I’d been concentrating on the heartwarmingly awkward and comedic side of the WonderCon, and I’d forgotten one basic fact: when you get thousands of socially inept people in a building together, it can really get annoying.
We went to see JJ Abrams’ talk about Mission Impossible 3 and he came across as just a good guy: genuinely enthusiastic about his work and about being at the convention, genuinely nice to the fans, neither too self-deprecating nor too arrogant, and showing a career-healthy level of reverence for Tom Cruise. The people all around us, however, were there to see Kevin Smith, who was coming up next. So they talked all through the panel, in their normal, irritating conversational volume.
I’d planned to stick around for Kevin Smith, but I was so annoyed by his followers that I went with Jessica and Jeff to see the panel with TV Creature Feature hosts. And got the same behavior from the people who wandered in waiting to see Grant Morrison. Is it really that hard to just show a little common courtesy?
And when you can get pretty much the entire group interested in what’s happening on stage, like with the Bryan Singer panel about Superman Returns, you get the flip side of rude loud-talkers — the cringingly uncomfortable Q&A session. One of the people was almost hyper-ventilating and couldn’t ask his question. Another criticized the costume. Another mentioned the rumors that Singer had molested young boys in a hotel room. And part of me wants to know what the guy in the banana costume was going to ask, but then the rest of me hates that part of me.
I forget which panel it was — either Bryan Singer or JJ Abrams — but somebody fawned for a minute or so and then asked if he could give them his business card. He got booed by the crowd, and he deserved it.
On the show floor itself, there wasn’t a lot that grabbed my attention. I’d been looking for some recent issues, and everyone was selling silver-age and golden-age stuff. Or crap. Or silver-age and golden-age crap. Some combination of all of those. One of the vendors had all their trade paperbacks discounted, so I picked up a Sandman collection (I’d bought all the single issues of the entire series, but stopped reading them about a year or so before it ended, and then most of my comics were destroyed in a flood at my parents’ house). I also got a Challengers of the Unknown collection that was recommended in one of the blogs that Alfredo had told me about.
So I didn’t bother going back to the show today, and I’ll just head to Isotope and ask them to order the comics I’d been looking for. And still, for some reason, I’m compelled to go to the San Diego one. Guess I’ve got a few months to see if that compulsion lasts.
When I go to WizardWorld, I don’t go to any of the major company booths (except when Billy West was at a toy company booth because they were selling Ren and Stimpy dolls – I think he had done so much coke in the 80s that I remembered more about his life then in Boston than he did) or see any of the panels. I just hang out in Artist Alley. It’s the perfect mixture of amateurs who have put up their life savings self-publishing their “groundbreaking” batman ripoff looking at you with puppy dog eyes, really old guys (I think the guy who created Green Lantern is always there), and occasional true artistic genius (Andy Lee).
The business card guy was during the Bryan Singer presentation. First he referred to himself as the biggest Superman fan in the world, which lead to much grumbling from the crowd. THEN he gave Singer his business card, and the grumbling turned to boos.
NIL ILLEGITIMUS CORUBUNDUM
“There’s something not right here. I feel cold, death.”
“That place… is strong with the dark side of the Force. A domain of evil it is. In you must go.”
“What’s in there?”
“Only what you take with you…Your weapons… need them you will not.”
Go to San Diego, enjoy the show. Leave your cynicism and self-judgement at home; they’ll be there when you get back. While you’re there, head over to Ocean Beach and soak up some positive vibes from the old hippies, then take a couple of beers over to Sunset Cliffs. Watch the sun go down and remember why you love the things you do. You deserve it.
Now, if Dr. Phil would kindly remove his arm from my arse and quit yanking that string….
p.s. My sincerest condolences on the loss of your Sandman collection. I know how long that took. I have a few “Tapping the Vein” still, did you lose yours in the flood? For some reason, my wife doesn’t think the kids are ready for Clive Barker and wants them gone. I want them to go to a good home where they will be loved (the comics, not the kids……..I think).
Just a warning if you go to SD Comicon, get some of that white smudge that Jody Foster and Scott Glenn put on their upper lips during the autopsy scene in Silence of the Lambs. Thousands of hot nerds is summer + bad ventilation.