The clues were all there when I was younger: my love of the ElfQuest comics, reading The Magic of Xanth fantasy book series, idolizing Luke Skywalker and my not so secret obsession with Star Trek TNG. But I wasn’t a geek, was I? I was in a sorority for God’s sake!
But the lovely part of getting older is becoming more comfortable with yourself. Why hide my passions? I had worked in Youth Services at my library for a few years when I was approached to take over the teen department. I had already started a teen volunteer program that was successful and I was the staff member that the teens spoke to when they came into the library. So I got to combine my love of crafts, reading, Star Wars & Star Trek into an awesome new job!
All of this led me into attending my first anime-con at NIU. The ironic thing is that I attended NIU, but as this is the sixth year having Karoshi-Con, it was not around when I was a student. To be truthful, had it been running when I was a student there, I would not have gone. But now I’m enlightened! A local friend, who is a kindred soul to me (WB!), suggested we go together with our kids.
I was impressed with the dedication of the students running this small convention. It had free admission, but hosted several panels including one led by a well regarded voice actor, Lucas Schuneman, who works in the anime and comics business. There were game rooms for board and card game enthusiasts, and a video game room with tournaments for Tekken 5, Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Brothers. Popular anime series were showing in the viewing room, and there was a Cosplay contest. Speaking of Cosplay, some of the costumes were fantastic! I was pleasantly surprised to see no overlap of costumes. Everyone’s outfits were unique, and there are so many characters out there in the anime world to choose from, enabling variety.
The Vendor Hall had a good selection of booths to stop at. Many artists were there selling wares that revolved around the anime world from paintings, plush toys, to costume accessories. My two favorite booths were The Gaming Goat from DeKalb and Comic Wreck. I stopped to chat with TGG’s owner Philip Henrikson, and when it came up in conversation that I was a Teen Librarian he generously donated the game Codenames to my library to be used at our Teen Lounge or our new monthly Role Playing game event. His store hosts tournament nights regularly and is a popular location for gamers in this area. Building community is important, and he just scored a dedicated customer for my future gaming purchases! I also enjoyed the booth Comic Wreck that was selling posters of popular comics, movies and TV series (hello, Star Trek!) in addition to selling many Manga series.
When I enthusiastically told my library director about attending, she said the library could pay my admission for a future Comic-Con (I’m much more into comics than anime) like C2E2, I actually squealed aloud. My path to Geekdom lies ahead, but…I must admit, there are limits. You will never see me in a costume (unless Wil Wheaton asks me personally to do so)!