ROTA Con was a small comic convention with a lot of potential. It was busy and lively for a single room with a handful of vendors, music, card game competitions and a few hundred visitors.
Nerd culture is growing in popularity, and more and more cons are popping up all over the place, including Plattsburgh.
This year was the 7th ROTA Con, run by Crystal Georgescu, who was running it for the first time.
Last year, ROTA didn’t hold a comic convention, but Georgescu wanted to give it another try, and brought in artists and vendors, who in turn attracted nerds and cosplayers alike.
Locals attended ROTA Con as well as college students, all excited for the small slice of nerdy heaven. Its always fun to see others dressed up as characters from a favorite show or comic book, and there were quite a few cosplayers attending.
Youtuber and college student Sky Florez said it was the smallest con he’d ever been to, but he could be seen around the con, recording his reaction to the con as well as others attending.
However, the sentiment that it felt more like a garage sale than a con seemed to be a trend, mostly because all of the vendors there were selling from their own collection of nerd gear. This may have taken away from the larger-than-life feel that comes with bigger events like Vermont Con or the even more popular New York Comic Con, but on the plus side everything was a lot cheaper.
Florez had been excited buying a Kingdom Hearts video game for five dollars instead of the usual con price of 40.
Cosplayer Meghan Murphy, who spent the con dressed up as Mabel Pines from Gravity Falls, had a few people and vendors come up to her and ask for pictures. When asked about ROTA Con specifically, she had said she’d been to larger venues.
First-time cosplayer Maranda Fielder attended ROTA Con, dressed as a human, female version of the character Bill Cypher, also from Gravity Falls.
Her costume completely covered her face, and she couldn’t see for most of the time she was there, until she took her two hoods off. She recommends making sure you are able to see if you want to attend any kind of con.
Cosplay has become such a huge part of nerd culture. Something as simple as dressing up as a comic book or video game character can now be a profession. Cosplayers have become a huge part of conventions and are rising in popularity, just like all the fun nerdy things have done over the years.
Its interesting that something that kids would’ve been bullied over just a few generations ago is a now cool thing to like and mainstream enough to have huge events and venues for us to attend.
It may not have the hype of a sports game, or half as many stadiums to hold these events, but more cons come together for several different areas of the nerd fandoms.
Leaky Con was made specifically for Harry Potter fans and evolved into a fantasy convention, while PAX Prime is geared towards gamers.
There is huge business in this niche area of entertainment, and it’s finally seeing some light.
With large crowds; however, there also comes a certain amount danger.
While it’s very unlikely that the kid in his mom’s basement means any harm, there are still those who go to cons and disrespect other con-goers.
Cosplay is not consent is a huge campaign across all cons, regardless of type or region. Cosplayers work hard on their costumes, some of which are delicate and all of which are expensive. It’s nearly inevitable that a cosplayer will have something on their costume break. They’re packed into a room full of other people who are all excited and they’re walking around all day in that kind of crowded energy.
Some people just don’t seem to understand boundaries though, and will go up to a cosplayer and tug on their costume or touch them inappropriately. Because of this, there are always posters and fliers around cons, reminding all of us to respect cosplayers and treat them as humans, not characters.
As our numbers grow, these cons have better reception and larger venues. Tiny cons like ROTA could eventually become larger and draw more crowds, which will only make the cons larger in turn.
ROTA Con may have been the smallest con seen by most in the nerd community, but the fact that it’s still going on only provides a starting platform for an eventually larger con.
As Murphy said at ROTA, “Everyone starts somewhere, so treat it as a big con and one day it will be.”