San Diego Comic Con: More Than Just Comics

It should come as no surprise to any regular readers that San Diego Comic-Con (aka – SDCC, Nerd Prom, Nerdvana, The Biggest Geek Orgy of the Year, etc…) is a massive inspiration.

Both for this site, and to me personally.

Well the 2015 convention has come to a close, and once again my Cup ‘o Inspiration overfloweth!

Every year seems to have a theme to me.

And as I sit here, typing this at 30,000 feet on my way home, I can’t help but think that this year was all about Community.

Confession – I didn’t do much in the way of preparation for this year.

Of course I looked over the schedule and selected a few “must attend” panels, and filmed a PSA YouTube video, but other than that I had promised myself to not be stressed, to not rush around, and to just let things happen “organically” (I apologize, I work in corporate America and sometimes the buzzwords just come out. I kinda hate myself right now.)

Rather, this was going to be the year of just enjoying SDCC as a vacation.

And enjoy it I did!

Mostly because it consisted of me hanging out with friends from all over the world, meeting tons of fascinating new people, and having amazing once in a lifetime nerd experiences.

And while all of that is awesome, here is what made it the year of Community!

San Diego Comic Con Is About More Than Comics - Geek Legacy - The Jerd

This year, the convention could not have started on a more auspicious note.

Usually getting checked into the hotel, getting badges, etc… is a mad rush. A giant nerd herd, shambling along praying that there is nothing wrong with their reservations/registrations.

But not this year!

Not only was it quick and painless, but within 10 minutes of stepping into the convention center on Wednesday afternoon not only did I have my badge, but I also ran into not one… but two SDCC acquaintances!

So reconnecting with people who I hadn’t seen in a year right off the bat (Leonard Sultana of www.englishmaninsandiego.com & Tony Kim of www.crazy4comiccon.com) really set the tone for me.

A tone that continued through the convention…

I can’t count the number of times I literally bumped into people I knew from Facebook, Twitter, this website, previous SDCCs, etc… and not just once, but often times repeatedly!

While that might not seem like a big deal; randomly seeing (and recognizing) people you know, at a 150,000 attendee convention that spans miles of the San Diego bayfront, is kind of miraculous!

San Diego Comic Con Is About More Than Comics - Game of Bloggers - The Jerd

Between that, meeting so many fun and wonderfully creative people at the #GameOfBloggers party, and then kicking of the convention proper with the Wrath of Con Bloggers panel (feat. Leonard Sultana, Tony Kim, Alyssa Franks and Megan Gotch), I spent a lot of time thinking about the concept of “tribes”.

Tribe: A term for a community of people who share a common interest, usually affiliated with each other through social media or other internet mechanisms. 

Being a nerd (specifically one who attends SDCC) already kind of places you in a tribe BUT it finally became clear to me how important it is that SDCC provides a space for much more focused granualization.

Being able to find “your people” is such an important thing!

Yes, the Internet allows you to find people with similar interests and likes, but truly finding your place, your home, your people, means having a safe space to actually experience the camaraderie.

To meet these people in person. To see the passion in their eyes. To hear the excitement in their voices!

That is one of the things that makes SDCC so magical!

San Diego Comic Con Is About More Than Comics - Tribes - he JerdWhile there are a lot of places I might happily belong, I find myself identifying with two distinct tribes:

  • The SDCC Blogger community
  • The Geek & Sundry community

While I only write articles about San Diego Comic-Con occasionally, the fact of the matter is that this website was created due to SDCC.

And every year, when I meet others who participate in this corner of the Internet, the response to my message here is overwhelmingly positive! They tend to be warm, inviting people, eager to assist and collaborate without any thought for what it might net them in the process.

And I am happy to be a part of their world.

The other tribe I feel very strong ties to is Geek & Sundry.

To use a really $#@% analogy; were I the Incredible Hulk, and not the Mighty Jerd, then while San Diego Comic Con would be the experiment-gone-wrong that gifted me my powers, Geek & Sundry would be the massive dose of Gamma radiation behind it all.

Man that was horrible, but I hope you get the point!

I joined their online community shortly after its inception, due to my undying love for all things The Guild, and have been a staunch supporter ever since. The amount of creativity and support that can be found there is unparalleled. Never, in all my years as a nerd, have I seen anyone manage to foster a community like that; especially one with basically zero negativity.

That’s right, no negativity! Take that Internet!

And being able to meet many of these fine, upstanding people in person in San Diego (and enjoy all the convention had to offer with them) was pretty darned delightful.

So why is this so important to me?

I want to admit something here, to all of you awesome readers.

Up until a few years ago I suffered from a severe case of “nerd shame“.

There is no doubt that my entire life I have been a huge geek (yes, I use the words interchangeably… get over it!) but it was only until I felt accepted by the Geek & Sundry community, that I felt comfortable enough in my own skin to let my nerd flag fly.

I am sure that comes as a shock to some of you, as I definitely present a pretty confident air here on this site, but it took me a very long time to get to this point.

And that’s why we are talking about it!

I know it’s less likely these days for people to need to develop a social shield, and hide all signs of nerd-dom away from prying and judgmental eyes, what with all the nerd-culture acceptance that goes on these days… but for those of us shamed our entire lives for enjoying things like comic books/science fiction/fantasy/computers/etc… I want to steal a tagline from another important campaign.

It gets better.

It is that very reason why conventions like San Diego are so important!

This is why it is important to get out there, meet new people, and find your tribes.

Once you realize you aren’t alone, things like self-doubt and shame will start melting away.

Life all of a sudden becomes more enjoyable, and maybe things that previously felt impossible will seem achievable. (Oh yeah, if you think this doesn’t apply to fitness as well, you need to spend more time reading this site!)

Here’s a personal example for you – I have never been able to dance.

Not that I physically can’t.

I played the drums growing up, I have pretty solid rhythm and whatnot, but I literally can’t because my asshole brain won’t let me.

Try to convince me to head out on the dance floor? The flop sweat appears.

Pull me out onto the dance floor? Full on panic attack.

No clue why. At no point did a dancing clown give me the bad touch or anything, I just have this overwhelming (and totally unfounded) fear of being judged in that space.

But let me near the dance floor at a SDDC party, especially a Geek & Sundry one? Surrounded by all my closest nerd friends?

I turn into a veritable party elemental!

Oh yes @geekandsundry knows how to throw a party! @gilthevlogsmith #SDCC #AlchoholIsDangerous

A video posted by Jeff Mueller (@themightyjerd) on

Why?

Because in that space I can let me guard down and truly be me… No pretenses. No fears. No worries!

And it is experiences, and realizations, like that that recharge my creative batteries.

When I am reminded that I can 100% be me, and that my interests/perspectives/views are valid and respected it reinvigorates my desire to give back to that community.

And when I want to give back to the community it means I write more sweet content for all of you!

The Mighty Jerd chilling in a LEGO Shire at SDCC 2013

The Mighty Jerd chilling in a LEGO Shire at SDCC 2013

So yes, San Diego Comic Con is essentially a massive Disneyland filled with comic books, toys, free swag, cosplayers and celebrities galore…

And while that is totally awesome (remind me to tell you about the time I worked out with Arrow’s Stephen Amell in the hotel gym #fanboymoment) I urge you to look past the spectacle and get to the heart of what SDCC really is.

A place to find your community, and to proudly take your place in it.

So what community do you identify with? What does San Diego Comic-Con mean to you?

Let me know in the comments below!

PS: If you want help becoming a real-life superhero, then make sure to get your copy of “The Heroes’ Transformation Guide and support the site. Don’t wait!

PPS: Also, be sure to get your free e-book, “The 7 Fitness Obstacles Newbies Face” by subscribing to our mailing list… (no spam, I promise!)

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