By Dave Smith
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A tall, hooded figure stalks through the shadows edging the crowd. Close behind, a gruesome alien holding a wicked blade closes ground while a knot of legendary comic book super-heroes block the path.
This wasn’t a teaser for the latest blockbuster movie, but an event for science fiction and comic book enthusiasts. The inaugural Colorado Springs Comic Con, August 26-28, was a popular destination for members of Team Pete and a wing dedicated to space, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
As far back as the late 1930s comic books and the military have been an item. During a similar timeframe the earliest science fiction movies included the military. Consider the famous Star Wars films and countless military-based sci-fi video games like HALO and Call of Duty.
Master Sgt. Nathan Hudson, 721st Communications Squadron flight chief of quality assurance, was one enthusiast enjoying the convention. He has attended similar events for about 30 years. His first convention was at age 11 when he attended the famed San Diego Comic-Con.
“I’ve always enjoyed seeing what people do,” Hudson said. “I like the costumes and the creativity.”
Hudson said there is a lot of military influence in many of the costumes and props found at the events. As a matter of fact, that’s what drew him in. He said a friend was repairing a remote-controlled space vehicle replica when Hudson noticed something familiar.
“I said, ‘That looks like a fill cable,’” Hudson said. “I use those all the time at work. I can see a lot of military items used in these things.”
Another Airman who got pulled into the world of conventions years ago is Lt. Col. Christine Millard, 21st Comptroller Squadron commander. Attending such events is something her family enjoys doing together.
“This is something my family can enjoy together,” Millard said. “I like the nostalgia and seeing all of the people in costumes. I’ve been going to cons longer than most of these people have been alive.”
Comparatively, Staff Sgt. Andrea Brunsvold, 21st Security Forces Squadron unit deployment manager, is newer to the con scene, but enjoys it just as much as the veteran attendees. She attended her first in 2012 and the Colorado Springs event is her third convention. This time she decided to participate in a costume, dressing in a Cat Woman costume.
“This is the first time I’ve cosplayed,” she said. “I’ve always been a big fan of Batman, so being Cat Woman was big.”
For all Airmen who participated, having the convention near home was a positive thing, Hudson said. Normally a trip to Denver, or farther, is necessary to enjoy similar events.
“I am glad something is close by,” said Hudson. He was able to attend and enjoy the vendors, special guests and numerous attendees dressed as their favorite characters, then run home, put on his own costume and return.
Among the many celebrities, artists and creative folks found at these events, it is the non-publicized part of the convention that gets the most attention.
“I like the people most of all,” Brunsvold said. “It’s a relaxed (environment) and extremely fun.”