Help me get in to the world of cosplay and -cons
July 14, 2013 3:20 AM   Subscribe

At 37 I am discovering my inner sci-fi and TV series/movie fandom. And my nine year old is already there. I am thinking we would probably enjoy comic-cons and other -cons, but have no idea how to research this.

I would love to dress up, and take my son to conventions where we can geek out with other like-minded souls. But have no idea how to research where they are and what the best ones are. We live between the UK and Germany, and speak English, so perhaps starting with the UK BUT would consider long-term planning of trips to the US and Japan. How do we find out about the best 'general' -cons, and also about specific ones? Blog, website, review site recommendations very welcome!
posted by Megami to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You could start saving up for LonCon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, 14-18 August 2014, in London.

If you just want to dabble, London Film & Comic Con has a winter version on 5-6 October. They're mostly focused on celebrities selling signatures and stalls selling merchandise, but you get plenty of cosplayers and the like.

London Anime Con is next weekend if you feel like jumping in feet first.

There are series-focused cons as well, usually run by groups like Starfury Conventions, which are great if you have a particular show that you and the kiddo love, but they're mostly just fawning over the actors and occasionally buying merchandise.

If you're in London in October, the Film & Comic Con is a great introduction. Don't bother with any fancy tickets for this first jump, just go for one day and just enjoy seeing everything.

You'll get flyers for other cons, or end up talking to people who know a lot, and from there, it'll all spiral outwards.
posted by Katemonkey at 3:55 AM on July 14, 2013

If you're oop North, there's Manchester Comic Con next weekend and Thought Bubble in Leeds in November. Comic Conventions has information about conventions up and down the UK and has links to a couple of sister sites that deal with cosplay, sci-fi and tv. As for the US, Sand Diego Comic Con is informally known as nerd prom and is considered the biggest show of the year, where the big announcements are made. New York Comic Con is also a major show in the calendar.
posted by peteyjlawson at 6:07 AM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you're into tabletop gaming, GenCon is also popular. My daughter has participated in their costume contest the past two years, and there's lots of hall cosplay as well. Geographically it's between the big comic cons on the East and West Coasts.
posted by Gelatin at 6:57 AM on July 14, 2013

This site seems to list primarily cons in the US, but clicking through to some of the conventions' official sites might lead you somewhere useful.

Personally, I don't think NY Comicon is worth traveling long-distance for. There are usually some fun costumes, and some cool things to see in the dealers' room, but, it's such a logistical cluster-fuck getting in/around/out of the Javitz Center, I don't think you'd get your money's worth in the end. San Diego Comicon is similarly challenging.

What about Fedcon Germany? There was an attempt at launching Fedcon USA a few years ago which failed spectacularly (money mismanagement, actors not paid, hotel shut the thing down mid-morning of the first day, etc.), but as far as I know Fedcon Germany has a good reputation for running their con, and they've been doing it since 1992.

In general, if you're going to have to spend a lot for travel & hotel, you should stick with convention organizations that have successfully grown their cons over multiple years. Be wary of the first-year cons - some of them can turn out to be great, but you have to be on the lookout for the ones that are being run by scammers, or fans that got in over their heads.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:18 AM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Anime cons make me feel old and when I went as a single guy, kinda creepy. Dragon con in Atalanta is also a big convention in the states.

Local, smallish cons are either hilarious disasters or smoothly (ish) run by the same circle of people doing the same things that always worked.

If you go in costume, be prepared to pose for pictures or politely decline them.
posted by Jacen at 8:31 AM on July 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

David Langford's Ansible is a great UK fannish website, as well as being one of the best listings of conventions around. He has a page about London SF group meetings/parties.

Eastercon is the annual British science fiction convention. Eastercon is always Easter weekend. (And I will probably never go, because the con I work on here in the US is also always Easter weekend.) Eastercon is kinda like Worldcon (mentioned by Katemonkey above), in that the specific location of Eastercon changes every year, and people bid to put on the next instance of it, but it's all considered the same con. The next Eastercon is Satellite 4. The location for the 2015 Eastercon hasn't been decided yet.
posted by jiawen at 3:33 PM on July 14, 2013

The biggest game convention in the world, Internationale Spieltage SPIEL (also called Essen Spiel or just Spiel), is in Germany. It gets something like 150,000 participants every year.
posted by jiawen at 3:36 PM on July 14, 2013

I posted a question that you might find helpful.

If you plan to travel to Japan, I recommend Design Festa in Tokyo. It's an artsy convention, there are a lot of toy, character and fashion designers and illustrators. It's pretty fun, and even if it's a bit crowded, it is orderly and very enjoyable. Check out their Facebook page to get an idea of the kind of things they exhibit.
posted by clearlydemon at 2:39 PM on July 15, 2013

Response by poster: thanks everyone for your great answers - this is exactly the kind of information I am looking for!

Clearlydemon - we went to Design Fiesta last time we were in Tokyo and I really enjoyed it.
posted by Megami at 12:15 AM on July 16, 2013

Sometimes there are local fan groups where members get together and cosplay for other reasons, like Free Comic Book Day (is that a US-only thing?)

If there are local stores that specialize in comic books, fantasy and/or science fiction, or table top games, those might be useful places to ask for possible conventions and groups.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:32 AM on July 24, 2013

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