“The geeks shall inherit the Earth!”

-Rainier Wolfcastle

GalaxyCon is a celebration of everything comics, cartoons, sci-fi, and more. But even if the only comic you’ve ever read stars a lasagna-loving cat, you’ll find the annual expo a feast for the eyes.

I didn’t know going into GalaxyCon that it’s something you’re meant to dress for. In my sport coat and loafers I must have looked like a dweeb to the attendees who came in full costume. I was happy to see a great many people dressed as characters I recognized: a 60s-era Joker, Star Wars stormtroopers, the chainsaw-handed hero from Army of Darkness, a small army of Spider-Men, and a Knight Who Says “Ni!” 

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I wasn’t prepared for just how profoundly Japanese cartoons have impacted our youth. Teens with elaborate wigs and impractically sized prop swords reign over GalaxyCon. In a circle, before a speaker blasting jaunty music, danced a coterie of girls dressed in matching green wigs and blue track suits. “Who are you dressed as?” I asked one, a question I’m used to posing only while holding a bowl of candy. “Izuku Midoriya from Boku No Hero Academia!” she answered, as happy as could be to have found her bosom buddies in Minneapolis. Her father, standing nearby, wearing a patient expression and a Ghostbusters T-shirt, explained to me that it’s a show about kids who have superpowers. It’s good to know that some things don’t change.

GalaxyCon has a devoted area for tabletop gaming, where people engage in fantastic, sprawling campaigns of heroism as dictated by dice throws. There an earnest boy told me about Warhammer 40,000, a game set in a dystopian future where humanity has colonized the universe and yet still has to battle orcs, and which involves painstakingly painting miniature figurines. As someone who still only barely grasps the rules of Monopoly I could only nod and smile. A vast tract of tables were set up for video games, and aside from that stood a full-size WWE-style wrestling ring awaiting its brawlers.

A great portion of GalaxyCon is set up for vendors — hundreds of artists with some nerdish bent to their craft. There I met Teriyaki Weasel, a fey illustrator who specializes in pastel fantasy creatures, Rick Todd, a red blooded Minnesota man who found a niche for his woodworking by making elaborate Dungeons & Dragons dice boxes, and Jodie M. Swanson, a member of the USAF who writes fantasy novels in her free time. One robust fellow told me that for every comic book he sold at GalaxyCon, he would celebrate by eating one chicken nugget, and I believed him. Each artist sits there, ready to enthusiastically rabbit on about what they do and why they love doing it. They should all have their own grocery store magazines.

I watched a group of people that had combined Star Wars with kendo, whapping away at each other with reinforced lightsabers. I saw Fred, Daphne, and Velma of Minnesota Mystery Inc., posing next to a pristine Scooby Doo van with a stuffed Great Dane. (Shaggy, they informed me, was out getting lunch. That’s dedication to a role.) I met enough Jedi knights to blow up ten Death Stars.

Finally I came to the celebrities. There was Dave Bautista, the slab of man who plays Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, Joel Adams, the voice of conspiracist Dale Gribble in King of the Hill, and Ricou Browning, the Creature from the Black Lagoon himself. A Trekkie would have lost their mind at GalaxyCon, because there were Kirk, Ohura, and Sulu all together in the flesh. I wanted to tell octogenarian George Takei that he is my hero for his announcer work on The Howard Stern Show, but his throng of adoring Star Trek fans wouldn’t have appreciated a “Baba Booey.”

It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t tell Star Wars from Star Trek. (Either franchise’s ardent fans would tell you they’re more or less the same, anyway.) GalaxyCon gathers a fascinating sample of humanity, and makes for the best people watching you could imagine. And if you are a great fan of anime, superheroes, video games, or anything else that falls under the umbrella of nerdom, you can’t do without a visit to GalaxyCon. 

GalaxyCon is coming to the Minneapolis Convention Center this year on November 6th, 7th, and 8th. To buy your tickets and learn which stars will be attending this year, go to galaxycon.com.

 

By David Scheller