[Editor’s note: It’s always somebody’s first time. As a veteran of 20+ San Diego Comic-cons, The Beat is hopelessly jaded. But for people going for the first time, it’s either a dream come true, or a job to be done. Or both. To get a handle on the human experience behind the hype, we’ve asked three first time San Diego con-goers to share their experiences with us. Meet art student Lauren A.]
Hi, I’m Lauren, and I’m a Comic-Con virgin.
I’m also a graduate student in Fine Art at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where I’m currently preparing for advancement to MFA candidacy in the form of my first solo exhibition.
I’m attending Comic-Con this year mostly to do research for said solo exhibition. Most of my work in the past year has been concerned with the idea of romantic love— Is it real? If so, how’s it work? How are our perceptions of love influenced by pop culture, or are they even, perhaps, entirely resulting from it?
Here’s the thing: I’m particularly interested in romantic love for a fictional character.
And not just any character… Okay, here’s the part where I admit that I’m a Twilight fan. Yes, I know, the Twilight mob is loathed at Comic-Con, but we’re classic examples of intense fans with huge, irrational love for fictional characters, and what better place to explore that concept than in the line for the Twilight panel?
As part of my research, I plan to interview fellow fans in line, filming and photographing them as they wait and later as they react to the stars in Hall H. I also plan to attend the Twilight fan fiction panel and subsequent meet up at a pub down the street from the con, filming and photographing along the way.
I hope to gain some more direct insight into the workings of love within fandom, particularly this kind of fandom and this kind of love, which seems to be obsessive and all consuming in a lot of ways and affects millions of girls and women of all ages. Is it all fun and games, or are stories like Twilight having a real effect on our perceptions of love, and therefore our lives?
For the most part, I’m ridiculously excited. (Have I mentioned I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan? Bring on the Dark Horse panel!) I’m really looking forward to partying it up nerd style with a bunch of great people. Even if I don’t come back with any great material to work with, I know I will have at least had fun.
My only fear is facing the embarrassment of actually being in line for the Twilight panel. After all, even my friends also attending the con delight in poking fun at me over it. “We love you, but you’re on your own with the whole Twilight thing,” they say. However, after the experience of walking around the Las Vegas strip with a cardboard Edward Cullen cutout as a performance piece last semester, I find I’m pretty much shameless.
Lauren Adkins is a visual crusader, voracious bookworm, and self-professed Whedonite.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.