What is The Conmunity? The Conmunity is You.
The Conmunity exists to connect every type of geek and the endless variety of components born out of the Comic-Con culture. We strive to inspire others (and ourselves) by sharing our creative passions beyond the halls of the common convention center. Whether you’re part of many fandoms, an artist, a cosplayer, or the common uncommon creative type, The Conmunity works to build a common thread between all who attend cons, big and small, and use that connection to do great things at those shows and throughout the non-con world, among people who assume we’re just weirdos with nothing better to do than collect, consume, and stand in an awful lot of lines.
Believe it or not, going to Comic-Cons isn’t just about consuming endless stacks of pop culture dreck. Yes, it’s grown in ways we could have never imagined decades ago, going far beyond it’s original programming like a Skynet AI. At the heart of the Comic-Con culture (even before we had a name for it or realized it was a thing) is a sense of community. And, obviously, that community is made up of highly passionate and creative people. People with imaginations and an openness to new ideas and a variety of weirdness that most average people can’t even come close to comprehending.
And while that community is perceived as having been diluted by new “fans” chasing the latest cultural trend, it doesn’t change the fact that the geeks exist and the Comic-Con and convention scene is their homeland, populated by their people, no matter where that event is taking place for only one weekend a year. Where once a Comic-Con was a rare and somewhat tepid affair, attended only by those old enough to hold way too tightly onto nostalgia, they are now commonplace, hosting thousands of every age, race, sex, and nationality (not all of them geeks). As some of the more ubiquitous show exhibitors could tell you, one could hop from one convention to another continuously almost every week of the year without a break. And if you were quick enough, with a lot of flight miles banked, you could hit more than one in the same weekend. The beauty of the well-organized Comic-Con is that while they each have their own personalities, they also feel wonderfully/disconcertingly the same. There’s a certain comfort in knowing what (and who) to expect at any given show. Some may argue that such a thing doesn’t really exist… That this is a romanticized version of a corporate marketing plan. To them I can only say I’m sorry. This is no place for cynicism. This is no place to exclude people. Keep your eye rolls to yourself.
There has been some contention as to what a “true geek” really is, as if the definition will somehow make us more special than someone else, who just might be faking it for whatever reason. I have a rather lengthy opinion on that topic, but what I’ve discovered, in brief, is that “true” geeks aren’t just passionate consumers, but they are also passionate creators, even in the smallest ways. The reasons for their creativity may vary greatly, but it comes down to turning whatever inspires you into something else that could inspire passion in others, even if you don’t make money or receive great acclaim. It’s about the shameless joy of the experience and how you share that joy with others. This line of thought has gotten somewhat hippy dippy real fast, but it’s true. The existence of the con culture is proof of it. The people who created the first cons didn’t tell people to dress up in costumes. They didn’t tell people to stand in line overnight outside the convention center in hopes of grabbing a rare collectible toy or getting an autograph from a beloved C list celebrity from the 70s. Everything that conventions do these days was carved out of the passions and whims of those who attended the shows, most of whom had no idea they were creating trends that would make everyone from t-shirt vendors to Hollywood movie studios to entire metropolitan cities change the way they do business.
But, honestly, none of that type of influence really matters. The Comic-Con Community (or Conmunity) is something that exists in and of itself, far beyond the halls of any convention center or marketing plan. Friendships and creative partnerships established in San Diego or Atlanta or Chicago live on in other parts of the world, brought together through the internet and its many, many channels of communication. The cons may have been the birthplace of many a talented cosplayer or the denizens of artist alleys far and wide, but if they ceased to exist tomorrow, we wouldn’t. Regardless of the size or official status of the gathering, we would continue to interact in ways that we always have, either through the internet or in person.
The Conmunity is a place that hopes to bring the Comic-Con and geek event experience home and to destroy the assumption that when the convention center closes that it’s all over for another year (or at least a week until the next con, one city over). There’s a million other sites out there that put the focus on the things we love and they do it wonderfully. Yes, we’ll be doing that too, but it’s not the core of our content. As the Conmunity grows, it is our intent that we create the Comic-Con experience online, focusing on the geeks and creative folks that spend money on those tickets to stand in line for 8 hours a day or buy a table to sketch pictures for free, in hopes of sharing their love of art with the world. We want to feature the cosplayers that spend months hand crafting their costumes just to get their picture taken a few thousand times a day, whether they do it for a living or just for fun. Not everyone gets to travel the country or even the world to experience the cons as some do. We want to help that artist who can’t seem to escape eastern Texas get some visibility in parts of the world that they could never afford to visit, much less rent a table in artist alley. Our job is to connect and inspire the creative talents of geeks everywhere who have a passion to create and inspire even when no one is looking. And, ultimately, we want to make it clear that you don’t have to go to San Diego in order to get noticed professionally or enjoy the con atmosphere. Not every con has to be the size of a Southern California city. We actually love San Diego Comic-Con, as it shows the potential for our culture to grow and be influential in ways that can shake the world. But we also love all the little cons crammed into the community center banquet hall on a Sunday afternoon.
We want to show people that, big or small, a Comic-Con and the people who host it and attend it can be a positive influence on everyone that it touches, through charity, through creative inspiration, at an individual level and, quite possibly, the world. The Conmunity exists to achieve these goals by working together, using whatever talents and skills those involved can muster.
Are you a geek? What is your shameless passion? How do you express it? Bring it into the Conmunity. Watch this space. We’re going to make something amazing.