VIDEO: Geeking out at San Diego Comic Con

Comic book culture is full of colorful superhero headquarters: Batman has the Batcave, the X-Men have the X-Mansion, and Comic Con has San Diego. Since 1970, this SoCal city has hosted San Diego Comic Con, the largest pop convention in the world. So Mike Ciriaco hit up the San Diego Convention Center to geek out with queer writers, artists, and cosplayers. Let’s get Homo Superior!

“I think its great all the amenities San Diego has in and around its large enough to host something this big” Alec Crow, an openly gay conventioneer visiting from Dallas. “There aren’t a lot of cities that can host. I heard that 130,000 people come out for this convention. Which is an insane number. So, finding a place to have that many people is difficult. So it’s great to have all the things around.”

Alec is a member of the cosplay community, a subculture where participants don costumes to assume pop culture identities. Think “nerd drag.” For Sina Grace, an openly gay comic book writer who just announced he’ll be penning the teen Clark Kent story Superman: Harvest of Youth, cosplay is innately homo-normative.

“Cosplay alone is sort of queer in its own way,” said Sina, in the Image Comics press room, “in a beautiful way. You see the characters people feel liberated and open to cosplaying as.”

And this liberation extends to all orientations and races. This was exemplified by Wester, a straight cosplayer of color, who found solace in the identity of Maui from the movie Moana.

“Maui was the first character that kinda looked like me that I could dress up as and people would be like, oh, that’s a brown Caption America or that’s a brown version of that guy,” said Wester. “I used to come as Captain America and people would be like ‘It’s Captain Mexico haha.’ I don’t like that, so doing this was super empowering and felt really cool to do.”

This gay geekery permeates beyond the convention center, specifically into the gayborhood of Hillcrest. San Diego’s homo hub of is home to numerous gay bars, such as Urban Mo’s. On Friday night, this local watering hole hosted Kickxy’s Cosplay Battle Extravaganza , featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Chad Michaels and the titular Kickxy Vixen- Style. 

“This is a show I bring every year and there are different categories: Star Wars, Super Hero, Supervillain,” listed off Kickxy, “having fun with it, and making it gay. There was nothing like it 15 years ago, this is me doing my part to bring a little gay into comic con geek week.”

And for Sina, San Diego is an ideal headquarters for the gay geeks of Comic Con, because its already caters well to SoCal’S queer communities.

“Geographically, it’s very gay friendly,” Sina opined. “It’s sunny, it’s bright. Happiness and queerness aren’t always the same thing, but it’s bringing out a lot of happy gays.”

To paraphrase Ron Burgundy, “You stay geeky, San Diego!”