Coming off of the high that I get from ReaderCon ever year, or Granite State Comic Con when I can make it, I inevitably want to go to others. I had impressive plans this year: I wanted to make it to Arisia, Boskone (made it!), PAX East, Boston Comic Con, Granite State Comic Con, ReaderCon (made it!), and New York City Comic Con. I’ve generally not been one to hit up conventions in the 501st, but when there’s good programming, and as I’ve gotten more into the production world, I’ve been finding them more interesting. The problem is always time and money. You know what would solve this? Having our own convention.
Okay, there’s already two conventions in Vermont (if there’s more, I haven’t heard of them, and that’s generally a problem): Bakuretsu Con in Colchester, which focuses on Anime, and Carnage Con, a gaming convention held yearly in Fairlee. I can count the number of anime productions I’ve seen on one hand, and when it comes to gaming, I’m more at home playing D&D or board games with a closer group of friends. This past spring’s Vermont Small Press & Comic Fair had the makings of a small convention, but it’s small, and hopefully, we’ll see some good things come out of it. Langdon Street Cafe’s Geek Week programming was centered on Montpelier, and sadly, the LSC is no longer around, and its fantastic program seems to have been abandoned. Northeastwars is several years’ dead.
But there’s really no dedicated, general convention that plays to a lot of interests. There’s nothing that the whole of Vermont’s Geek community can go to and use as a barometer and generally mingle and interact. The past couple of years on this site have been an experiment to see what the state of Vermont’s geek community is, and it’s thriving, but it’s fractured. We’ve got a plethora of comic book artists – even an entire school dedicated to cartooning! – alongside astronomers, ghost hunters, gaming groups, 501st members and in the middle of the large balkanized groups, we have everyone else: the folks who love to read and write science fiction (we’ve got a ton of writers!), watch the movies (just look at the number of midnight releases that people attend), and who generally have a great interest in all things geek. Look no further than the daily Geek Things roster that we compile on a daily basis.
Don’t forget about the local, geek-related businesses out there. Quarterstaff Games, The Book Garden, Earth Prime Comics, Wonder Cards and Comics, Gamers Grotto, Triple Play (in Lebanon), and the numerous bookstores out there from all over.
Off the top of my head, I can think of some notable people here in the state: Mike Stackpole, who grew up here, a major SF/F author; Joe Citro, Vermont’s expert on everything weird; Archer Mayor, noted mystery writer; F. Brett Cox, fantasy / horror writer and cofounder of the Shirley Jackson Awards. The list goes on when you probe the younger generations: Daniel Mills, Luc Reid, Brandon Barrows, Mike Luoma, Blackwell Hird. Hell, our senior senator, Sen. Patrick Leahy, has had cameos in various Batman films.
Conventions are places where we can gather and talk, where we can learn and grow as a community, and there’s no place that I’ve been able to find, where we have this common gathering of talent to talk with one another, meet each other and see what happens. Maybe, we’ll see collaborations form from this primordial mix of personalities, or at least have a good time finding out what everyone else is up to.
I wonder what would happen, with an annual gathering of our own.