Steven Smith On Keeping Comic-Cons For Kids

denver-comic-con-comic-book-classroom

By Steven Smith

Salutations friends. We just got back from Denver Comic Con and boy are my eyes dry. Damn Denver, is there any moisture or is just on those mountain thingys, wossname, look like big rocks? Whatever.

Denver Con was a rip roaring time. The Geek team did our geek thing, getting magnificent interviews, fun geek footage, and we learned some things. One, Felicia Day is the greatest (we knew that but she proved it again), J. August Richards couldn’t be more tight lipped about who he’s playing in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (not to say we didn’t try), and we all want to be best friends with Phil Lamarr (I mean, who doesn’t?)

There was a small but resounding piece of nerd sad news, it was announced Mr. Matt Smith would no longer be the Doctor on Doctor Who. Our beloved producer Alex took this particularly hard. You should tweet him your condolcences @azalben. Seriously, he was really bummed. MTV Geek is invested yo!

We’ve been to many cons, all of which have their positive points, but two things Denver excelled at were it’s awesome press area dubbed Daily Planet, comfy and smack dab in the middle of the action instead of some random coat check in the bowels of a convention center. And second, it was geared as a family affair. I loved this, not to mention all proceeds went to the marvelous charity Comic Book Classroom, an after school program devoted to promoting literacy. But it was the family atmosphere that endeared me to the con and something I feel other conventions, larger and smaller can learn from.

New York and San Diego Comic Cons usually devote the final days of their conventions to families. It’s really one of my favorite times. The Lego pit, which is usually empty, cannot be seen due to the throng of small persons excitedly rummaging through the bins. The Ugly Doll booth is overrun World War Z style by children and parents alike (bought mine on preview day, thank you very much). It’s a marvelous time, not that the other days aren’t but Denver really catered to children coming every day. The first thing you see upon entering is the Comic Book Corral where kids can learn to draw, animate, and be read to by, oh I don’t know William Tiberius Shatner? Truth.

Of course the flip side to this is comic book conventions are geared more towards adults. It’s a tad off putting to see a full on zombie pushing a stroller with his Captain America clad toddler walking in tow. Maybe it’s desensitizing, but it does make my stomach gurgle. Yes, we all know how I feel about zombies, and what you do with you child is up to you... But DAMN. Despite the fact Denver pushes family fare, they did have a special effects booth where you could get all zombified; and there were more than a few kids getting the bite treatment... I feel devoting one day as exclusively kids day is the best option.

Having said that, if it is kids day? Maybe don’t wear your giant cannibal axe wielding warrior costume complete with severed heads. You know it’s kids day, don’t be a d**k. Also, if your network is sponsoring the con, say AMC, maybe don’t have zombie heads all over the passes that day. Or at all. Children come everyday and who wants to see that? Yes, I’m focusing mostly on zombies, but they are what’s prevalent, so shut it.

Now I know comic books and sci-fi is grown-up stuff, nor do I want to change that, and kids can have their own conventions. Plus it’s up to the parents if they want to bring their broods – I get that, I really do. I hate the MPAA, PMRC and all forms of censorship (except censoring stupid people, I have a list as I’m sure you do – I may be on it.) but I think a couple of slight alterations could make cons way more enjoyable as more parents and grandparents are bringing the family.

1. A horror section. People love horror (I don’t) and your kids might... But wouldn’t it be nice to divide things a la theme parks? Yes, certain comic companies might have to split their giant booths up, OR they could have horror sections right in them. It’s an idea, not an answer.

2. Cosplay etiquette. Ladies, ladies, ladies: SERIOUSLY. I don’t want to sound the prude, but it’s a comic convention not Halloween. Now I’ve had many conversations with women about the mode of dress and yes, I know it’s supposed to be a form of empowerment; I get that, I don’t want you to feel like it’s prom and there are cleavage rules. BUT, think about this, the overwhelming argument from women about how they are drawn by comic book artists is they aren’t proportional, too sexualized, and all about the breasts. Just something to mine when you’re putting that Power Girl costume together. Also, dudes, no one wants to see your chest or your junk. NO ONE.

3. And this is strictly my opinion. Too many fake guns. Cut that s**t out. Denver especially, you’re so close to Aurora people, use your heads. Although, with the amount of pocket vapes I saw in Denver maybe they’re thinking of something else.

Now these are just my opinions, and you are more than welcome to refute them (please do, the gun one especially will spark debate; and like I said, it’s my opinion, lord knows I read more comics with gun toting characters so I understand how that sounds). And don’t get me wrong, I’m a super fan of comic cons... These are just observations of con etiquette I’ve made over the years attending. Agree, disagree, I’ll see you there! I’ll be the zombie with man boobs stuck together holding a plastic Tech-9.

You can watch Steven Smith every Sunday -- and right now! -- on the weekly MTV Geek series "Cooking With Thrones."

Watch: Felicia Day | Cooking With Thrones | Ep. 9

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