A Cyborg Meets Storm Troopers and Nobody Dies (Phasers Were Set to Stun?)

This past weekend, my daughter and I attended our county library’s first annual Library Comic Con. How was it? In a nutshell, it was AWESOME.

First of all, Comic Cons have been out of our reach–it is not realistic for us to fly to San Diego (or wherever) and attend the mobbed though undoubtably memorable events. Heretofore, I would say our exposure to Comic Con has been reading about it in Entertainment Weekly magazine. We read about it, we don’t attend. Also my kids are just getting to the age where they would truly appreciate something like that. So this event came up, and as readers and writers and library-goers, we heard about this event and found that my daughter’s schedule was clear. The stars aligned.

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Cinder is a cyborg. See her arm made of tech?

We arrive. My daughter who is about to turn twelve is dressed up like Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer. She sees the crowd, including full-on costumed Star Wars characters. She turns to me, eyes wide, and declares, “I have found my people.” I’m not sure if she meant people who don’t mind dressing up in full cosplay, or just bookish people, or what, but she was extremely fired up.

The turnout for the first annual Library Comic Con was impressive (to be clear, not San Diego impressive, but the-first-local-library-organized-Comic-Con impressive). The featured speaker was Gene Luen Yang, author of Avatar, the Last Airbender Series among MANY other books. Everyone in attendance was thrilled about the turnout, and while I was not there for Yang’s talk myself, my daughter assured me that afterwards, the line was out the door and around the corner for the book signing. Awesome. I love when people come to book signings! Magical.

One of my favorite moments was meeting folks in Vader’s 501st Legion. While I think we can all agree that the Dark Side is mostly evil (so many ways to prove this), these guys and gals were actually not evil. In fact, they were do-gooders disguised as Stormtroopers. They posed happily for photos. They were engaging and interesting. Their program’s motto is “Bad Guys Doing Good.” They’re all volunteers. They collect toys, clothing, and food for charity. They donate funds to hospitals and organizations. They sponsor the Make a Wish Endowment fund, and they make visits to hospitals all the time. Who knew that Darth Vader would spawn this? Surely not Lord Vader himself.

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Cinder, wrench in hand, with a Sand Trooper and maybe…a TIE pilot?

My second favorite part of the Library Comic Con was the Nerd Jeopardy that we played later in the afternoon (followed by the Cosplay Contest). Nerd Jeopardy covered your typical book/nerd/scifi topics: Harry Potter, Star Wars, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Dr. Who, and included lots of other fun random nerd topics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Game of Thrones, Marvel and DC comic trivia, Agents of Shield, and a bunch of other trivia about topics I didn’t know. Kids and adults played on teams together and there was no guarantee if the kids or the adults would know the answers to the questions! Loved Nerd Jeopardy.

The Cosplay contest was a great way to end the day. I always love costumes. Like signs at the March for Science, the creative ways people express themselves never cease to delight and impress me. And my daughter didn’t even care that she didn’t win the contest–she had a blast dressing up, filling her bag with comic books, buying an actual book from authors at booths, and spending the day with “her people.”

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