San Jose is hosting something exciting for science fiction and fantasy fans in California. Silicon Valley Comic Con is bringing nerds, geeks, and celebrities together for a weekend of cosplay and a chance to meet celebrity icons. It’s also a place to grab art, books, and T-shirts, and get them signed by the artists.
Among the celebrity icons at the McEnery Convention Center’s ribbon cutting ceremony in San Jose were co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak, and Marvel Comics artist and cameo star Stan Lee. Wozniak was the one who decided to bring the comic book and cosplay madness to a new place in Southern California, even if he admittedly still feels a little nervous about a certain Star Trek star.
“We’ve had characters that fly, so what did we technologists do? We made jet packs and these little water packs. Now we have devices that can see through walls like Superman. William Shatner, all my life has been a strong hero, but I can’t let that on. I was too afraid as a kid to ever approach him at the Star Trek conventions. I go back 30, 40 years driving down to Los Angeles to see Star Trek conventions and see those people, and I’m going to actually get to meet William Shatner. I heard that he wants to have a dinner with me. Wow. I mean I’m [really] nervous over that.”
According to ABC News, Steve Wozniak says the real star of the show at conventions like Silicon Valley Comic Con is the crowd. Fans often go to great lengths to dress up and look like their childhood or even adulthood heroes, from comic books to movies and even video games. These fans, known as cosplayers, often pose for pictures with each other.
Some, like Internet celebrity D-Piddy, take the opportunity to dance and create video shenanigans dressed as Deadpool, Sasuke from Naruto, and other popular characters. He even filmed young Star Wars fans as the children wandered the grounds in costume as Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren, “force choking” and attacking visitors with a plastic lightsaber.
One artist attending the San Jose Comic Con is Hannah McGill, who likes to create humorous art based on dinosaurs. “I loved going to the science museum growing up. I love the people I’ve met through [it, including] paleontologists.” One such piece appears to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex singing opera.
Steve Wozniak feels that the draw of the San Jose and other Comic Cons is the chance for outsiders to gather and meet others like them.
“I want to see these unusual people. Seeing people that live outside the social norms has always been a large part of my life. I grew up shy, an outsider, a geek. I want young people to come from all over, to meet other people, to find themselves, and feel that their being outside the norm in some areas is absolutely appropriate and good and admired.”
Many Internet celebrities such as YouTube’s Dragonball Z Abridged creators Team Four Star have met their fans at conventions like these. They come from California, New York, and even Great Britain to take the stage and do silly things like read Fifty Shades of Grey in various cartoon and celebrity voices. They did this alongside Doug “The Nostalgia Critic” Walker, much to the delight of their fans.
After the San Jose Comic Con, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is planning to have a wax figure of himself put up alongside Steve Jobs. It is expected to be a symbol of what outsiders can do when they work together.
Are you going to San Jose’s Silicon Valley Comic Con? What are you planning to do there?
[Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images]