Just in case you don’t know what it is or haven’t heard, Pop-Con is a celebration of popular culture and fandom. It is an event made FOR all the fans and geeks among us. Want to find comic books, Manga or collectibles?
Want to dress up as Darth Vader or watch others Cosplay as their favorite movie, video game or Anime characters? Have you always wanted to meet a favorite television or movie star? Shake hands with a celebrity or view original comic and pop culture art? Then this is the place for you.
Pop-Con 2017 was, I believe, the 4th of these fun, quirky and geeky events.
My family has been to two Conventions this year at the Indianapolis Convention Center. I have never been to any other major cities Convention Center, so I can’t offer any comparison. However, I can tell you the Indianapolis Convention Center seems to be a first-class facility. Parking may be a bit expensive, but there is plenty of it. The bathrooms and halls are all spacious and clean. The food served, may not be the healthiest, but the portions and pricing seemed quite fair.
On our first trip to the Convention Center for Indianapolis Comic-Con, we were a bit overwhelmed. There were large crowds and a packed convention hall. The overall vibe was claustrophobia with a sense of Consumerism and Capitalism run wild. Don’t get me wrong, Comic-Con has many fun elements, it just seems a little more like work.
Pop-Con, by comparison, was a breath of fresh air. The crowds were not nearly as large, but even more importantly, the aisles seemed to be wider, with more room to walk and less focus on cramming the floors with vendors. The entire vibe is much more relaxed.
My wife was miserable at Comic-Con but had a good time at Pop-Con. Of course, that might have something to do with meeting Phil Lamarr. He was the voice of Wilt from Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. We watched that cartoon with our kids and all loved it. He also did the voice for Hermes Conrad on Futurama. I asked him if my wife could have a hug from Wilt and he kindly complied and said one of Wilts’ catch phrases; “I’m Sorry. Is that OK?”.
If next years’ event has the same feel as this years’, I would guess that they may have one of the best Pop Culture based Conventions in the country.
Each day there are various panels and events, many of which are free with paid admission. You can also pay to get autographs, custom voice recordings, selfies and professional photographs with your favorite celebrities in attendance. If you don’t mind waiting in line, you can even have a quick minute with one for free. Shake their hands; tell them how much you love their work in that show you love. You get to meet them, and you don’t have to pay. Heck, you may even run into one of your favorites just walking around the Convention floor. I met, spoke to and shook hands with Jess Harnell, the voice of Wakko Warner from Animaniacs, just that way.
Some of the celebrities in attendance may be millionaires. Many others make decent money for work they love. Then there are those who never made much money in showbiz at all.
Whatever the case, there is a lot of extra money that can be made by them for personal appearances, photos, and autographs. While they, like most people, like to make money, there is nothing wrong with telling someone you appreciate their efforts, even if you can’t afford a personalized photo.
Pop-Con is a large slice of American culture and fandom all at once.
It is mostly family friendly, but like any event with large crowds, there are some who cuss, some whose costumes may be a little risqué or too “grown up” for some peoples’ tastes. You may encounter people wearing T-Shirts that express opinions and beliefs, with which you disagree. There also may be a few girls dressed as male characters and guys dressed as female one. Some panels and events may have some adult language, but they also warn you if that is the case.
There is something for everyone and a good time can be had by all save the most joyless.
As a Christian, I am also interested in what brings us all together as people. I believe that the need for shared experience and fellowship of like-minded individuals transcends religion, political affiliation, gender and pretty much any other grouping that often separates us. I know you will find people of all faiths and none at Pop-Con, just as you might at almost any public event. It is a representative sample of what makes us great as a Nation. There are things we can all find agreement on, even if we can’t always agree. The shared cultural experiences of something like Star Wars shows there is a deep need among humans to share time and experiences. Some of us satisfy much of that through faith, religious worship, and expression, while others do not.
Just how important are shared cultural events to the satisfaction and stability of people?
Could such events, in some cases, be surrogates for faith and religion?
These and many more questions of Anthropological and Sociological significance could be asked and discussed but would be beyond the scope of this article.
To keep it simple, we all had fun and will go again.
There aren’t many experiences that can offer so many things to do and see in one place for such a fair price.
You can have a good time without breaking the bank. However, if you have poor impulse control or need to have proof of every celebrity you’ve met; it can get expensive very quickly.
Check out their site at www.indypopcon.com to see what you missed and decide if you might like to attend next year.
After attending two conventions in Indy this year, I have a few tips to make your trip much more fun.
1. Always pre-order your tickets to save money and guarantee your spot. Also, the 3-Day ticket not only saves you money but helps if your plans, or the schedules of your favorite participants, change at the last minute.
2. Don’t cheap out on the parking. You may save $15 by parking a half mile away, but after a long day of being on your feet and walking around, being in the garage across the street is priceless. Also, being right across the street can be a huge blessing if you plan on buying multiple items or find a large hardcover book or statue you want. You can run any purchases to your car and be back on the floor in around 10 minutes.
3. Bring a comfortable backpack or bag. I prefer one that stays attached, so you can’t accidentally leave it. It should be large enough to carry a few things and free your hands, but you do not want it to be too bulky or heavy as that will slow you down.
4. Bring a water bottle, no bigger than 1L with either a sports cap or a refillable bottle that you can clip-on. This way, it helps keep the weight down, and you can always refill them. Staying hydrated is very important.
5. You can bring some light snacks with you if you like. Making sure you keep your energy up is key. Things like Rice Krispy treats and Beef Jerky are good options. It’s about balancing the weight you’re carrying with your happiness and well-being throughout the day.
6. Try the Pot Roast!
Convention foods are not known for being healthy and are known for being costly. However, we found the portion sizes to be adequate for the prices charged. Not having to leave to grab a bite to eat saves time and helps make the most of the day. Seriously, unless you’re a Vegan or something, try the pot roast sandwich. It was much better than I expected and a fair value at $7 with chips and a pickle. The sandwich was piled high on a roll and only had a bit of fat.
Take a look at some of the best Cosplayers we saw on Saturday and Sunday too.
All pics were taken with the LG G5, next year I will bring my DSLR.