8 Times SDCC Restored My Faith In Fandom

BuzzFeed - Latest 2015-07-13


I went to my first San Diego Comic-Con and came back a new woman.


Hello friends. I have gathered you all here today to proudly announce that I am no longer a Comic-Con virgin. I went, I saw, I conquered, and now I stand before you a new woman. In my 26 years of fangirling, the only other time I've felt this kind of rush, this kind of deep camaraderie was the first time I stumbled upon fictionalley.org. And even that headlong dive into my first (and forever) fandom was checked quickly by insidious 'ship wars, the Big Name Fan/regular fan divide and the feeling of being lost in a crowd, a lurker looking in at a party that I was only tangentially part of.

Over the years my fandoms and my love for them grew, but so did my awareness of the ways they fucked up. Misogyny, racism, even just plain-old schoolyard bullying among fans now constantly temper the unbridled love I have for my favorite fandoms. And that's a great thing. That means for every fanboy who insists that stormtroopers can't be black, there's a hundred fangirls who are aware of the problems in their favorite works and are incredibly happy to see a world they love reflect the one that they actually live in. But it does make it hard sometimes to reach that place of deep unproblematic love that we all once had as young fangirls. That's how I felt anyway, until I went to SDCC.

Now I've been to Comic-Cons before, and I'm a member of the press, so I've definitely stuttered all over my words while meeting my favorite actors and gazed slackjawed as my favorite comic book artists did personalized sketches for me. I've waited in disgustingly long lines waiting for insanely packed panels and talked to random strangers just to marvel at their cosplays. I've drunkenly declared each and every Comic-Con party the best one ever, no really, I totally mean it this time. But by the time I go home and settle back into the internet, the rush of the weekend is gone and I'm back tagging my problematic faves with #SweetSummerChild.

But there was something just a little more magical about San Diego.

Because I have the audacity to be a woman of color who writes on the internet about things that men consider to be theirs, the internet for me often becomes a cesspool of comments ranging from the illiterate to the genuinely life-threatening. Often the one shining light amid all of that is a small band of internet friends. Other women, other writers, other fangirls whom I've never met in real life but who know me weirdly well anyway because we often find ourselves in the same dark corner. There's nothing else like the sweet, sweet bond that comes from being told that there's no place for us here, and that our love and our way of expressing that love for fandom is somehow less valid than everybody else's.

Meeting those women, those writers, in real life in San Diego was so incredibly validating. I finally matched soft-spoken voices and booming laughs to the sharp and cutting words they use on Twitter. I was gifted with their insightful thoughts and experience about how to get the most out of the minefield that is the press room. And most importantly we got to collectively side-eye and laugh at the shade that is occasionally thrown our way in press rooms by men who think the size and quantity of their camera equipment makes them better than everybody else in the room. There is nothing more satisfying than being part of a group of professionals who support each other and getting to experience it in more than 140 characters at a time was immensely rewarding. Thank you ladies, for forever keeping me from logging off permanently.

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Krutika Mallikarjuna

Date tagged:

07/13/2015, 15:01

Date published:

07/13/2015, 14:41