I came across this article on the Daily Dot about crossing fandoms and parts of it really struck me. I’ve never been to a single fandom con. My experience with cons started in the 1980s, where just getting a con nearby for the weekend was heaven, and San Diego Comic Con was a family vacation trek that could be done in one day. And they were always multi-fandom cons. It seemed unheard of at the time that there would be enough people of one fandom to support a convention. Anime cons proved that. As I said, I’ve never been to a single fandom con, something I only regret when see the selection (or lack there of) of manga in the dealer’s room and no panels dealing with manga, but that has never turned out to be a problem in the end.
I really enjoy the variety that an “everything con” can offer. We used to go to SDCC every year. Even as it grew, and it went from a day trip to a weekend to an event, we still enjoyed both the dealer’s room and panels because there was always something for one or both of us to enjoy. That’s what’s great about an “everything” con, you can find something for everyone to enjoy. We can see panels on Elfquest, the Science of Science Fiction, the Mythbusters and Rifftrax guys, and even tabletop gaming. There is something for everyone making the effort and expense worth it.
One thing I couldn’t fathom was that fans would pass up a con just because it had dared to branch out:
One fan at Anime Boston told me she recently decided not to attend another anime con because she saw that it was hosting a Welcome to Night Vale panel.
Seriously? You’re going to pass up a con because some possible non-anime fans would be there? I find this attitude unbelievable. Convergence of fandom is everywhere. You can’t avoid it. Fans coming to a con are going to cosplay how they please regardless of the stated purpose of that con. And I just find it really hard to image that there are people who limit themselves so much to a single fandom that they can’t or won’t imagine interacting fans from another.
Fandom has become far too insular with their single fandom cons. Convergence is already happening, it’s really silly to try to fight it. Fans are going to do what they want regardless. The Homestuck fandom is a good example of this. They don’t need a “home base” con to enjoy themselves and meet up with other fans. There is an entire website just about finding meetups at cons. They don’t need rooms for panels or approval. Nice weather and a grassy area does them just fine. Though, I do think some panels for non-Homestuck fans wouldn’t be a bad idea. So many people think they know what it or what the fandom is about, when they really don’t get it.
I like the trend that has been fanning out from Dragon Con, the idea of having “tracks”. Having different types of programming that follow a specific fandom lets fans still get together with their fellow SuperWhoLocks, but they don’t have to do that exclusively. Different tracks also mean a wider appeal and possibly a bigger audience, and what con has ever objected to that?