One of the perks of my summer internship with Shrink Tank was receiving a free ticket to HeroesCon this past weekend. Now you should know that I definitely classify as a superhero fan… I’m partial to Spiderman, Star-Lord, Thor (AKA Chris Hemsworth–am I right, ladies?!). I’m fairly well-versed with the movies and fun facts. That being said, I have never been accused of being a geek–a little nerdy perhaps, but never a geek. My knowledge of superheroes doesn’t go much farther than knowing that you never, ever leave a Marvel movie until after the credits have rolled because there’s always that little bonus at the end. So, after spending the weekend at this year’s HeroesCon, I’ve created a guide of 5 Steps to Surviving Your First HeroesCon– for those of us, myself included, who are a little less informed.
1. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
HeroesCon, by definition, is a convention for superhero fanatics. Now, one would assume that by the definition you could paint a picture in your mind about what that might look like–go ahead and visualize. Are you picturing some Halloween-style costumes of Superman and Batman? Perhaps a crowd of people with graphics tees? I promise you that what you’re picturing doesn’t even come close to what you’ll experience. So be prepared! Go beyond the definition and let me help you take a peek into the world you’re about to enter. The more you look inside the superhero realm the more excited you’ll become for the upcoming event… and who knows? You may even come across something you like!
2. Eat a Piece of Humble Pie
“Every time I’m here it reminds me how little I actually know.”
Sean, Shrink Tank’s Director of Audio and Visual, sums up his HeroesCon experiences via those words. Although you may have well-prepared and nailed step one (making the learning curve substantially smaller) there’s no way you can compete with the knowledge that most HeroesCon attendees have built up over the last few years. The sooner you recognize where you fit on the totem pole, the easier it will be to embrace HeroesCon. Most importantly, you’ll develop a newfound respect for all the attendees in spandex leggings! So remember, eat a piece of humble pie and accept that you are NOT the expert here, then embrace the opportunity you have to broaden your span of knowledge.
3. Stash Some Passion Fruit in Your Pocket
The first step to any personal growth is admitting you have a problem, the second step is seeking help… at least, I think I read that somewhere in a psychology textbook. I recommend finding yourself an expert. Attending HeroesCon with someone who loves (I mean, REALLY loves) the superhero world, and has the knowledge to back up the passion, will make your own experience so much more fun! Having an expert by your side not only gives you the perfect chance to learn but also allows you to be more comfortable and go with the flow of the festivities. After all, passion is contagious!
4. Drink the Perfect Balance of Coffee
HeroesCon is an exciting and stimulating time- so much to see, so much to do; it will really suck the energy from you when you want to stay energized and alert. Avoid the afternoon crash! Keep sipping on that iced coconut milk mocha macchiato from Starbucks and be ready for the afternoon coffee run to make sure you keep yourself going all day and get the most out of all the happenings at HeroesCon. Don’t miss a minute; find the perfect balance of coffee!
Our Shrink Tank team set up this weekend and interviewed some of the best cosplay we saw (cosplay is the act of dressing up as a character… it’s okay; it took me awhile to figure it out too). We even had the pleasure of interviewing The Riddler, in fact, a 7-year-old Riddler (precious, right?). His riddle for us was, “When is a door not a door?” The answer, “When it’s ‘a jar’!” In my opinion, this little riddle sets a theme for HeroesCon… In theme with his riddle–when is Clark Kent not Clark Kent? Well, when he’s Superman of course. So the deeper takeaway here is that ‘a jar’ by definition means open; Clark Kent becomes Superman when he walked through the open doors and opportunities in his life. So when is a door not a door? When it’s ‘a jar’. Each cosplay character walks through that (ajar) door every time they put on a costume and transform into someone else.
The best way to survive your first HeroesCon is to look for the open doors. Look for the opportunities, for the connections, for the experiences, and for the superhero in yourself!
Olivia Schmitke is a rising senior at Union University in Tennessee. During the school year, she fills her days with soccer, coffee, and studying. Ultimately though, she’s an aspiring psychologist, world traveler, and the newest member of the Avengers.