1. The convention has officially gotten big enough to swallow San Diego for the weekend. All the billboards in town advertise nerd stuff, the restaurants and bars sport comics-themed menus, and the bouncers at the clubs are ordered to turn away anyone attractive and well-dressed.* As Andrew and I walked to the convention center on the first day, we were passed by trucks toting mobile 300
billboards. "Next year," I said, "I'm going to get enough money to hire one of those things, and I'm going to drive it past the convention center with a giant image of Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds
, just to make everyone flee in terror."
"Yeah?" said Andrew. "Well, I'm going to get less money, and I'm going to hire the actor who played Ogre to stand in the back of a pickup truck and do the same thing."
2. For me, the best part of Comic-Con is getting to see all your long-distance geeky friends. The worst part is that you only get to see them for a minute or two before one or both of you has to run off to some damn nerd thing. I talked to Scott McCloud for ten minutes, I got about five minutes with Tom Spurgeon, and Spike
only had time to describe a tiny fraction of all the horrible things she's seen on the Internet.
3. That's not really the worst part, of course. The worst part is the con funk, which I first smelled approximately ten minutes after walking into the hall on Thursday morning, and which, by Friday afternoon, had achieved sentience and was wandering the convention independent of any corporeal geek.
4. I got to moderate the Spotlight on Miriam Katin
, which was wonderful. Not only was Miriam amazing, she brought her mother with her.
Yes, an elderly Hungarian woman who once fled the Nazis flew to San Diego to see her daughter compete for attention with the Harry Potter/Spiderwick Chronicles
Fan Group Meeting and a demonstration of the Robot Chicken: Star Wars Special
toys.** That is one tough old lady. I'm 29 and I've fled very few Nazis to date, and I had serious misgivings about my ability to physically survive Comic-Con.
5. There are people who are extreme obsessive fans of one, and only one, anime series, and these people will attend every single anime-, manga-, and random-Japanese-crap-related panel strictly so that they can get up at the end and ask a completely unrelated question about their one thing. I went to three panels on manga publishing, and this happened at every one, with a different person and different anime each time. All three questions were the same: "Are they ever going to make more episodes of ______?"
All three answers: no.
6. Inexperienced con-goers scavenge the tables and booths for free swag, sometimes walking right up to a table and demanding handouts. The experienced, on the other hand, shun all freebies, knowing that this detritus will only weigh them down in the long dash across the hall for that exclusive HeroClix Fin Fang Foom.
On a similar note, newbies tend to be wowed by the elaborate, picture-perfect cosplay outfits, whereas veterans realize that the crappy costumes contain far greater intrinsic entertainment value. Who do you love more: a forty-year-old man who spent the last year constructing a fully functional transforming fiberglass Optimus Prime costume, or a forty-year-old man who spent the last year clumsily applying aluminum foil to cardboard boxes that have to be duct-taped to his body? I think we all know, and I think, deep down, Optimus knows it, too.
7. Man, there are like thirty million billion Eisner categories. But it was worth making the long slog for a) a choked-up Gene Yang accepting a much-deserved Eisner for American Born Chinese
with his son in his arms, and b) Neil Gaiman kissing Jonathan Ross to the ecstacy of all the fangirls in the world.
8. Once again, Seth Rogen failed to stop by my table and realize that he must produce and star in the television adaptation of Narbonic
. I don't know what's up with that.
9. I should have gone with the chocolate mint sundae at Ghirardelli instead of the warm brownie one. It melts too fast.
10. For those of you who haven't experienced Comic-Con, it is exactly like this
* Not true.
** 100% true.