The Niagara Falls Comic Con has come and gone for another year. An early June tradition for our family, this year I found myself unsure what to write that would be a fresh take on the theatrical and inspiring Comic Con weekend.
My knowledge remains largely a step behind, yet I am always comfortable among the devoted. All Comic Con participants and products, from a myriad of entertainment genres, are passionately shared during this zenith of veneration for all things pop culture. A great thrill for me is watching people of every shape, size and colour (including the primary and secondary ones) enjoying each other’s company, nerding out together, and celebrating the beauty of imagination.
Living in the insanity characteristic of the Shea-Smith homestead, our Comic Con plans did not pan out as we had hoped further disabling my hoped for PN review of the event. Enter Raine and Celina to the rescue!
Our oldest, Raine, accompanied by her very good friend Celina, took up the Smith-Shea banner and partook of this year’s NFCC. Celina, a first-time participant at this Pop-culture fan congress, gave the gift of this article with her genuinely contagious veracity for all things sci-fi, anime, video games, and comics. What better way to report than through the eyes of a first-timer, especially one who has been longing to attend a Comic Con for years.
Celina an amazing, intelligent and effervescent Korean exchange student, supplements her nascent English with palpable emotive expressions. When asked if she would like to attend this year’s event, well let’s say a Korean to English translation for ‘yes please!’ or ‘thrilled to!’ was not required.
Despite the colossal reputation of Korean cosplay, and the country’s webtoon comic culture, Korea’s first ComicCon was only held in 2017. Perhaps this Comic Con starved backdrop fueled the enthusiasm with which Celina accepted Raine’s invitation. Regardless, Celina imbued the enthusiasm of a child in anticipation of Santa as we drove to NFCC.
Listening to the two girls chatter excitedly in the back seat was rejuvenating. Celina had already given Raine a small gift as a sign of her appreciation for being invited. Celina adheres strictly to Korean customs, traditions, and rules of etiquette living in accordance with an age-based social hierarchy. The best way for me to solicit her opinion is by eavesdropping and observation.
A masterful costume designer in the making, Raine brought several of her creations from which they could choose. It was unthinkable that they would explore NFCC in their everyday clothing! The mere process of donning a costume and doing their make-up and hair already had Celina uncharacteristically verbose with me around.
Barely out of the car, the girls have already stopped to take pictures with two other participants in similar costumes. They return to me hours later, laden with buttons, comics, posters, and smiles. I am shown picture after picture of the two of them smiling from ear to ear, sharing a snapshot with heroes, little girls, and even robots. It is always stirring to see the plethora of people from every walk of life, enjoying life, together. Celina has said it is the best day of her life, somewhat like Heaven; something she never would have been able to experience back home in Korea despite wanting to for many years.
Immersing oneself in a vibrant, exhilarating community truly is a piece of heaven. The wildly awesome nature of the NFCC I had experienced a few years back is still alive and well.