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Pensacon 2017 Pensacola’s Comic Con

Why you should’ve been at Pensacon this weekend…

There are many people that wouldn’t necessarily understand the buzz behind an event like Pensacon, but for approximately 20,000+ people, the 3-Day event is worth the invested time and money it takes to participate in an exciting weekend full of costumes, art and electrifying interactions with all kinds of other nerdy people.

This year’s festivities marked Pensacon’s 4th year in the game, and the ability of this convention to draw out a crowd of awesome geeks and amazing nerds is still stellar and nothing short of wonderful!

I happen to be one of those geeks.

And although I am not necessarily a huge fan of every single guest and celebrity on Pensacon’s roster, there were quite a few people I definitely wanted to meet.

Which brings me to the real reason I am writing this: People are captivated by a story they can relate to; everyone loves a good story with a hero, a problem to overcome and someone needing to be rescued.

I believe this is why Pensacon is so successful and so awe-inspiring. Not only do people get to meet their heroes or the ones that change their lives forever, but those heroes get to meet their own heroes, whether it’s the other guests and celebrities, or even the fans. This is the true heart of why Pensacon is so beloved; each and every participant gets an intimate, close-up encounter with some amazing human beings.

One of my favorite encounters was with Bob Camp, one of the co-creators for The Ren & Stimpy Show. I can recall like it was yesterday, watching that cartoon with my dad when I was 11 years old, and the impression it made on my young mind. It was then that I decided pursuing a degree in graphic design was the way to go. I wanted to be an illustrator or an animator, and the imagination and creativity I witnessed in that cartoon series cultivated something in me that would eventually lead me to tattoo for 10 years and love every minute of it!

Another wonderful encounter I had was with Gates McFadden(Dr. Beverly Crusher, Star Trek: The Next Generation). Not only was her panel inspiring for future scientists and the advancement of technologies and science for the human race, but she was surprisingly very down-to-earth and humble. Being able to talk with her about the late Oliver Sacks, his writings and great accomplishments was most enjoyable. A funny moment happened while waiting in a line to speak with her; a volunteer was giving directions on how to line up and a young man asked,”Is this the line for Beverly?” Which is humorous only because Beverly is Gates’ character’s name on the show. Sometimes, these actors and actresses portray a character so well and so relatable, that I think we as spectators have a hard time separating the idea from the reality. One year, I cosplayed as Michonne(The Walking Dead), and had a little boy ask me why I did something particular in one of the episodes of the series, and I didn’t know how to respond! My guess is that my cosplay was just that believable.

One of my favorite panels to sit in on was the Stranger Things panel at the Saenger Theatre on Sunday. The panel had the best turnout of any of the Pensacon panels, and it was still the most seemingly intimate of all. The cast talked through how they got their roles in the series. They shared how surprised they are from the show’s overwhelming response and how the cult-following of the series has grown over the past year and only 8 episodes in! It was refreshing to hear famous people recall the shock of finding out that someone like Stephen King had tweeted about the series in which they all play integral roles. It was also great listening on Randall P. Havens'(Mr. Clarke, Stranger Things) perspective on being a fan, as well as getting fan response from fellow celebrities at Pensacon,”I totally fangirled on the cast of Game of Thrones, and they fangirled on me! (In a shrill voice)’Oh my God they know who I am! They’re on game of thrones!‘”

It was also inspiring to hear Glennellen Anderson(Nicole, Stranger Things) talk about how it felt to be part of something so big that didn’t really seem like much at the time of casting,”I booked this show in a very trying time in my short 22 years. I was just in a rut and this show came at the right time for me.” That panel gave us so much insight into the actor’s/actress’ mind and a perspective that you don’t really get to witness in any other setting other than one like Pensacon.

Pensacon is more than just a gathering of what seems like a strange bunch of people that have a child-like imagination and perspective on life. Pensacon is a conglomeration of stories, dreams, passion and talent, crammed into a jam-packed weekend of excitement and fun! If you ever get the urge to venture out to pay homage to the stories that have help shaped the identities of many, or just want to spectate at an event full of awe and wonder, Pensacon is definitely the convention that will never let you down.

-Lorena Mitchell

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