The advertisement was small, a tiny image on the page of a Lee’s Action Figure Digest. But a friend of mine spotted it and said, “You know there’s going to be a Transformers convention, right?”
I was stunned. No, I didn’t know, I admitted. He showed me the ad. I stared at the page, completely transfixed. This was real. This was actually happening.
It was 1994, the ten year anniversary of the Transformers. Generation 2 had been on shelves for the past year. Now, there was going to be a convention celebrating Transformers.
I wanted to go. Dear Primus, I wanted to go. But it was in Indiana and there was no way my mother would allow me to go on a trip of such magnitude. She didn’t like it when I went to Raleigh with my friends for the weekend; leaving the state was out of the question and I knew it.
But I wanted to be there.
There would be guests and panels and a dealer room with toys for sale. There would be an exclusive figure. There would be other people who enjoyed collecting Transformers. There would be fun. A lot of fun. I was certain that my friends and I would have enjoyed ourselves.
I could only enjoy the convention vicariously, through write-ups in Lee’s and Tomart’s, as the internet wasn’t really a thing in those days. The next year, it was the same; a fleeting hope that I could attend, and a wistful sigh as I read the resulting coverage. It would take me five years and a few false starts for me to finally realize my dream.
It would also open doors that I had no idea existed. Attending BotCon would be a life-changing experience, in more ways than one.