Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pop culture purveyor perplexed by Youmacon

 Connoisseur, fanboy, nerd — these are just some of the words I’ve described myself as over the years when it comes to pop culture. It’s nearly a three-decade romance with no signs of slowing down.

SLIDESHOW: Photos from 2013 Youmacon

My finger is deftly on the pulse of all things “geek” — or so I thought before attending Youmacon last weekend in Detroit. For the uninitiated, Youmacon is a convention that covers all things anime- and video game-related. Generally, I just assumed those crowds fit into the comic book and pop culture conventions that I’ve been attending and covering for years.

Boy was I wrong.

I’ve never felt so out of place in a room full of “my people,” as I’ve called the attendees of the conventions I generally cover. Normally I’m right at home with just about any aspect of pop culture.
There was just so much to take in when it came to the vastness of what the people at Youmacon were fans of. There were hundreds of people dressed in costumes for books, TV shows and games that I had never even heard of, let alone thought there were enough fans to inspire a costume.

Yes, there were a few Poison Ivy and Batman costumes, but they were definitely the rare costumes. Instead, there were Marios and Luiguis running around — quite literally. I ran into two pair of them not 10 steps apart at one point. But there were also thousands of costumes from games like “League of Legends,” “Pokemon” and others, many of which I couldn’t have named if my life depended on it.
All that said, Youmacon might have been the most fun I’ve had at a convention this year, and that includes covering two with appearances by Stan Lee.

 Being less invested in the spectacle of it all, I spoke with more attendees than I have at all the other conventions this year. For me, it was less about the “celebrities,” of which I knew very few, and more about the attendees and discovering why they were there and why they dressed as who they did.
From that angle, it was quite fun, despite only finding a single person from Downriver among those I spoke with.

It was estimated that more than 12,000 people attended, but rarely did Cobo Hall or Renaissance Center feel crowded. Yes, they are both massive buildings, but that still is a a lot of people to cram into them. Credit the event organizers for running a very smooth convention with few snags.

It didn’t turn me into an anime fan, but I’ll definitely check out the convention again next year — you never know, maybe I’ll even put on a costume.

Dave Herndon is the Video Coordinator for Heritage Media, and also the author of the pop culture news and review blog “Confessions of a 20-Something Manchild.” Contact him at 1-734-246-0867 or dherndon@heritage.com. Follow him on Facebook and @NHDaveH on Twitter. 

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