We have all missed a lot of things since this Pan’s Labyrinth started. We haven’t been able to hang out with friends as much, partake in events, and just enjoy life with friends. Cautiously, things are (were) trying to move towards life before 2020, and one of the things that I’m excited about getting back to is going to conferences and conventions.
(For just a bit of clarification for anyone who might be wondering, there is a difference between a conference and a convention. As an academic in my professional life, a conference is more academic leaning even when discussing topics like pop culture. In fact, there is a Pop Culture Conference I have been to and presented at. Conventions, on the other hand, tend to lean more to the personal hobby/fandom side of things and less academic. However, even saying that, for me, seems to belittle the fact that conventions have so many layers to them, and it’s a place for people to gather and enjoy their shared loves and interests.)
And that is what I’m here to share with you all…my adventure into the outside world to attend my first convention in-person since the panorama started. (FYI: You had to show proof of vaccination to participate/attend, and in the panels I attended only the presenters removed their masks. Rooms were also cleaned by a staff member after each panel.)
In mid-October, I attended Multiverse Con in Atlanta, GA. From the Multiverse Con website About Us page: “We are a community of fans who love to get together with our friends and geek out over the things we love.” I think this is a great standard understanding of the Con itself and what you get when you attend. I have been three times (with 2020 being virtual), and I can tell you it feels amazing to be part of it every time. The people I’ve met, the staff, the events have all been top notch every year, and I am already planning for next year. (As are the Con directors and staff who have already released the dates for next year’s event as October 14-16, 2022.) Even with the smaller crowd (a 500 person limit on attendance due to COVID), it still felt like there were so many great people, venders, activities, and panels.
Multiverse Con has different tracks that panels and events fall under to help categorize and bring order to everything. Not only do I attend for the enjoyment of being able to nerd out, but I also participate in the Learn Track. This track allows for academics to share their knowledge on topics from the speculative fiction to gaming to pop culture and more. I have presented and been asked to be on panels in both the Learn Track and other tracks, and I’m always grateful to the directors of these tracks who accept and invite me to participate. The other tracks are Meet, Gather, Play, Create, Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Write. As I said, these help organize panels, presentations, and events under certain categories.
I always enjoy spending my time in the panels. They start from about 8am and on some nights go to midnight (and sometimes beyond when people are just enjoying themselves.) The night panels/entertainment tend to be more for the 21 and older crowd, and the laughs I had at those night gatherings still bring a smile to my face. I commend all the hard work that the staff, organizers, and directors put into coming up with these panels.
Outside of the tracks, there are the vendors, and like with any con, it’s always hard not to buy new stuff. More on that in a bit. Multiverse Con even gives back to different charities at the con, so they make sure to also do some good while everyone is having a good time. And lastly, while the Con is still growing, it’s in a major city that attracts so many people in different (movie, television, media, etc.) industries, that it will only continue to grow as the pandemic hopefully gets more under control.
To close out, one of the biggest things about going to a Con is of course coming home with more stuff than you left with, so I have to end this by doing a Multiverse Con haul. I will leave links to all the things under each photo, so that you can look up any of these great items you see.
I want to once again thank everyone involved with Multiverse Con for continuing to put on a great event, especially in these trying times. I plan to be back October 2022 (in-person or not), and I cannot wait to be in the con space again. Please check out the links I have provided above and below and think about attending and/or participating in this amazing con.
My Multiverse Con Haul
Cover image provided by Multiverse. All other photos provided by author.