So as I’ve been patrolling the Comic Con, I happened to overhear a scene that really made me kind of sad. I saw a father, maybe in his late 30s, and his son walking into the Con.
…And the kid didn’t want to go in.
To make matters worse, the dad — wearing a Spider-Man button-down shirt — started really browbeating the kid, snatching away his Game Boy, telling him to pay attention. “Stop that! You need to follow me, we’re going to be late for the panel!”
For me, it was just really jarring. It’s not to say that I didn’t get my own share of discipline when I was with my folks (hi, Mom!), but what really got me was that the New York Comic Con — an event that is as exhilirating as it is exhausting — was a chore for this kid. It was endurance, not fun.
If you haven’t gone to a Con, believe me, it can be pretty overwhelming. I can only imagine what that feeling would be like if you’re three feet tall. And while the Con can have the best parts of comicdom — low-cost comics, people in costumes, previews of the Next Big Thing — it’s just a shame that this particular scene took place.
What makes it worse is I think I know the culprit: the dad’s own enthusiasm for the show. He wanted to see a panel, and was so wrapped up in his zeal that he didn’t give his kid a chance to get up to speed. Being a fan for as long as I’ve been, I can’t even remember not loving comics. (I indoctrinated my family from a very early age.) But I think sometimes people lose sight of that, whether it be kids or spouses, and rob a potential fan from falling in love with a great medium.
It’s always been my philosophy that everyone has a favorite comic — they just don’t know what it is yet. But if you taint the biggest comics event with haste and hostility, why would that next generation even give it a shot?