Going to Emerald City Comicon together has become a tradition for Rob and Westley. Westley is just now getting really interested in the actual comics part, thanks to Tiny Titans, but he's always been excited to see people in costume. This year, Westley decided he wanted to dress up too.
Last year, ECC was a guys-only weekend. But this year, I was invited to join the fun. (Officially, I'm invited every year by Rob, who likes us to do geeky things as a family.) It was very important to Westley that I come and meet his "friends."
I thought he was being cute, referring to grown-up strangers dressed as superheroes and Stormtroopers as "friends." It was a four-year-old kid quirk, similar to the way he says "I have a friend of him" about any fictional character he likes or toy he covets. But Westley was right (as usual): con-going cosplayers are friends.
Everyone was so lovely to Westley. And not just the folks from the 501st Legion, for whom being nice to little kids is part of the deal. Requests for pictures were met with an enthusiastic "of course!" People in costumes are generally pretty pleased to be photographed by almost anyone. The Comic Book Fans/People Who Know How To Sew Venn diagram has a bigger middle section than one might imagine, and these people have worked long and hard on their regalia. Many are suffering for their art-slash-hobby!
This guy's button says "Cosplay Hurts."
But insert a tiny Sith Lord into the mix, and people were genuinely thrilled to stop for a photo. I heard several cries—mostly from young women in shiny bodysuits—of, "Aww! Mini Vader!" In addition to collecting pictures, Westley got his share of thumbs-up and high-fives.
Children, especially those in costume, occupy an interesting space at Comicon. The event isn't really geared towards them so there's not much for them to do, but people are thrilled to have them there. Strangers offer to help with light sabers and helmets. People smile and wave.
Rob believes all of the friendliness is a side-effect of getting hundreds of people together in person to share a hobby they all genuinely enjoy. I think a child at a non-child-centered event reminds people of their own joy, and the sense of un-self-conscious fandom that moved them to play dress-up in the first place. Either way, we're all friends here.