Sunday, June 22, 2014

Competing fandoms: Philadelpha Comic Con vs. the World Cup

RB Silva & company at Philly Comic Con

Sometimes fate conspires to pit two interests against each other. Since June 13 I’ve been watching every soccer match in the undisputed king of world soccer tournaments — the World Cup. But even beyond the matches and surprises (Ghana matching Germany? Costa Rica beating Uruguay and Italy?) is the spectacle of fandom, and the creative ways it shows its love and support for the national teams. There’s been everything from face-paint to full-on costume, and I love it.

On Saturday, June 21 there were three World Cup matches: Argentina vs. Iran (1-0); Nigeria vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina (1-0); and the aforementioned Germany vs. Ghana stunner (2-2), and I didn’t see even one match. That’s because I was at another event that is all about the spectacle of fandom and creative ways to show love and support for  the world of comics, sci fi/fantasy/horror and gaming — Philadelphia Comic Con.

It’s funny, because there is probably not a whole lot of overlap between the two fandoms. In fact, the individuals involved in each often hold deprecating views of each other — the antagonism between geeks and jocks is standard in television shows and coming-of-age literature and films. And yet, the expression of fandom is indisputably the same.

Marvel’s Ironman fan vs.  Spain’s La Furia Roja fans
Ironman at Philadelphia Comic Con
La Furia Roja fans before Spain's second match
Nintendo’s Attack on Titan fans vs. Japan’s Samurai Blue fans

Attack on Titan cosplayers at Philly Comic Con
Japanese national team fans at the first match
Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier fans vs. Chile’s La Roja fans

Two sets of Captain America: The Winter Soldier cosplayers
Chile's La Roja fans before the second match
Dr. Who fan vs. Costa Rica’s Tico fan
Dr. Who cosplayer at Philly's Market East station.
Tico fan at a friendly preceding World Cup play
Marvel’s Captain America fan vs. United States’ Stars & Stripes fan

Captain America cosplayer at the PA Convention Center
U.S. national team fan in face paint
Sometimes, of course, the twain do meet in more ways than costume amd custom.

At the Philly Comic Con booth of artist R.B. Silva, who draws DC’s comic book Superman, we talked about the stunning Brazil and Mexico draw of last week. Silva is from Santos, Brazil, and we did a little trash-talking — me extolling El Tri’s vigor, Silva and his cohort minimizing everything but Mexican keeper Memo Ochoa’s ability to shut down Brazil’s prodigious striker Neymar.

And, on the way home from Comic Con — on a train with tired fans full of Dr. Who and Captain America: The Winter Soldier cosplayers — the first thing I checked? The scores of the fantastic three games of the day.

We are all part of communities within communities within even larger communities.

For me, much of the joy of attending an event like the Philadelphia Comic Con or following the World Cup, comes from the unpredictable and the wonderfully predictable. No matter who we are rooting for every four years, or dressing in tribute to every year, we come to celebrate our affections — creatively and unabashedly — together.

Cosplayers at Philadelphia Comic Con

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