The Day the Wonder Died

Warning!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.