much earlier if I had started going to cons in high school!

    Nathan Gifford

    I remember going to some of the local conventions for comics and toys growing up in Dallas. I didn’t go to any for a few years and then when I did again, it was as much a chance to put on a costume as it was the comics or toys. The smaller ones have been around for a long time. There is a convention here in Ohio that is celebrating it’s 50th year this year.

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