Not so long ago, in a galaxy not too far away, being a geek wasn’t very cool. Fans of stuff like Dr Who, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings were forced to congregate in the shadows and talk in whispers, glancing around nervously for fear of persecution. Fast forward a few decades and attitudes have become more tolerant; people who love gaming, comic books and science fiction can now walk around in the light of day. They can even proclaim their passion by meeting up in a public place and dressing up as their favourite characters!
I’ve been obsessed by films, comics and toys since I was a kid and I am old enough to have witnessed the swing from geek to chic. The rise in popularity and acceptance has been aided by the unstoppable rise of electronic gaming and fiction such as Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games, as well as Hollywood raiding the fruitful harvests of Marvel and DC. There have been new Star Wars films, more appearances from Alien and Predator, several new Doctors and superheroes beyond count. Geekdom has become vast and inescapable, even in a small northern town like Buxton.
The University of Derby moving into The Devonshire Dome has been a huge contribution to Buxton’s modern cosmopolitan image. Hosting an event like ComicCon also goes some way to bringing the old spa town blinking into the 21st century. It provides people with a very different kind of Sunday. You can meet TV stars from shows like Red Dwarf and Primeval, talk to comic book artists, buy unique merchandise, have your photo taken with Iron Man or Freddie Kruger, or just sit in the Dome café and soak up the atmosphere. I was amazed by how busy it was and how friendly and laid back everyone seemed to be. Then again, fanboys/girls have always been nice people.
I actually made my Tusken Raider costume for a friend’s Star Wars themed birthday on Friday night but seeing as I had put so much work into it (with an equal amount of graft from my mum), I decided to give it a second outing. It was warm in The Dome and I was immediately roped into a sequence of photographs, becoming a very sweaty Sandman. I’m not sure how long I would survive in the dunes of Tatooine.
Recovering in the café, a young man explained to me that he hated Star Wars and that he was just there for the Minecraft and some other games that I had never heard of. He would be pursuing Pikachu for a selfie rather than Kylo Ren. Why anyone dislikes what I perceive to be the greatest cosmic saga between good and evil ever made is inconceivable to me but I suppose it just reveals a generation difference within the clique. After all, being a geek is all about contemplating new ideas so an open mind is usually a pre requisite.
If you missed this year’s ComicCon, then I recommend that you look out for next year’s. I also suggest that you get into the spirit of the event by making and wearing a costume. For Harry Potter fans, there’s another convention at The Dome on 11th June 2017 – The Philosopher’s Dome – A fantastic event for fans of Harry Potter and the Wizarding World, with guest signers, displays, photo op’s, cosplay, seller tables, competitions & more. Tickets are available to purchase here.
You can follow Darcus’ adventures at facebook.com/darcuswolfson or visit his website at worldofwolfson.co.uk and find out more about his current work and how you can get involved in his upcoming film project.