A Nerd Niche: A Review of Lexington’s 2013 Comic and Toy Convention (REVIEW)
Having lived in Portland, Oregon since I was old enough to know what comic books were, embracing the weird, the random, and the nerdy is practically in my blood. Batman walking down the street, beer in hand, unshaven hippies declining free bags of Sun Chips because they’re not vegan-friendly, a man in full pirate regalia waiting in line for a bacon maple bar donut. These are all my norm. How strange is it then, that I should not attend my first comic-con convention until my very recent relocation to the land of bluegrass itself, Lexington, Kentucky.
Held annually at the Lexington Convention Center, I never quite knew nerd until I came here. An exquisitely executed psychobilly Frankenstein’s monster (and bride) here, a scintillating Poison Ivy, even an unusually hefty-looking Bane—undoubtedly the cosplayer’s take on a totally friend-zoned-by-Talia Al Ghoul, à la Dark Knight Rises (“Maybe I can eat the pain away, Batman?”). Nerdgasm-worthy celebrities lined the back and side walls of the room, including Peter Mayhew, Billy Dee Williams, the blue, pink, green, yellow and blue and TURBO blue rangers, Power Ranger villains Dr Skull & Bulk, Margot Kidder and Cindy Morgan, just to name a few. Yes sir, this year’s Comic con was chock full of wonderful little surprises around every corner. Delicately drawn, powerful sketches and exquisitely executed steam punk jewelry decorated the corner of nearly every block—there so many unique and refreshing takes on such classic ideas, I made a full two rounds at every station before I picked out what I wanted but couldn’t afford.
The toy selection was also superb. Power Rangers and DC/Marvel tended to mostly dominate the shelves, but I’d have to give the Rancor figurine with a machine gun arm first place for originality. Also, while many toy collectors and artists tend to only sell their higher-end merchandise (often leaving many of our next generation of nerds on the outside drooling in), I was pleased to see both artwork and figurines that could accommodate nearly every price range, welcoming all ages and interests.
Rarely thought of as hub of nerd activity, Lexington succeeded in luring out nerds within a 70 mile radius of the convention center. It was truly an event worth venturing into the winter sunlight and braving the risk of human contact. The Lexington Comic and Toy Convention has earned itself a title as one of the citys’ must-see annual attractions. Well played, Kentucky, well played.
By Tiffany Palumbo