Hey everybody! Cain here reporting back from the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention (http://memphiscfc.com/), held at the Hilton Memphis in – you guessed it — Memphis, Tennessee. The three-day convention takes place each November, with 2015 being the fifth year. I took to the floor as your friendly neighborhood photographer, Peter Parker (for my fellow last-second cosplayers, a Spider-Man costume tee under a button up with drug store reading glasses I popped the lenses out of) and grabbed some photos of some great cosplayers. Check them out below! I had a great time at MCFC and the experience really spoke to me on a level I wasn’t really expecting.
When I’ve attended conventions in the past, I felt like an outsider peering in through a looking glass. I’d wander the stalls, I’d attend a panel, I’d chat up a vendor for a few minutes, but it was always in a very reserved, very distant way. I would be a participant physically, but I had never committed to the con. I would be there for the comics, not the convention itself. I refused to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.
Perhaps what drew me to Memphis Comics and Fantasy Convention was a desire to relive the old feeling of child-like excitement, something I think I’ve lost during adolescence. A growing cynicism replaced what had once been glee. Even in our entertainment it seems that everything must be cynical, everything must deconstruct, everything must have layers of irony and meta-textuality. My interests shifted from the characters and the stories being told to the brands and the personalities behind the books. I moved away from enjoying the comics to pining for what-could-be. I was always looking for the next big thing to be excited about, always hoping that it would be the shake-up I was looking for. But it never was.
I first found Spider-Man from a friend’s copy of the Essentials line of Amazing Spider-Man, I was immediately hooked. A year later I got a job at Books-A-Million and with my first paycheck purchased three hardcovers: Spider-Man: Reign, Marvel Zombies, and Marvel 1602. Reign still stands as one of my favorite stories and to this day I will defend it as a love-letter from Kaare Andrews to Frank Miller and Spider-Man fans alike. Maybe that’s because it was my first, but I remember sitting in English class unable to think about anything but that story – how cool the visuals were, the tone of it all, and the over-all message of the story. It’s never too late to do some good – to do what’s right. That you’re never too damaged, broken, or scared to help someone else who is also damaged, broken, and scared. The raw emotion of it is what made me a fan (although I must admit that its possibly one of the most meta-textual focused Spidey books ever published).
As soon as I integrated myself into the con, I felt the cynicism peel away. It was an impossible thing to hold onto in the face of so much enthusiasm. “Hey Parker,” a superbly done Batflek called out to me as soon as I walked into the hotel lobby, “You forgot to button up!” No one was clamoring for a photo with me in my admittedly low-effort costume, but I was being drawn into conversations and mixing with other fans and the process was exhilarating. Memphis is a unique city filled with small town folk living in an urban area, and I mean that in a good way.
You could really feel that small-town feel of the community as I walked the floors. That feeling was mutual, looking at the other attendees I could see a similar enthusiasm. From young kids wide-eyed with wonder to socially awkward teens acting out as their favorite characters, to young adults looking to indulge a hobby, there was a contagious excitement, exuberance, and glee spreading across the show-floor. There were people proudly showing their creative works. An earnestness is what I found at the convention, and that’s exactly what I needed as a fan. To echo Reign, I realized that you are never too far gone to dive past the irony, the cynicism, the needlessly complicated meta-textuality and celebrate and enjoy comics for what they are.
It might not have had the glamor of the bigger cons, with its dramatic media reveals or AAA-List celebrity appearances (no offense to guest of honor John de Lancie, known for his voice acting work as well as portraying Q on “Star Trek: TGN”, “DS9”, and “Voyager”), or what-have-you. But there was a soul present that transcended a new movie trailer or a preview of the next summer event. If you’re in the habit of attending the big blockbuster conventions just for the media news, I implore you to try out something more close-knit. It may not hype you for the next big thing, but rather then tell you what to be a fan of, it will remind you of what it means to be a fan. Engage the average Jill and Joe wandering the booths. Take pictures of cool costumes, chat up some vendors. I implore you.
Enough about that though, here’s the stuff you skipped to the bottom for anyway: Spider-Man cosplay! Look at these guys; everyone looks great! I’ve linked to everyone I could, but if I forgot to tag you or you want to get tagged, send us an email via the contact page! Hope to see all of you guys and gals again next year!