DC Con is one of the two conventions that are local for me – that I can drive to. I set out early Friday morning down I95 to DC, or rather to Crystal City, where this con is usually held. On the way, I thought a lot about my good friend and co-author of ‘Fangasm’ and several of my other books on fandom and Supernatural, Kathy Larsen. We fell in love with the show together way back when it began, and fell into fan studies as a result, both of us changing the trajectory of our professional careers to focus on what fandom is all about and why it’s so often wonderful. I needed tissues as I drove, the route familiar because of all the days I drove down to Kathy’s house just outside of DC – to work on research, to go to a convention, to just hang out and watch episodes of Supernatural and squee together. I miss those days. I miss my friend.
So I was already emotional before I even got there. Another fandom friend had experienced a great loss shortly before the con, a tragic accident that took her husband’s life. I was looking forward to hugging her and hoping that she’d find solace at the con and being with her fandom family. I remember when my dad passed away seven years ago – I got the news just as I arrived at a Supernatural convention in San Francisco, and while I was in shock for some of it, there was no better or more supportive place to be. I felt cared for, and loved, and consoled, by both my fellow fans and by the actors, who went out of their way to comfort me. I didn’t even tell them, but somehow they knew. It’s the best part of fandom – especially the SPNFamily – the outpouring of love and support when you need it. I’ve felt it myself, and I hope I’ve helped give it to others who’ve needed it.
This con was about that, about an outpouring of love and support — for my friend and fellow Supernatural fan Krista, who has terminal brain cancer. The con and the SNS were dedicated to her, the actors and the fans expressing their love and gratitude, and saying an emotional goodbye. I still find it hard to believe that she won’t still be sitting there in front of me at the cons, video camera rolling. I’m so grateful we all had a chance to show her how much she’s meant to so many of us.
I first met Krista in 2009 when she started going to Supernatural cons. Over the years, I often sat right behind her, my voice sometimes (unfortunately) in her con videos as I laughed too hard or sang too loud. She contributed some of her beautiful photos to Family Don’t End With Blood. We shared some fun times over the many years – trips to the original Starbucks and the fish market in Seattle, where Krista showed she knew how to order a fish.
Fun times in Rome at the only JIB I’ve been able to go to.
Dinners out on con evenings.
Krista was kind enough to emcee the book release party for Family Don’t End With Blood in LA, helping make that night incredibly special.
We’ve shared a lot of fun times. And lots and lots of laughs.
So this con, for me, was about celebrating the people I’ve been on this journey with, both from the start and along the way, and feeling incredibly grateful to have them in my life. It was a reminder of how truly special fandom – and especially this fandom – can be. Forget the stupid polls of which ship is better or the purposely inflammatory posts about how the show should have ended. This is what it’s all about.
I was on my own in the vendor room for most of Friday so I didn’t make it into the theater, which was sad because a lot of awesome people were there – Gil McKinney, David Haydn-Jones, Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, DJ Qualls, Julian Richings to name a few. Friday night I went to karaoke, which has been reinvigorated by DJ Qualls and his themed nights. This one was ‘The British Are Coming’, and DJ was dressed perfectly on a stage complete with Big Ben, the Yellow Submarine, and even the lanterns for one if by land two if by sea! Some of the fans’ cosplay was perfection too – and some of the performances!
Saturday and Sunday some lovely friends were able to sit at the vendor table for me sometimes, so I was able to catch some panels – including Misha Collins on Saturday. Like most of the actors, Misha wore his green #KristaCon shirt in honor of Krista. Rob gave him a supportive pat when he came onstage, all of them feeling emotional.
Misha to Krista: Thank you for being such a force of joy and optimism over the years.
That is so very very true.