UT’s Attack on Comic Con brings pop culture fans together

Victor Trevino

After browsing online costume shops all night, social work sophomore Kathryn Merchant finally clicks “buy” on a Regina costume from “Once Upon a Time,” hoping it will be recognizable and not received as the “generic bad witch.” 

Merchant will don her costume for Attack on Comic Con, UT’s take on the recent trend of pop culture conventions, which brings together fans of comics, anime and science fiction for an evening of socialization and impersonation. Campus Events + Entertainment’s Asian American Culture branch will host the event from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25 in the SAC ballroom. 

Some of the available activities are an “Attack on Titan”-themed bean bag toss, Kamehameha contest, celebrity trivia game and the main event: a cosplay contest.

While those unfamiliar with comic cons may be overwhelmed by the amount of people wearing obscure costumes, the conventions are all about meeting people with similar interests and getting to know other fandoms. 

“The comic cons I’ve been to are full of people just looking to have a great time,” Merchant said. “Everyone is all smiles, and there’s no judging allowed.”

Event coordinator Van-Anh Van-Dinh said the space is welcoming to enthusiasts of anything entertainment-related.

“We want people who are interested in pop culture to just be themselves,” said Van-Dinh, a business freshman.

Cosplaying, which is the practice of dressing up as a fictional character, is an integral part of comic cons. While it can be fun, some students believe cosplaying still carries a social stigma. Accounting sophomore Alton Braxton said a part of the reason he will dress up as Finn from “Star Wars” is because it’s one of the more socially acceptable costumes to wear when walking across campus. 

Although no celebrities will make an appearance at Attack on Comic Con, as they do in larger conventions, Braxton said he is more concerned with the social aspect of the event.

“Everyone goes to UT, so I’m more excited about getting to know new people than about meeting a game developer,” Braxton said. 

Van-Dinh said she expects the event to be a success because Austinites flock to pop culture conventions.

“This is the first time we put on Attack on Comic Con,” Van-Dinh said. “If it’s a success, we want to make it bigger next year and invite people to form a panel.”