a picture of comic con, lines of booths and visitors

How Much to Touch You?

By Cheryl Lemus

This past May, I paid someone to let me touch them and take pictures with them while my family watched. Now before you freak out, I should clarify that my family and I traveled to the Motor City Comic Con in mid-May. I’ll be honest; I am a late comer to the comic convention world. It’s a subculture that I am only beginning to understand. While I’m there, I feel like I am looking through glass, observing the behaviors, expectations, and ideals that hang in the air as fans, writers, retailers, and celebrities converge in a generic space converted into a place of worship, commerce, and fun. As a historian and feminist, I find myself asking questions and thinking about how comic conventions sit in a larger historical context of sex, gender, class, race, and culture. Yet, at the same time, the fan in me screams, “Screw that, I’m about to take a picture with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan!” My scholarly training and fan excitement have blended into a persona that has accepted that I will geek over the site of the 11th Doctor, but even so, I cannot help wonder why I am handing over my credit card to have a few brief moments with a designated VIP, or better yet, what am I expecting in this transaction?