July 30, 2008

Me. At Comic Con

This past Thursday I flew in to San Diego for the annual cattle auction known as Comic-Con. This was my second Comic-Con and I am just astounded by the crush of humanity and the lengths said humanity will go to in order to get a free Star Wars Mask. It is really just too many people. You walk into the convention center to set up your booth at 8am and the AC is set to 40 degrees and you wonder what the hell is going on. By noon with 150,000 people packed into the space you understand why they chill it in the morning. If you venture into the aisles you cannot move. You end up shuffling rather than walking as taking a stride is impossible. I became very Zen about the whole things and went with the motto 'be like water, let the openings take you where they will'. If you hate crowds avoid comic con at all costs.

I was working my companies booth this year so I didn't get to go to any of the panels I wanted to (Watchmen, Battlestar Galactica (moderated by Kevin Smith) but I did get to our own panel (Mystery Science Theater 3000 Reunion moderated by Patton Oswald!). Last year was very exciting due to all the major geek properties they were showing off (Dark Knight, Ironman, Star Trek, Indiana Jones). This year was just a major let down. Other than Watchmen nothing was in the air that seemed cool. A Wolverine movie? Eh. Star Wars Cartoon? Meh. If you miss the panels all comic-con becomes is a shopping mall with tons of free swag. At our booth, if it wasn't nailed down, people would take it.

The real allure of Comic-con is the sheer mass of geekdom. I defy anyone to name a comic or movie character that I did not see someone dress up as. It is amazing. There are the straight forward ones you would expect like Storm Troopers (about 800), Indiana Jones (at least 2 dozen) and any generally super-hero. Also a ton Heath Ledger inspired Jokers this year, all with various degrees of home made make up and clothing. Then there is the less obvious costumes, including a giant tentacle (?), scantily clad s&m ladies (nice with so many little kids around) and waaaay to may Furries. What's a furry? Check it out : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furry_fandom

I am a geek and proud of it, but I still cant help but be amazed by the amount of people who are the exact stereotype of 'geeks' or 'nerds' at Comic-Con. It is uncanny. Like 50,000 Toby Radloffs. This was one of my favorite conversations with a genuine nerd:

PUPPET GUY (I call him this cause he was holding a puppet on his hand. He spoke in a very nasally voice): Um, excuse me, when is Dan Milano going to be here (Dan Milano is the creator of Greg The Bunny).
ME: He will be here at 11 to sign. Greg the Bunny will also be here, but he won't be signing.
ME: Greg will be here, but he won't be signing.
PUPPET GUY: I don't understand.
ME: He is a puppet so he can't sign anything.
He looks at me with a look of ABSOLUTE confusion.
PUPPET GUY: Um, well, ok. I will be back at 11 for their autographs.

Keep in mind that during this entire conversation he flapped the puppets lips like he was talking, but made no attempt at ventriloquism. Fantastic.

I really spent all my time in our booth. We had 5 signings and that is just nuts. Hundreds of people, who you have to line up and then other booths complain because you are blocking them. At one point we had a Mystery Science Theater signing, across the way the Cartoon Network had a Powerpuff Girls signing, next to us there was a Star Trek signing and a couple rows down Keifer Sutherland was signing. All this was on Friday @ 1, the busiest time of the con. I cannot explain the sheer mass of people. It was worse than any concert. Insanity.

I did manage to get away from the crush for one night and venture to M-Theory Records and enjoy a California burrito (carne asada, french fries, guacamole) that cost about 1/5 of a pretzel inside the convention center.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds as crowded as the wfmu record fair when they used to hold it in the church basement.