Some of you might not know this about me, but I'm a giant geek. I tend to keep it... not hidden, exactly, but I don't exactly "let my geek flag fly" or anything either. At least not where girls can see me anyway. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm ashamed or embarrassed of it, its more that I like to keep a balance in my interests, and, if I'm being honest, I'm very... sensitive about the persona I project; and lets face it, most people tend to see geeks as socially awkward, fantasy-obsessed losers. And to be honest, I do too. Maybe that's harsh, but look I'm just very wary of people who are fanatic about anything. Be it sports, or politics, or religion or professional wrestling or Star Wars, I find people who get so wrapped up in liking (loving, obsessing over) something to the point where it becomes public and spills over into other aspects of their lives very off-putting and weird. Or maybe my geekier tendencies just tend to remind me of the days when I didn't know how to talk to girls (when I was a socially awkward, fantasy-obsessed loser), and my dislike of other geeks is really just projected self-hatred, I don't know. Whatever the cause is, what I'm telling you is when you put me around geeks, I turn into Homer Simpson on his first day of college ("NERRRRRRRRRRRRRDS!!!"). I wasn't always like this and perhaps if I'm feeling introspective one day, we'll explore that in another article, but right now we're here to talk about Comic Con.
Either way, because of the way I feel about other geeks, I tend not to commiserate with them much (I used to make the wrestlers at the Video Game Central signings laugh when I would tell them that the people on the line to meet them were the reason I don't talk to people I haven't known for a REALLY long time about wrestling... they would laugh, and agree so I have to believe I was on to something). Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is I find the concept of a gathering of tens of thousands geeks, a large portion of them in costumes, to be several hundred shades of horrifying. So obviously, the idea of paying forty bucks for a ticket to attend such a gathering is completely fucking insane to me. Not even for people-watching purposes. If I haven't made myself clear yet, overly geeky people make me annoyed and angry. Make no mistake though, I love Star Wars and comic books and video games. I read fantasy novels, I played Dunegons & Dragons when I was younger and probably still would if I had that kind of free time. So on some level the stuff that was going to be on display at Comic Con intrigued me enough to apply for a press pass. When I was (much to my surprise) approved, I decided to make like a Jedi and let go of my hate... enough that I decided to attend anyway. To put it another way, I guess I sold my hatred of other geeks for a free ticket to show.
And I'm honestly glad I did, because despite the overwhelming concentration of nerds, geeks, and just flat out tools, Comic Con was really awesome. Here's how the day went:
8:00am: My alarm goes off and I realize that I'm way too fucking tired to get up, having only gotten in from Glo at about 5:30am. I also realized that having a press pass is sort of like being VIP at a club, which means lines don't apply to you and you can show up whenever. So I reset my alarm for 9:00am and slipped back into unconsciousness.
9:00am: I awoke again, this time a little more prepared to face the world. I took a quick shower, did my hair threw on my Princess Leia T-shirt (its not geeky, Mark Ecko makes it... expensive designer clothes cancel out the geekiness) and by 9:30am I was on my way. My first stop was the Lindenwood Shopping Center. Grabbed some iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts and then stopped at the Tuscany Deli for a Muscle Milk and bagel with cream cheese. Incidentally, this is the exact same routine I went through all summer before heading to Neptunes. Which means I prepare for a comic book convention the same way I prepare to spend a day getting trashed in the sun on a deck listening to house music. I'm not sure what that means. Next I hopped on the A train and headed toward the city.
10:45am: I arrived in the city and instantly had bar exam flashbacks as I walked up 11th Avenue to the Javits Center. Actually, that's not true, it wasn't instantly. I didn't mistakenly walk six blocks in the wrong direction before taking the bar, like I did this time. But once I realized the numbers should be goin down, not up, and started walking south, there it was, boom, bar exam all over again.
11:00am: I got to the Convention, grabbed my press pass, hooked up with Mike D., Sam, Jeff, Brianna and Kristen and lost myself in a world of pure geek. All the major comic companies were there andhundreds of minor ones and self published ones as well. Famous artists and writers (in the comic book world, anyway) were holding court at their tables, signing autographs and answering questions. The whole place was full of ueberfans and uebergeeks - i.e. people willing to leave their houses in costumes of varying quality. Me and Mike D discussed this phenomenon and I hope I can use my blog as a forum to pass this along. Now I'm not a "dress up" kinda guy, and neither is Mike. The only day you're gonna catch me in a costume is Halloween. But, if you're gonna be one of these cosplay weirdos; if you're gonna come to Comic Con dressed as Spider-Man or Wolverine or whoever, come correct. Don't half-ass it, otherwise you just look like a tool... or more accurately, you look like the tool who doesn't know he looks like a tool. I assure you, everyone else knows.
Comic con isn't just about comics anymore. Video games, movies, toys, and book publishers were all well-represented. One of those companies, Tor books, was a big factor in my decision to actually attend, but more on that later. Me, Mike, Sam and Kristen wandered the floor for awhile taking in the sights. At one point we looked up at the skyboxes and saw none other than Danny McBride standing in the MTV interview booth. Mike D wasted no time in ducking us into a stairwell. Next thing I know, we're up in the private interview area looking down on the convention floor. We missed Danny McBride somehow, but it was still pretty cool.
12:30pm: (ish...) Mike, Sam and Kristen headed to the Saw panel and I met up with Glenn near a man dressed like a gay Lion-O (actually he may have been a regular Lion-O and its just that Lion-O's outfit is gay in and of itself, I can't be sure). Me and Glenn continued to roam the floor for a few hours, and grabbed some surprisingly not awful sandwiches. All this was just me killing time though. The event I was really waiting for, the the tiny, silly, GEEKY little thing that actually tipped the scales in favor of me actually cming to Comic Con was...
3:00pm: Tor Books table, Brandon Sanderson signing. If you don't know, and I doubt most of you do, Brandon Sanderson is a fantasy author. Tor publishes a series of absolutely phenomenal fantasy novels called the Wheel of Time., which is my absolute favorite work of fiction in any medium, and I've reread the series something like 10 times since I picked up the first book back in 1997. The first book, The Eye of the World, was originally published in 1991 and the series has been going strong since then. Tragically, the author and creator, Robert Jordan died of a rare blood disease called amyloidosis in 2007 (as an aside, if I'm wrong and there IS a higher power, and everything in this world is all part of some divine plan, well... how can I put this... god is a dickhead. I'm sorry, but giving a wildly popular author a rare blood disease after millions of fans world wide are waiting for over 15 years for him to finish his story is just a dickhead thing to do). Anyway, Sanderson was chosen by Jordan's wife and editor to finish up the series. Turns out Sanderson is an excellent writer too, and I really didn't want to pass up the opportunity to ask him a few questions about writing (and get some stuff signed). He gave me some pretty in-depth answers to my questions and I left more inspired than ever to finally get my own story written.
3:30pm: Me and Glenn walked back to the train station and I headed home for some much needed sleep.
All in all, I have to say Comic Con was an awesome experience, and I'm glad I went. I think I've learned that being a geek, in small doses is not a bad thing. I apoligize if you read this thinking I was going to give you an in-depth review of the convention itself. This blog, like all good things, is all about me. However, if you want to know more about the convention itself, you're not outta luck. You can go HERE and check out the excellent job Mike D and the CCD crew did with their coverage.