This past Saturday was the second annual Flaming River Con and was held in Rocky River at the West Shore Unitarian Universalists Church. I brought my best friends who happen to be a straight married couple and we decided to check it out. I had been excited for going since they announced the event early in summer. As it got closer I was hopeful for what the turn out would be like. We arrived just after 12:30 and the parking lot was packed and my excitement was escalated. We are making circles in the parking lot, skillfully looking for a spot. All I can see is my fellow LGBTQ community showing up, many of which in costumes.
Suddenly, I am filled with the emotions of the first time going to an amusement park. I am pretty low key when it comes to comic cons. I am not comfortable about dressing up as my heroes, so I am usually limited to wearing a t-shirt of anyone of my favorite villains or heroes. Today I decided to wear a blue cargo kilt and a grey Batman shirt, sort of as a mock throw back to the original Batman colors. I look around and I see the levels of peoples cosplay and I am just struck by the talent and creativity.
As we walked in we were greeted by the Welcoming table. They offer information about the event and its roots. Talk about the raffles and what to expect. Thankfully, my friends paid attention because I was more like a kid in a candy store. My gaze feasting from one sight to another, trying to see it all. We purchase our tote bags, make our donations and I am still lost in all the people around me. As we move into the building we pass other tables for groups, rooms for all the panel discussions, and finally we enter what can only be described as geek heaven, the vendor floor.
Now many of us have been to comic cons before, the vendor floor is by large the biggest space at them and it’s where we, as collectors, find the rare statues or figures we have been searching for, for what seems our entire lives. Here it was different, it was local artists showcasing their talents and passions for the community. This is the type of vendor floor that makes me happy. If you ask me what my favorite booth was the Adopt A Monster booth by C. M. Manfredi’s Emporium of Wonders . Her handmade creatures were amazing and I think I fell in love with everyone of them. Please check out her link and support her. There were handmade Pride stained glass, artists of every flavor, and even locally made cosplay gear. Taranis Works was on site to suit your leather goods needs. From pride colored spiked bracelets, leather eye patches, full arm guards, and leather belt bags. Check out his site for anything you may need made to your specifications.
Many may ask why there is a need for an LGBTQ event such as this and my response is the need is important for us to have a place where we can feel at ease celebrating who we are and what we love. Sure we can do this at the larger Cons, but speaking to LGBTQ representation in comic/sci-fi/horror culture would be unheard of. Here we had Sine Grace signing autographs and discussing his role in making Iceman a representative of the LGBTQ community. These are the stepping stones for young LGBTQ youth to have role models and sources of strength and self worth. Comic books shape us as children and oftentimes they do not represent all of society. This even allows that to happen and to celebrate it.
Thank you Flaming River Arts for putting on this event and seeing the importance for it to happen. Thank you to each person who was in attendance for it, you are the ones that make this a success. I look forward to next year and how much more it grows. It is the only place where we can be our true LGBTQ geek selves. So make sure we continue to offer your support to them. Thank you again to Flaming River Con.