Not Safe for Con explores the darker side of comics and fandom

Comics, cosplay, and burlesque comes together for a ‘nerd culture festival’ with an adult twist.

Today is Not Safe For Con, also known as NSFCon, a festival that brings together comics with 18+ nerd culture. The festival’s purpose is to create a space that allows for the greatest freedom of expression that still remains within legal limits. The festival boasts a comfortable and safe atmosphere for vendors and creators of more adult-themed comics and artwork, mixed with workshops, live music and burlesque.

Artwork by featured artist Nerdyrotica

The reality is most large, mainstream comic cons are meant to be family-friendly events. Through her involvement with the comic-creating and cosplay collective Fanchix, founder of NSFCon, Amanda Sprague-Cole, saw herself and many other creators desired a con with fewer restrictions and where adults can indulge in comics and geek culture. Collaborating with Arabella Allure, co-founder of the award-winning Edmonton Burlesque Festival, and Event Manager Lysh Kerby; Sprague-Cole is bringing a new take on the comic convention experience with live music and entertainment, online gaming and comic artists in this event. Not Safe For Con was born.

Michelle Christa Smith (source:

Headlining the festival is actor, stunt woman, speaker and educator, Michelle Christa Smith. As one of the world’s leading experts in Staff Manipulation/Bending and Baton Twirling. She was also the stunt double for Gina Carano who portrayed Angel Dust in the first Deadpool feature film. Smith with be speaking, performing and teaching a workshop at NSFCon.

Other featured guests include rapper Chedda Cheese, and Bondage enthusiast Mr Kristofer with AMP of the kink friendly sex education channel Watts The Safeword.

One of the most unique features of the show is the live stage, which will be the focal point for the cosplay contest and the burlesque shows. The performers command the stage often with super-hero and other geekdom themes. The NSFCon Artist Alley allows creators to feature and sell their artwork uninhibited.  Cosplayers and creators alike of mature and adult comics, or pin-up and other artwork found their niche audience.

Cosplayer Lisa Robinson. Photo by David MacKenzie.

Even though it is an adult-themed con that is restricted to adults only and welcomes things like risque clothing and cosplay, NSFCon also took measures to keep their patrons safe. Prior consent is imperative for taking photos or physical touching. Organizers worked hard at striking the balance between freedom of expression and protecting con goers from harassment. Behaviour policies are easy to find so con attendees can respect these guidelines.

Not Safe For Con is being held today from 2pm-12am at Wyckham House, Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Tickets can be purchased at Eventbrite.

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