Dear Oliver Roberts (if that is your name),
Today I read your article about Comic Con Africa in the Sunday Times Review, and to say I was offended is putting it -ing mildly.
But as you yourself noted, we geeks are a polite bunch, though your article has got our backs up, to say the least.
I went to Comic Con last Sunday, dressed as a fat old witch. My costume wasn’t complicated, or difficult to put together since I am already a fat old lady, but I chose my costume because Nanny Ogg is my favourite character from one of my favourite series of books, written by the inimitable Sir Terry Pratchett.
Had I identified more with Ayla from Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children novels, I could have gone to Comic Con dressed in a fur bikini and a long blonde wig, without a second thought as to whether or not I could pull it off in your eyes.
Comic Con is different things for different geeks, let me see if I can give you a wee bit of insight…
For serious cosplayers, the challenge is in making and competing in their costume, and they spend MONTHS in preparation. And at Comic Con they get to see professional cosplayers and attend workshops about making costumes.
For many of us its just fun to dress up and pretend to be someone else for the day, and not all costumes are handmade, but those who do go in costume LOVE to be recognised and photographed- if you ask first, of course.
For the gaming geeks, its about the games, and the “expensive keyboards and monitors” and new releases and watching professionals compete.
For the collectors, its about the comics and the “absurdly expensive figurines” and the “framed posters signed by the entire cast of Big Bang Theory”.
I’m not sure why you agreed to attend Comic Con Africa at all, Oliver, perhaps you weren’t given a choice, but whatever the reason you went to report on it, you clearly left your journalistic integrity at home.
You wrote that at Comic Con, “everyone is free to be themselves, without any fear of ridicule or scorn”, yet you were incapable of the same attitude.
It makes me sad to think that people who didn’t get to Comic Con this year may be put off attending the next one because of your article.
This world really would be a far better place if more people behaved like geeks do, and like we do at Comic Con, if our acceptance and tolerance and polite optimism were indeed the pervading energy on this planet.
Part of me hopes you will attend next year, and go in costume to try and have fun.
But if you can’t be more like us, then rather stay at home.