I went for the Anime….honest.
Fan’s of the television show Star Trek, really began to realize they had power in numbers somewhere around the mid 70’s. The original show had been off the air for a few years, but the series and it’s positive family friendly message, wherein each episode the crew of the Starship Enterprise encountered a new species, didn’t get along with it for some reason until eventually Captain Kirk had sex with it, and then whisked off to new parts galaxy leaving mutant bastard children strewn throughout the cosmos was original and the fans wouldn’t let it go…
Eventually this spilled over to group therapy events where the fan’s could commiserate, wear knock off costumes, great each other with Spock’s live long and prosper hand gesture, and buy a ton of both licensed and bootleg merchandise from each other, all without the fear of a massive wedgie or intergalactic species shaming.
And yes, I was one of the people who in my youth would frequent these conventions, though I never had a Starfleet Uniform, or dressed in any manner other than my normal street clothes, but that was OK because fans were welcome in every shape, size, and green color of skin. And yes as a teen, I was very happy to wait in line to shake the hand of William Shatner, or listen to endless debates about which Captain was better. (Kirk…obviously)
Yes that’s right I said Captains, because these early events did something amazing and unexpected, they showed CBS and Paramount (who owned rights to the franchise) that there was a very loyal, very determined, and eager to spend money fanbase, and TV execs tend to follow money, which lead to movies, additional series, video games, and lions and tigers and bears…OH MY!
So yes I never got deep into the culture, but as I recently packed away my VHS tapes (filled with rare Anime I found at these gatherings) and as I prepare to don my HorrorBuzz.com tee-shirt and swim among the throngs of Haunt and Horror fans that will pack the summer conventions this year…I tip my hat to all those wanna-be Captains, and Engineers, and Vulcans, and Klingons, etc. etc, because they didn’t scare me like monsters, but they sure taught me not to be afraid of who I am and what I like.
And I honestly wonder if they hadn’t been the trailblazers, if we would be currently kicking off a haunt season that now lasts from late July often through November with our loyal fanbase who long to hear what the latest slate of haunt offerings we will enjoy this year is, or shake hands with the designers we know and love who show up to talk to us about their latest devious plans. So grab those fangs, or that zombie makeup and I’ll see you among the fog machines, and monsters.