Fandoms are vast and varied. They can be built on a shared passion of books, films, tv shows, comic books or games. Many people are members of more than one fandom. In order for them to have a place where they can meet, converse, take part in related activities and even buy merchandise, fan conventions were created. The first ones took place in the 1930s.
Fan conventions are gatherings that take place at a specific time and place. Fans of certains films, television series, comic books, actors, or even entire genres of entertainment such as science fiction or anime and manga gather to participate and hold programs. During these conventions they can meet experts, artists, actors, etc. Sometimes, the fan conventions also host commercial activities.
During the 1930’s and the 1940’s, the science fiction genre blossomed. As such, the first fan conventions were held by fans and authors of this particular genre. It was also them that first introduced the idea of wearing costumes at conventions, at the First World Science Fiction Convention that took place in 1939 in New York. The convention, then named Nycon I and now known as WorldCon was attended by authors such as L. Spague de Camp and Issac Asimov. Europe also came with a counter part convention known as EasterCon. This year it celebrates its 65th birthday.
The first media convention took place in Japan. It was a comic and cartoon fan convention (manga and anime) named MEG – CON that took place in 1962. Ten years afterwards, fans of the Star Trek series decided they wanted their own convention and rented a hotel ballroom. Thus, the Star Trek Convention was born.
Since the first conventions, these cons have become world-wide events. They are usually informal gatherings that are not organized by professionals. At them fans can gather and take part in panels and competitions, discuss theories and meet with others who share the same interests. Sometimes, award ceremonies take place during these cons. For example, WorldCon hosts the famous Hugo Awards for speculative fiction writing.
Nowadays genre specific fan conventions are getting rarer and rarer. Most tend to be multi-genre events that include many elements of fan culture. Have you been to any fan conventions?
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