by Brie Cheesman and Evan Myers | staff writers
From 1PM to 8PM on Saturday, January 31st, crowds of comic book fans gathered in the PMU North Ballroom for Purdue’s first ComicCon, hosted by the Purdue Student Union Board. Immediately upon entering, those attending the event saw a giant TARDIS, built by the Society of Gallifreyan Scholars for their Relay 4 Life. “We wanted to make an impression,” said President Holly Fitzpatrick, and that seemed to be the theme for the whole event.
The PSUB had a surprisingly full roster of events for such a small convention: not only was there a cosplay contest, a dance performance by the costumed women of PACGA, and a talk by comic book writer Dirk Manning, but also a talk with Mike Reiss, best known as the writer and producer of The Simpsons. There was a festival feeling thick in the air, and enough vendors, free food tables, and costumed fans chattering away in their specific jargons to draw anyone with a bit of curiosity to stay a while. Some, like Jade and other members of the Purdue Animation, Comic & Game Association, were ComicCon veterans. When asked how they had heard about it and what made them set up a booth, Jade responded, “Because we are PACGA! And I like this atmosphere…it’s small but it looks like a real ComicCon because it has performances, costumes, tables, and everyone’s happy.”
‘Everyone’s happy’ may seem like an exaggeration to those unfamiliar with this kind of event, but the atmosphere at the convention is often overwhelmingly friendly; many of the people who attend social events such as these are merely excited to interact with people who share their love for movie, comic book, and television fandoms. “I tend to like people here,” said James Orr, who was cosplaying as Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, towel in hand. It is difficult to walk three steps without running into a smiling person, and even harder not to make friends by the end of the day.
The easiest way to make friends at ComicCon, of course, is to cosplay. Saturday’s Cosplay Contest was one of the highlights of the day, and all the contenders assembled impressive costumes. The judges had a tough job, but they chose two winners: in the group category, James and Corbin Stanchfield, a father-son Ghostbusters duo. When little Corbin was asked what his favorite costume at the Con was, he said, “Starlord, and my dad’s, his is really cool.”
In the individual category, they chose Ryan Brown, who gave a rousing (and hilarious) recruitment speech as a part of his Cobra trooper cosplay. When the judges announced the Stanchfields as the overall winners, Ryan knelt and gave Corbin a package. “It was his own little G.I. Joe Cobra trooper,” he explained. “I joined a charitable cosplay group called the Finest G.I. Joe, and we do things like go to hospitals, make kids with cancer smile, that kind of thing. We do blood drives, coat drives, and food drives. The kids are the best part about it.”
Purdue’s first ComicCon was small, local, and short, but it had what all good Cons have: people who love content, the creators who make that content, a friendly atmosphere, and at least two guys dressed like Sailor Moon.