BEFORE THE CON
This year, I was lucky enough to attend Wizard World St. Louis as part of the press. Eager to spend an entire weekend deep in local and national nerddom alike, I looked forward to the event for months. Sadly, our 9-month-old was too sick for the whole family to go, and my nearly-4-year-old daughter needed a parent around who could, you know, feed and entertain her without taking care of a sick baby.
So, I took her with me.
We told her she could dress up, so she wanted to wear the new costume we got her for her birthday: The fairy version of Mia from the hit kids TV show, Mia and Me.
I parked close to where the entrance was a few years back, not realizing nor remembering the entrance this year was the better part of a mile away. This can feel like much farther when you're walking with a 4-year-old, and even longer when you're walking back to your car. But, eventually, we made our way there.
COMIC CON: FIRST STEPS
Now, all kids are different. But it quickly became clear that this Comic Con was all about her. Long lunches with creators? Out the window. That class on inking? No way she's gonna sit through it. No, the first thing she asked was, "Where's the food, Daddy?"
Ten minutes later, we get our burger, hot dog, and fries and sit on the floor, since there were so few tables around. I had to juggle making sure she didn't run off from the food and drinks and our place on the floor while I got ketchup for the both of us, but it turned out all right.
"What do we do now?" I wondered. I hadn't planned for this. I have no experience entertaining young kids at comic conventions. So, we walked around, anxious to find something she might be interested in. We passed a giant installment for the new How To Train Your Dragon film, with life-size dragons, and made a couple small purchases: a fantastical unicorn coaster and a unicorn lip balm sheath/keychain. A kind lady gave her a rose. And, in no time, we made our way to the kids area.
At first, there wasn't much in the kids area. Some crayons and coloring pages. A couple small, unmanned games, like Ring Toss.
Then, the princesses showed up. To a 4-year-old girl, those weren't two women dressed up as Disney princesses. Those were Moana and Belle.
This little girl was at a loss for words. What do you say to princesses you've only seen in movies? She didn't know what to do with herself!
"Turn around and smile," I suggested, before taking this picture. She seemed pretty pleased.
COSPLAY: IS THIS WHAT COMIC CON IS ABOUT?
Then, it clicked for her. This must be what Comic Con is about: meeting princesses and superheroes. And thus, we made our way from there, stopping for a photo-op with Superman, himself:
We also met Batman and Deadpool, who she chatted to nonstop, refusing to pause and turn toward the camera.
But the real show-stopper for her? The person she COULD NOT BELIEVE she met in person, who she's idolized since watching Miraculous for the first time on Netflix months ago? Ladybug.
She couldn't speak. She didn't know what to do with her hands. Beaming, she gawked up at Ladybug, unable to believe she was really here.
"Are you OK if we get a picture," I asked, not wanting to assume it was all right, especially when the cosplayer didn't seem like a volunteer at the event.
"Sure!" she said, happy to make a little girl's day.
AND NOW, A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS...
After all that time meeting superheroes and princesses, I wanted to take a little time to walk the grounds and meet some comics creators. While I have no footage of this, mostly trying to meet folks, buy comics and not take up too much time, I was most excited to check out the Source Point Press booth and meet Timothy Bach, whose comic I reviewed a few months back. But I was also excited to meet local creators whose names I hadn't heard before, buying their comics so I could find out what kind of stuff St. Louis locals were making.
My daughter played it cool the whole time, taking in all the sights and being remarkably patient for a 4-year-old. I thanked her by taking her to get her face painted – something she's always loved to do whenever possible. The line was long and moving slowly, but she was just jazzed to be there. She and the young girl waiting behind us danced to music no one could hear for many long minutes. It was cute seeing girls that happy, dressed as fairies and superheroes. And, when it finally came time to sit in the chair, the woman applying the face paint did an incredible job! (Click to see both images.)
ENDING THE DAY
We made a few more laps around the place. I think my daughter was mostly trying to find Ladybug again, but was happy to meet a princess and a couple other strange characters.
After awhile, it felt like it was time to go. Without sitting in on any of the programming, and seeing most of the same cosplayers for the past five laps, we felt like we had done everything we'd come to do. Also, I was worried I'd buy every comic in the place if I stayed much longer.
So, if you have a child who's 3 or 4, and you're wondering if you should bring them to Wizard World Comic Con St. Louis 2020, I'd say DO IT. We had a blast.
Just make sure you schedule in a separate day for yourself, if there's any programming you want to see that you don't think your kid would sit through.