Having spent last year in hiatus, Wales’ Comic-Con re-emergence in 2021 was an unmitigated success. Now, for 2022, and in a ‘takeover’ taking place at the Telford International Centre, the two-day event will bring in thousands of fans, many of whom will come dressed to the nines as their favourite characters in TV, movies, anime, and gaming. Once more of a niche event, the modern success of Comic-Con is a worldwide phenomenon, mirroring the growth of public love of what was sometimes formerly derided as ‘geek culture’.
What is Geek Culture?
For decades, the idea of geek culture was undervalued. Geeky interests are often silly from the outside, and if you’re the type of person who takes everything too seriously, then that’s something to mock. The problem with this idea is that fans of geek culture never really cared if outsiders were too insecure to like outrageous things, they continued to love what they loved.
A Growing Reach
Over time, the line of what was considered geeky began to fade, as traditionally geeky properties and pursuits slowly became more mainstream. In film, a big thanks here has to go to the Marvel Cinematic Universe titles. Set in comic book worlds, the MCU nonetheless was extremely approachable to the mass market. Bringing in more than $23 billion so far, the MCU isn’t merely successful, it’s the most profitable film series of all time.
Another major contributor to the acceptance of geeky pursuits has been the growing world of video games. Once a limited and often confusing form of entertainment, the modern video game market has gone on to be worth even more than films and music combined. This influence applies to all forms of gaming, even online casino websites have embraced ‘geeky’ titles. For example, the best slot sites often turn to sci-fi-inspired properties like Mars Attacks and Reactoonz to draw in players. Combined with specials like free spins and deposit matches, this development has played a key part in the modern expansion of the online casino landscape. Similar to the efforts made by movies and video games to incorporate these themes, this shift has drawn in more players, helping the industry develop as a whole.
Some of these games, like the Final Fantasy titles, have also been inspiring fans to dress as their characters for decades, in what is the growing world of cosplay. This cosplay element is a huge part of the Comic-Con experience as it exists today. In simple forms, participants can pull on whatever they have lying around to demonstrate their love of a character or design. In more involved approaches, cosplay fans can spend thousands on building special costumes like sets of armour, mech suits, and tailored clothing on par with industry professionals. In fact, it’s common for some big industry names to participate themselves, as Adam Savage has done for many years in the New York events.
What’s Next for Wales?
According to Danny John-Jules, a popular star in the much-loved Red Dwarf series, the Comic-Con experience in Wales is on nothing but an upward trajectory. When he first started at the Welsh event 12 years ago, he noted that only around 100 people would show, a far cry from the thousands who appear in more recent Comic-Cons and the flocks of people who came to visit the Marvel S.T.A.T.I.O.N exhibit.
As for what comes next, that’s really up to the fans. While expanding too rapidly is a recipe for failure, the growing popularity of the Welsh Comic-Con means that bigger events are all but inevitable. If you’re curious, consider checking out the event next year, and you might be surprised to see just how much fun it can be to share in such a positive experience. If nothing else, it gives you an excuse to have some fun in costume, which is something we all appreciate.