Kansas City Comic Con took place at Bartle Hall November 10-12, and what a whirlwind it was! So many people, so many panels, so many friends, so much cosplay… Read on for highlights in my Kansas City Comic Con 2017 recap!
This year was a bit of a different experience for me – I worked behind-the-scenes with staff for some panel brainstorming and development, and was involved in a few panels myself. I had never even participated in a panel before, and wound up moderating two, plus serving as a panelist at another. Here are some highlights…
A New Hope: Geeks & Mental Health
This panel addressed isolation, depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, while sharing resources and personal stories of encouragement so attendees could find A New Hope and Live Long and Prosper.
As moderator, I was joined by four panelists: therapist Megan Deavers, and cosplayers Shawnah Dinges, Ron “Crunk Panda” Coleman, and Erica Williams. Highlights:
- Each person shared their personal experience with mental health, from depression to social anxiety to PTSD to a suicide attempt.
- We discussed how being a geek can both hinder and help mental health, from being bullied to finding your tribe.
- We talked about red flags to indicate someone may need mental health support, and how to provide it.
I heard the panel was recorded, so I hope to share the video soon, but until then, here are the slides with the resource links.
Cosplay for All: Portraying the Characters You Love
Description: Cosplay is a chance for ANYbody to express themselves and their passions for ANY character – regardless of skin color, orientation, mobility, or gender. It’s about living the character in the moment. Panelists explored the diversity and empowerment in cosplay.
- Each panelist talked about their introduction into cosplay, and the need to be kind to yourself in your development as a craftsperson and cosplayer. You will get better!
- We talked about why it’s important to be inclusive as a community to anyone who wants to cosplay. [Answer: so EVERYONE gets to have more FUN!]
- We discussed how to be respectful when cosplaying a different race/culture/gender. Top tips:
- No blackface or trying to portray you’re a different race than you are, even to be more “true” to the character.
- Do your research on culture so you don’t unintentionally offend those of another culture. This can be particularly true when portraying anime/manga characters.
This panel was also reportedly recorded, but until I get access to the video, here are the slides.
A Geek’s Guide to Social Interaction
Description: Patience, young Padawan, it is possible to speak with muggles and not scare them away. Learn the difference between creepy and charming. How to pick up on social cues. And why it’s always best to be yourself. Join us for a humorous Q & A at Camp Khitomer as we share some of our musings on the finer negotiation of nerd and non-nerd peace treaties.
Moderated by my husband, David Pedersen, I joined four other panelists: Marina, Cristi, Mayra, and Sarah. Highlights:
- We discussed what turns people off when meeting them for the first time (e.g. body odor, bad breath, no personal space, inattention)
- We offered tips for starting conversations when you feel awkward and anxious
- Start by complimenting the person and asking questions: “I love your costume! Would you mind telling me how you made it?” “Is this your first time at the con? Are you having a good time?”
- People love to talk about themselves – ask questions to try to find common ground.
- Try attending meetups with people who are already interested in what you like – instant conversation starters!
I don’t believe there was video of this one, but feel free to post a comment if you have any questions related to the topic!
Draw, draw, draw: KCCC’s version of Win, Lose or Draw
Together with Kirk Chritton, I co-hosted a Pictionary-style game show on Sunday afternoon. I’ll admit – I was pretty nervous about this one, as a few details were pulled together just before the event, but everything went quite well. We had two celebrity guests, two artist guests, and six contestants from the audience. Players were pretty successful guessing the geeky clues (Lois Lane! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Mjolnir!) and everyone seemed to have a good time.
Amazon Cosplay Build
I signed up for the Amazon Cosplay Build with our friend Sarah, ready to learn about creating a chestpiece, headpiece, and bracers from scratch – an ambitious project for one weekend! But I was really impressed with how much prepwork they did, including cutting out all the foam pieces prior to the show, and putting the costume patterns and instructions on individual thumb drives for everyone. Bruce from Crazy Costumes ran himself ragged trying to make sure everyone had what they needed, and molding all the foam pieces on his custom drafting table-thing. Here’s the finished result:
Want to see more pictures from the con? Check out my Kansas City Comic Con 2017 album on my Facebook Page (and give it a Like while you’re there!)
The Show Floor
With panels and the cosplay build, I really didn’t get much time to walk the show floor, other than to run by booths to say hi to friends. I got to hang out with John and Jerry from Worst.Comic.Podcast.EVER!, Kitty and Mick from A Gal and A Gay podcast, and Ryan from Buster Props, as well as meet Derreck from the Heroes Podcast Network (formerly known as Grid Daily). I know there were more people I missed seeing, but the weekend really did fly by!
What were your highlights of Kansas City Comic Con 2017? Did you hit up any panels, or do any cosplay? Share your experience with a comment below!