Comic Con connects students

Junior Tyler Ekker stands for a photo-op with "Doctor Who" star Matt Smith.
Junior Tyler Ekker stands for a photo-op with “Doctor Who” star Matt Smith.

By Caroline Binley
Copy Editor
In 110 hours, junior Tyler Ekker could have done a lot. He could have seen a new movie, gone downtown or spent time with friends. In fact, when put back-to-back, all those hours add up to four and a half days, so Ekker could’ve done all three with time to spare.
However, Ekker spent that time teaching the cooking merit badge to Boy Scouts at Camp Napowan in Wild Rose, Wisconsin in order to pay for his ticket to Chicago Comic Con. Despite the long hours and hard work he had to put in to get to the convention, he feels it was well worth it.
Chicago Comic Con, formally known as Wizard World Chicago, celebrates everything nerdy and takes place every August. Many love the shows — “Doctor Who,” “Supernatural” and “Sherlock” among others — the convention caters to and being part of the fandoms that come along with them, but only a few students are lucky enough to go.
For those who dream of cosplaying (dressing up as fictional characters, but with far more creativity, dedication and attention to detail than you’d ever see on Halloween) and spend hours wishing they could meet countless fantastic but not quite mainstream celebrities, Comic Con makes dreams come true.
“Doctor Who” actor John Barrowman at Chicago Comic Con this summer.

This year, it gave Ekker a chance to meet “Doctor Who” stars Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and John Barrowman, and a year beforehand, it gave junior Megan Weiss the opportunity to meet Barrowman as well as “Star Trek” actor Zachary Quinto and “Harry Potter” stars James and Oliver Phelps.
“It was pretty exciting, meeting someone famous,” Weiss said. “Seeing them in person was pretty cool.”
But for Weiss, the convention wasn’t a perfect experience.
“Some of the same stuff happened over and over again,” Weiss said. “It was the same people with the same drawings and the same t-shirts they’d created. It became a little too much, I guess.”
Ekker’s trip wasn’t as monotone, but his spending habits weren’t as conservative either; between panels, photo-ops and paraphernalia, he spent more than $500. Weiss, on the other hand, didn’t pay for any panels or autographs and only spent around $130.
Although Weiss and Ekker had different experiences, visited the convention on different years and went with different people, they both attended the convention because of “Doctor Who,” a show that was the common thread between most convention-goers and continues to connect many Prospect students.
Junior Tyler Ekker poses with his girlfriend, who attends another school, in front of a TARDIS at Chicago Comic Con this summer.
Junior Tyler Ekker poses with his girlfriend, who attends another school, in front of a TARDIS at Chicago Comic Con this summer.

“Doctor Who” is a British television series that first aired in November 1963, and over the years, it has accumulated an international fanbase of over 110 million viewers. That fanbase has trickled into Prospect because of word of mouth as well as online popularity.
During her freshman year, one of junior Christina Kokoris’s friends convinced her to watch Doctor Who, and though she was unable to attend Comic Con this year because of an outside conflict, fandom shows still play a huge role in her life.
She still watches “Doctor Who,” as well as “Supernatural,” “Sherlock,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and more, and over 90 percent of her friends watch those same shows. Though television isn’t their only conversation topic, Kokoris admits it’s easier to make friends when they’re part of similar fandoms.
“If you have something [like a fandom] to talk about, then you find yourself talking about other things, and it just goes on from there,” Kokoris said. “The ‘Superwholock’ people, and even just the ‘[Doctor] Who’ people, get along. Everyone sticks together in the fandoms. It’s fabulous.”
Kokoris admits the shows aren’t always perfect — most notably, “Doctor Who’s” quality took a nose dive in its seventh season, and “Supernatural” did the same in its ninth — but her dedication to the shows and the community that goes along with them have kept her watching.
“It’s like when you read a book. Even when it gets bad, you keep going,” Kokoris said. “[I just like watching them] out of curiosity. You watch the first episode, and then you want to know what happens in the next one. Like the end of season nine of Supernatural, it’s probably going to be crappy next season, but you want to know what’s going to go down.”
Advice for attending Comic Con:
With Wizard World 2015 right around the corner (only 300+ days left!), here are a few tips from the experts:
Bring lots of money. According to junior Tyler Ekker, most things for sale at Comic Con are fairly priced, but since you’ll want to buy everything in the building, you should bring some extra cash.
Wear comfortable shoes. According to junior Megan Weiss, you won’t have many chances to sit, so you’ll need your most comfortable sneakers if you plan to stay all day.
Bring food and water. Otherwise, you’ll just end up paying for it, and that can get pricey. Weiss suggests bringing a few snacks and a water bottle to get you through the day.
Cosplay. According to both Ekker and Weiss, everyone else is doing it, so you have nothing to be worried about. Everyone at Comic Con will love and embrace your cosplay (that’s why they’re at Comic Con, for God’s sake!), so if cosplay is something you want to try, Comic Con is the place to do it.
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