By Nick Stern, Copy Editor | Photos By Marie Bishop
The fourth annual Albuquerque Comic Expo brings beyond just the celebrities, geek culture vendors, and more than 10,000 visitors, the expo passes a major boost to the local economy.
The expo was held at the Albuquerque Convention Center from June 27 to 29 and according to kob.com, brought more than $3 million dollars to the surrounding economy, but the bucks will not stop there according to a Kickstarter account made by the convention’s organizers.
The Kickstarter that raised more than $20,000 from 268 backers was made not only to help with the funds for the convention to bring activities like a pre-party, a documentary on the event, and the ACE Dungeons (a “fully realized live-action roleplaying game”).
But is also funding an ongoing project with the new ACE Headquarters retail location where science fiction and comic book nerds will be able geek-out all year long.
CNM participants had a big part in the convention this year as well, with holding educational panels such as The Evolution of the Comic Book Hero from the CNM Science Fiction and Fantasy Club, which went into the changes in comic book protagonists over the course of time in pop culture.
Also, the Who Watches the Watchmen: the Promise and Peril of Globalization panel, presented by CHSS instructor Ben Emery, which was an in-depth discussion about Alan Moore’s world renowned graphic novel, the Watchmen.
The discussion was held with Comic Book Artist and Writer Amanda Conner, who has had her own influence in the Watchmen universe, she said.
“I think my favorite part about it (ACE) is the people are really nice. I like the fans. The fans are so sweet and so fun to talk to. And before it gets really hot, the weather is gorgeous,” Conner said.
The conversation between Conner, Emery and the audience ranged from the pros and cons of globalization to a topic on the acceptance of extreme violence in society and the absurdity of what is not acceptable in society.
Emery mentions how comics, especially Watchmen, take feminine characters and make them more powerful and able to rule than the masculine characters of the books, he said.
Even at the convention, among cos-play, the costumes that could be considered the most risqué are used for an entirely different effect, he said.
“Instead of being associated with procreation, sexiness is associated with lethality,” he said.
Emery said that in the spring semester of 2015 he plans on teaching a course that will be based on comic books and society, and will include Watchmen as one of the readings covered, Emery said.
Conner said she believes the geek culture definitely got huge within the last decade and has noticed that it eventually became something to not be afraid of being openly interested in.
Today’s society is much more accepting of people who are obsessed with different genres of the culture and that is such a huge difference from the way people were treated in the past and now no one has to consider liking anime or comic books to be a guilty pleasure that is kept secret, Conner said.
“I think people just got more comfortable in their own skin being nerds and geeks. A lot of people were afraid, because back in my day you used to get beat up in high school for that,” she said.
Conner also said loves the different conventions like ACE and what they provide the community with which is basically a chance to get together and be a part of something bigger and allows everyone to go a bit crazy for the stuff they love.
“It’s like some people go to football games and baseball games for their geek culture; we go to comic book conventions and love to see cos-players for our geek culture. This is sort of the equivalent of going to a ball game for people who love comics and science fiction,” Conner said.
Fine Arts major Emily Debee, who was with Gamer’s Anonymous at the event said, that the game store partnered up with GameStop this year to bring new and different gaming tournaments to the event.
Debee said her favorite part of the expo was all of the different costumes people wear, and that there were fewer costumes this year, but that the turnout was still incredible regardless.
Debee also mentioned that she thinks the comic convention and celebrity culture helped bump the geek culture to the incredible size it is now, she said.
“It’s always been big to the people who are in it. I love ACE, it’s so cool to come here every year and find out that there are people who live in New Mexico who are into the same games as you and into the same anime as you,” Debee said.
Debee also noticed how ACE has grown from more of a local thing into a larger event with more people coming from out of town in costume every year, and she said she expects it to keep on getting bigger and better each year.