Baby’s first Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood  of Chicago with Professor Foster (his “Brown Mom” wife), and their daughter Viva, who might just be ready for the San Diego Comic-Con.

This weekend, C2E2 – a massive geek convention – returned to McCormick Place. As a not-so-secret massive geek myself, I’ve wanted to go since the convention started in 2010 and have jealously watched on Facebook as many of my Dad friends have not only gone, but let their children “cosplay” at the event. (Cosplay is a fancy way of saying “dress like a character.”)

This year, I had a hole in my work schedule, and my friend Isaiah convinced me to not only go, but to bring my daughter, Viva. Isaiah was bringing his 3-year-old son Ethan dressed as Anakin Skywalker (or “Nakeykins Skywalker,” in Viva parlance), and his 1-year-old son Jackson dressed as Yoda (a.k.a. “The Green Elf from Star Wars”).

I knew I needed to go and that Viva would need to be Princess Leia. She didn’t know who Princess Leia was, but convincing her wasn’t so hard:

“Do you want to go to a big comic book festival with Ethan?”

“I love festivals.”

“People wear costumes there. Do you want to dress up?”

“Can I be Elsa?”

“Do you want to be a Star Wars princess?”

“Ooh … a Star Wars PRINCESS? Yes!”

As you may know from last week’s article, I only just introduced Viva to Star Wars by letting her watch the Episode VII trailer. If I was going to dress her as Princess Leia, she was going to need to know who Princess Leia was by showing her a little of A New Hope. We’ve shielded her from most violent imagery in the house thus far, and she still isn’t sure what guns are all about yet, so I chose judiciously.

We watched the detention center rescue where Han Solo and “Greg Skywalker” take “the big, silly, furry guy” to save Princess Leia. She did notice that “those white helmet guys are really trying to laser them” and that “Greg Skywalker is really tantruming and breaking all the computers, so he can save the Princess.”

Then we watched the trash compactor scene. Check out the video at the bottom of this article for her summary.

Now that she knew who Princess Leia was, I got a tutorial from my mother on how to do side hair buns, I got a Darth Vader “#1 Dad” T-shirt, and we were off to the con.

I’ll admit that I had reservations that the con might be too many “Walking Dead” zombies, too many guns and swords, and too many busty “booth babes” for my 3-year-old. We had to do some prep first.

“There are going to be a lot of people dressed up.”

“Like Halloween?”

“Just like Halloween, but for grown-ups. And you’ll be Princess Leia.”

“But I’ll still be Viva, right?”

“You’ll still be Viva, but dressed like Princess Leia. And the grown-ups will be grown-ups, but dressed like characters from Star Wars and Batman and Spider-Man. And some might be scary monsters and robots with lasers, but they are only in costumes.”

“I like Batman.”

The moment we got out of the car, she was delighted to see a Catwoman, a Riddler, a TARDIS and a “PedoBear” – I didn’t explain that one.

When we hit the door, three Stormtroopers came to greet her.

“The guys from Star Wars by the garbage smasher! Hi!”

She was delighted, I was delighted, and I think we had almost instantly sealed the deal that we’ll be a comic-con-going family until my daughter develops a teenage resentment for my love of GI Joe, Star Trek, Archer and the like.

We got to meet some people Daddy got very excited about, like the Syfy makeup show’s former champion FaceOff, local makeup artist Anthony Kosar and former pro-wrestler and GI Joe member Sargeant Slaughter.

As for scary monsters and booth babes, nothing was particularly scary, and we never met a Harley Quinn, Stay Puft or Master Chief who wasn’t gentle and awesome with the kids.

The burlesque dancers from Chicago’s Gorilla Tango troupe were especially nice to Leia and Nakeykins, and they took photos of them next to their life-size R2D2 statues in their boa-strewn booth.

The kids were, I have to brag, a particular hit on the con floor because you haven’t lived until you’ve seen 3-year-old Leia and Anakin holding hands and gawking at everything from a contortionist LeeLoo from The Fifth Element to a Groot on stilts with a baby Groot in a pot.

The highlight of the con for Viva (other than eating a soft pretzel) was meeting an insanely tall Chewbacca, the “silly, furry guy” who is her favorite Star Wars character.

My Geek Dad mission was accomplished – I successfully brought my daughter to C2E2 and she loved it. We’ll have to decide who she’ll be next year. The Baroness? Fluttershy? Amy Pond? The trouble will come in ten years or so when she wants to go as a fishnetted, blood-strewn Cassie Hack or a jailbait Barbarella or a “sexy” Deadpool.

That's when Dad might have to make a prisoner transfer to cell 1138.

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