Full Disclosure: My husband and I are not geeks.
A bit nerdy? Yes.
A little awkward sometimes? Yes.
Fashionably challenged? Most days.
But geeky?… not so much.
We don’t own any comic books or have any originally packaged action figures. While both of us have our share of geek-inspired t-shirts, neither of us engage in larping or cosplay. We don’t discuss the difference between Marvel and DC Comics. We don’t even go to Star Wars movies on opening day - gasp!
Yet, somehow, we made Eoin.
(***NOTE: For the sake of being reader-friendly, and because I know I’ll get asked, its pronounced “Owen”… you’re welcome.)
Eoin was born in a Batman mask. Okay, okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. But it is true that this boy has loved Batman since he first laid eyes on the melancholy vigilante. Eoin was about 3-years-old and my husband was gone on his 6th tour as a combat helicopter pilot. The psycho-analyst in me thinks that this attachment to Batman had something to do with my little dude needing a “hero” in his life. Can’t buy a “daddy” costume - Batman was the next best thing. Over half of his eleven birthdays have been Batman-themed and his dedication to Batman costumes on Halloween is astounding. Eoin drew his first fan-fiction graphic novel when he was in kindergarten. The fandom is strong with this one.
When I was presented with the opportunity to attend Fayetteville Comic Con as a guest I knew that I would need to take Eoin with me. Being born to lowly non-geeks, attending Comic Con was pretty high on the list of things that would never happen for Eoin Hennessy. So last weekend, after chores, soccer games, and some bacon I said, “Hey, Dude. Do you want to go to Comic Con?”
“What?... Today? I saw it on TV. It’s today.” He said with some hesitation.
“Yeah, I know. Do you want to go?” I said.
“Oh my gosh. Are you serious? YES!” he screamed as he scrambled to find his shoes and a clean superhero shirt.
Luckily, I’d bought myself a Batman shirt at Wal-Mart on a whim, and after some discussion about Cape Vs. No Cape, we headed out the door.
I wore the cape.
Fayetteville Comic Con began in 2015 with over 8,000 people in attendance. According to the event website (www.fayettevillecomiccon.com), “The fan run Fayetteville Comic Con is a welcoming and family friendly place that celebrates all forms and fans of American and World Popular Culture. If you like comics, cosplay, gaming, collectible toys, anime, cool TV or movies, Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, The Walking Dead and/or Horror, you’ll fit right in!”
And they were right.
If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you know that one of my favorite sayings is “You Do You” – meaning be yourself. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Just be yourself. There is likely no better place in the world to see thousands of people living the “You Do You” mantra than at a Comic Con event. From the moment that we drove into the parking lot, until the moment we left, we were surrounded by people who were happy doing whatever it is that they do. Outside the walls of the Convention Center they might have been seen as freaks and geeks, but in that place and in that moment they were 100% themselves.
From Darth Vaders to Harley Quinns and Pokemons to Care Bears, people gathered from every corner of Cumberland County (and beyond) to enjoy the festivities at Fayetteville Comic Con. Vendors were lined up row-by-row with collectible toys, comics, and … well, pretty much anything you can imagine in the comic universe. At the center of the room was a large stage area where several costumed kids were having an interesting dance competition. Somehow, Eoin knew this cultural phenomenon and joined in. I’m going to blame Fortnight and move on.
One of my favorite sightings of the day was Dragula from the 1960’s TV show The Munsters. Complete with a marble headstone and brass coffin body, Dragula is a drag-strip car built by Grandpa in the episode Hot Rod Herman. Also available in the booth was the Munster Coach and actor Butch Patrick who played Eddie Munster. Selfies with the cars and Butch started at $20, but there was a line and I could smell funnel cakes so we kept on moving.
After checking out a few of the vendor booths and getting a little bit of Christmas shopping done, we ran in to my friend, Tiffany, (aka The MrsTee) and she pointed out these great collectors mugs. TOTALLY worth the crazy long line to get these things! They are super cool! If you go to Fayetteville Comic Con next year, make sure that you get yourself a silver mug. The booth has free refills of root beer, lemonade, cream soda AND CRUSHED ICE. YES! Just what mama needed to keep facing the crowds.
Another confession? I’ve never seen an episode of Dr. Who. I have at least two friends who will disown me for this (hi, Noreen and Sarah!)… But I still know when something is cool. And Steam Punk is cool. So check out this freaking awesome photo op at this Steam Punk Tardis by A Steampunked Life
There was only one booth that made me go “Oh my gosh!” … remember I’m not very geeky… but the Lego Man booth was EPIC. I have always loved Legos and agree that “Everything is Awesome” so this booth was mesmerizing. Eoin and I stared at this table for a good 20 minutes before deciding to head outside to the food trucks.
There were 6 tables like this!
Full disclosure: As the former director for What The Truck, I have to admit that I was little disappointed in the food truck line up. Three meal trucks and one dessert truck was not enough for the amount of people. I have a special place in my heart for food truck entrepreneurs and the number of folks walking away from the trucks without ordering because of line sizes was a little heartbreaking. So much money to be made and so many hungry guests! (Shameless plug: if you have an event like this in the Fayetteville Area and want food trucks visit www.ncceed.org/whatthetruck and get What The Truck involved!)
Eoin and I decided to share a funnel cake for lunch – which we immediately regretted – but it was delicious and I feel like this photo will make my dad happy. Ducka Ducka Concessions was ON POINT.
We ended our time at the Fayetteville Comic Con with my favorite thing at the event – this Dragon Ball Z Space Pod built by Boba Joe Carrera from Intergalactic Creations. This thing is awesome! I don’t have any idea what it is, but Eoin thought it was cool enough to pay $10 from his allowance to sit in it for 5 minutes. I called it a Pokémon ball and he gave me a look that said “Stop Talking Now” … so, to all you non-geek-but-super-dweeb moms out there: Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z are NOT the same thing. Noted.
Mom-dorkiness aside, my kid just told me that his favorite part of the whole day was getting to spend time with me. (#winning)
In a nutshell, I would like to encourage you to take an interest in your kid’s interests. Go do the things that you’d never do if they weren’t a part of your life! It is so rewarding! Eoin has never asked to go to Comic Con because he knew that I wouldn’t be interested. But here’s the thing – I’m interested in HIM.
Maybe I’m a little geeky after all.
The following excerpts and photos are from the past eleven years as Batman ... er.... Eoin's mom:
Me and Eoin (4yo) have been watching Once Upon A Time and tonight he sighed and said, "I've been waiting for Batman to come on here, but he won't because this is Disney.... I feel bad for him."
Eoin: Take my photo. I'm Batman.
Cian: Take my photo. I'm Pajama Man. I never change out of pajamas.
Eoin's questions outgrew the magic today and we had to have "the conversation" about Santa Claus. When the mystery gives way frustration it's not fun anymore. So we sat him down and asked his if he wanted to know the truth. With tears in his eyes he said, "I think I already know the truth, but I'm not sure I want to hear it." Isn't that reality? So we told him the story of St. Nicolas, and who Santa was and what he represents. We reassured him that Christmas isn't over just because you know the truth. Now it's time to keep the magic alive for everyone who still believes.
Through tears he said, "It has been a good 9 years... And Batman could still be real."
So I'll keep Batman alive for as long as I can.
Here's to the moms who are Santa and the Easter Bunny, Tooth-fairies and leprechauns... Moms are the most magical creatures on earth.
"Eoin tell me a boy’s name that starts with a 'B'."
Eoin (5 years): "mom, I don't think I will ever take a wife."
Me: "why buddy? Being married is fun. It's like a sleepover every night."
Eoin: "Well... Batman doesn't have time for a wife. He's busy saving everyone. And I think that's ok to be alone if you are busy being a hero."
Me: No, you can't go outside. It’s snowing and you can't wear your Batman costume outside. It’s too cold.
... 5 minutes later.
Cian, "Mom, can Batman fly a helicopter?"
Eoin, "WHAT?! Batman doesn’t need a helicopter. He has a cape!"
... a few moments pass and Eoin mumbles to himself, "We should get daddy a cape..."
And just for good measure, here's the throwback to when Libby was his arch nemesis and won the base-wide Halloween costume