When I first heard about Universal Fan Con being cancelled, I’d just booked a one night stay at a second hotel because our hotel was booked and wouldn’t allow us to arrive before Friday afternoon. It was literally minutes after—when I hopped on Twitter—that I read the unfortunate news. Then, a few more minutes later, my friend was texting me asking if I’d heard about Universal Fan Con.
While the community was justifiably angry, they rose to the challenge. Many residents made threads with sights to see in the Baltimore area. Many other conventions and events invited displaced con-goers to their events, offering discounts and spaces. But most importantly, the community banded together to create the pop-up con Wicomicon, which we attended.
Wicomicon was a one-day event, and while we knew we’d enjoy whatever they put together, I don’t think either of us was prepared for what we witnessed. Despite Universal Fan Con not panning out as planned, there was still an abundance of high energy and excitement to the event. The organizers pulled together a spectacular list of panels to keep attendees busy, such as the much-anticipated panels with cast members from Killjoys and The Magicians and a panel headed by April Reign, Angélique Roché, and Luke Cage’s Cheo Hodari Coker about the importance of diversity in media.
An impressive array of cosplayers attended Wicomicon, and there was even a cosplay contest that saw a Fallout cosplayer in an awe-inspiring version of the game’s ranger combat armor take it home.
There was no shortage of vendors with everything from T-shirts to consumables to handmade jewelry. Creators selling their own content talked passionately with attendees about their characters and their creations. We even got impressive musical performances from nerd musicians, Professor Shyguy and Wreck the System.
The best thing about the event was the diversity of people who came out to show support for Wicomicon. As someone who has attended a few cons, there can be something a bit impersonal about many of them. Interactions at other cons can be limited, especially if you feel a little leery about interacting with some of the fanbase, but at Wicomicon, it really felt like a huge family coming together and trying to make the very best out of a bad situation. There was no judgment here. It was an intimate event that saw people coming together, being supportive of one another, and creating new bonds with people they didn’t know before the convention. The whole event was full of smiles and goodwill.
To end the night, attendees were invited to hang out at a restaurant for a little karaoke with the cast members of Killjoys and The Magicians. My friend and I didn’t initially think we’d be there long. The cast members mingled with attendees, however, with many of them going on stage to sing alone or in duets with fans. Jade Tailor from The Magicians stole the show with her amazing vocals. It was the perfect way to end a perfect event.
Every great hero has their origin story, and Wicomicon and the people involved in its creation are no exception. Rising from the ashes of what was once Universal Fan Con, Wicomicon demonstrates what the community can achieve when they pull together instead of falling apart.