The Metro Toronto Convention Centre held the Toronto ComiCon  on Friday, Mar. 20th until Sunday, Mar. 22nd. The three day event brought fans from all over the country and guests from all over the world.

Fans from all forms of nerd culture came in drones, standing in close quarters with strangers just waiting to get a glimpse of an actor from their favourite television show. From science fiction, to video games, to anime and—of course—comics, people came to see, buy and discuss their pop culture passions.

ComiCon isn’t just for the self-proclaimed nerds. The convention is a celebration of all pop culture and it’s welcoming of all people. While sci-fi may be considered “nerdy”, Star Wars is one of the most beloved franchises in the world. Superheroes were the heroes of geeks, but the success of the Marvel movie franchise, X-Men movies and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy have become some of the most successful film franchises in the world. Conventions are often filled with people dressing up as Disney characters, and not just young kids dressed up as Elsa from Frozen.

As nerd culture and the mainstream seem to merge together, more and more people are finding themselves wanting to get involved. Toronto ComiCon is a great way to do so, but for people new to the convention world, there are a few steps you need to take.

When asked for some tips to give to a new con-goer, four time attendee Joselyn Caron, a student at Sheridan College, advised, “Remember to always have comfortable walking shoes. You’ll be on your feet all day. Additionally, try to go in small groups of friends. Too big of a group complicates things and you end up splitting up based on interests anyways.”

She also goes on to explain why Toronto ComiCon might be a better first convention than a larger scale convention, like FanExpo Canada, saying, “It’s a lot less hectic than FanExpo. While it is smaller, the crowd isn’t as huge, which is nice.”

Conventions also have opportunities to get involved. Not only can you volunteer your assistance, but Toronto ComiCon has opportunities for independent artists to get their names out into the public, and make a couple bucks while they’re at it. Comic illustrators and writers are always featured at Toronto ComiCon, but there’s also a section of the hall called “Artists’ Alley”, where creators can sell their merchandise. This ranges from paintings to necklaces to knitted figures of Groot.

Independent artist Cristina Martin, the talented artists behind Super-Chi Art, used ComiCon as a time to promote her new comic, Ball and Chain. She commented, “I really like the exposure. You definitely see a lot of people. A lot of people ask about the comic. I have a lot of customers, so it’s definitely a really good way to get out there and socialize with people who are really interesting, and have like-minded interests.”

It’s through opportunities like setting up an artist’s booth that keeps passion alive. When you buy or admire a piece of fan work at a convention, you know that the art is coming from a loving place. The artist clearly loves what they’re doing and the subject, so supporting independent artists at conventions, like Toronto ComiCon, supports a group of people who give a lot of creativity to fan communities.

You definitely don’t have to be a fan of genre shows to go to a convention. You don’t have to know every piece of Tolkien trivia, own every piece of Star Trek merchandise or even read comic books. If you like something, there’s no need to worry about being too nerdy or nerdy enough. There’s something for every person at Toronto ComiCon, and you just might find a solid deal on the Captain America sweater you’ve been wanting for months.