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Comics and Cons

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending my first comic convention (Steel City Con). This one also happens to be a toy convention. For those who don’t know, a con typically features comic books, memorabilia, celebrity guests and lots of people in costume. I looked forward to it with nerdy excitement for the whole week leading up to it, imagining the variety of fun merchandise and cosplay I would see.

When we arrived, several people dressed as stormtroopers greeted us at the door. Inside, we saw lots more costumes, including Raven from Teen Titans, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Superman, as well as some I couldn’t identify (evidently my nerd card needs a few more punches). A few of the costumes looked uncomfortable to wear, but those are the lengths people will go to for this hobby. Cosplayers take it seriously, often spending months perfecting their look, not to mention investing in materials and paint.

In case you’re wondering, I did not dress up, but I did wear my Hill Valley, California t-shirt. (Get it? I’ll explain it at the end of the post).

So, what’s it like inside a con? Imagine aisles of booths offering old toys, games, DVDs, comics and more. As you walk around, you may find yourself leaning over a display table beside people wearing masks and capes. One vendor had a bunch of cardboard standup figures for sale, from Bilbo Baggins and Catwoman to Hillary Clinton (this last one seemed out of place). Another booth had old Nintendo games. Others offered hand-made art, food and jewelry. I had a lot of trouble resisting the call of the fudge table. I’m not sure about the legitimacy of some of the merchandise, but I now own a Legend of Zelda triforce necklace, a Los Pollos Hermanos fridge magnet and a Portal wall sign.


Seeing the collectible toys is a fun experience on its own. You can take a trip down memory lane, look for that one action figure you’ve always wanted, or lament that the toys you got rid of years ago are now worth $100 or more (just remember, everyone else gave them away, too, or else they wouldn’t be special). If you’re into LEGO, you’ll find all the minifigures you could want or imagine. But it’s nice to just browse and have fun, too, even if you aren’t in the market for anything in particular. That’s the approach I took.

From time to time throughout the day, someone would announce over the PA system that a certain celebrity was available for signings. They were all stationed in the back room, behind a curtain wall. Truthfully, there was nobody there I felt that enthusiastic about, so I didn’t bother . The next Steel City Con will feature Christopher Lloyd, and I think I might wait in line for a signature from him.

So, did you guess what my shirt was referencing? There was a clue in the last paragraph above. Hill Valley, CA is the fictional town from the Back to the Future movies.

If you think you might like to check out a con, you may want to brush up on your comics first. Luckily, the library has you covered. In fact, you can access many titles electronically through Hoopla. You can even do it from home just by logging in with your library card.

Get a Punch in Your Nerd Card

Read comics on Hoopla now!

Megan is a Children’s Library Assistant at CLP – East Liberty. When she isn’t reading fantasy, magical realism and/or pretty much any children’s book, she enjoys gaming, watching movies and writing fiction, some of which has been published.

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