The Coast News Group
From back row left characters from the Star Wars Steam Punk Universe, Orion’s Originals, Loki Hates You that will be appearing at the inaugural Nerd Con. In front from left, Nerd Con founders: Rachel Yauch, Joel Jones, Trisha Murphy. Not pictured is co-founder Stephanie Pandes. Photo by Thomas Oed
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Convention caters to full nerd spectrum

ESCONDIDO — It started with four friends just talking about an idea — not unlike the way another convention of a similar kind got its start — an idea where people passionate about what they were doing could come together and interact with each other.

Parallels are already being drawn between Comic-Con, the convention that began in the 1970s by a niche of comic book fans and which has since exploded into a behemoth three-day event in San Diego that garners international attention, to Nerd Con, a one-day convention celebrating all things nerd, that hasn’t yet happened.

The comparison is something that Joel Jones, executive director of Nerd Con, finds really strange, he said.

But the humble beginnings of the conventions might be where the similarities between the two end.

“The difference is that we want to do things different from the beginning so that we don’t end up getting to a point where things are just out of control and it gets taken over by the media moguls and…then it becomes all about just advertising everywhere in your face,” Jones said.

The idea for the convention came to Jones a couple of years ago.

But it was only in the last few months that the idea — to strengthen and unite the nerd community — has become a reality.

On Aug. 22 thousands from all aspects of nerdom are anticipated to fill the grounds of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido for the inaugural Nerd Con.

“We don’t want to limit ourselves to just one thing, and that’s why we chose Nerd Con rather than comics or Cosplay Con or anything like that,” Jones said.

The one-day convention is catering to an entire nerd spectrum from gaming (video and table top) to cosplay, comics and technology.

Jones, who grew up in North County, said his background in organizing events came from time spent helping his father put on bridal conventions. Though, he added, it’s been nothing quite like organizing Nerd Con with his girlfriend Trisha Murphy and two other friends Stephanie Pandes and Rachel Yauch — the “four nerds” that have come together and formed 4 Nerds by Nerds, LLC.

“It’s cool to be a nerd now,” said Murphy. She liked the idea of Nerd Con because, she said, “we love going to conventions and we wanted to put on ourselves something that we love doing.”

Even as nerd culture is becoming the norm in society, something Jones thinks is happening all thanks to the surge in comic book movies lately, they’ve become aware of divisions within the community.

Divisions over what game console is best, even that someone wasn’t nerdy enough or not a “real nerd,” which Jones never thought he’d ever hear someone say.

“What a lot of nerds are searching for is acceptance,” said Jones. “It’s something, that I think, has been a big problem over the last two decades for nerds is that they’re not accepted in society. So now all of sudden, now that it’s cool to be a nerd, they’re looking for that thing they can belong to.”

What Nerd Con is hoping to do is take the focus off of how nerds are different and change it to show how similar they are, Jones explained.

“Taking all these pieces and forming a mosaic of ‘Hey, this is what we are as a whole.’ We’re all nerds. That’s what brings us together,” he said.

For a full schedule of events and for tickets, visit