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Shaenon K. Garrity
This is where I write stuff.
Ten Thoughts About Comic-Con 
31st-Jul-2007 02:08 am
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.
31st-Jul-2007 10:24 am (UTC) - Re: 7b
I don't think Neil Gaiman kissed Jonathan Ross. I think Neil Gaiman was kissed by Jonathan Ross. There is a difference.

Jonathan definitely took Neil by surprise. But I'm glad Neil was a good sport about it.

What Neil had to say about it.
31st-Jul-2007 12:45 pm (UTC)
WRT Ross/Gaiman: Either I am not a fangirl or England ruined any chance of appreciating this.
31st-Jul-2007 04:34 pm (UTC) - Re: 7b

His lips said no, but his eyes said yes.
31st-Jul-2007 06:06 pm (UTC) - Re: 7b
Well, there is no arguing with that logic.
31st-Jul-2007 12:35 pm (UTC)
It looked a lot more like Jonathan Ross kissing Neil Gaiman to me. I was impressed that the radiant quality of Neil's blush reproduced so well on YouTube.
31st-Jul-2007 12:39 pm (UTC)
I've been quite a few UK cons, but never noticed any "con-funk" is this just some US thing?
31st-Jul-2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
I take it you've never been in the dealer's room at a UK anime convention before the mass shift in fandom demographic.
31st-Jul-2007 12:50 pm (UTC)
I've only been to the UK Thing, Bristol Comic Expo and Birmingham International Comic Show
31st-Jul-2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
Ah, OK.

Yeah, British anime fandom definitely had pungence issues for a while. The younger and more female the fandom got, the less of an issue it was. I don't know how things are now, though.
17th-Oct-2008 06:36 am (UTC)
Anime fan. Comics fan. Music fan. Music purchaser. IPod owner. Mac user. PC user. Gamer. Poker player.
9th-Oct-2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
Benny goodman and others who fronted large orchestra's in the s that played contempory popular ballads of the time were great and definitely encouraged folks to dance and celebrate this genre but when people then sat down to listen to the likes of miles davis's quintets of the s and s, jarrett, corea or joe pass in the s to name but a few, i didn't notice any undertakers arriving with shovels.
31st-Jul-2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
If you get Ogre to show up, I'd be tempted to get as many nerds in cos-play as possible running after him yelling "Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt!" just for the sheer amusement. (Disclaimer - that clip is one of the few that makes even me ashamed to be a LARPer.)

As for Funk - It can be defeated. The Staff of DEXCON out in NJ has carried Febreeze bottles on their belts. We've had yet to use them, but the message is clear. You're not the only Webcomic Artist to face off with it - Randy Milholand actually handed out flyers with S*P characters advocating showering.
31st-Jul-2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
7B) I am amused. Very, very amused.

11) Narbonic is now officially an interest on OKCupid. I thought you'd like to know. I put it in and discovered that like 2-3 other people had it listed. I thought that was cool. :)
31st-Jul-2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
I've been telling C. that for our tenth anniversary next year, we should leave the kids with my parents for the weekend and go to San Diego (our anniversary's in mid-July, we've never been, it seems obvious to me).

Surprisingly, he seems to think I'm joking.
31st-Jul-2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
I've never been to SDCC, but I have been to Dragon*Con, and it was very much like the parade clip as well, albeit with slightly fewer businessmen spontaneously morphing into ambulatory musical instruments. More's the pity.
(Deleted comment)
31st-Jul-2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
We will get to SDCC one of these days. That's one we've been meaning to attend for years! Our first trip to the Golden State is coming up in (eek!) 17 days. Hopefully we'll have such a great time that we'll want to see more cities.

Just a reminder, in case you're in town, that we're flying into San Francisco on August 17th and heading down to Santa Barbara on the 21st. We'd love to see you again, and meet Andrew!
1st-Aug-2007 02:51 am (UTC)
Con funk: remembering the up-close, sales-killing FUNK I experienced in 2005 is one of those things that makes me stay home.
Because, damn. There's only so many times you can tell adults to FUCKING BATHE and EAT and THINK OF OTHERS before you go, "Fuck it."
I'd rather just go to San Fran and visit you than wave weakly as we're carried in opposite directions by smelly fuckers.
1st-Aug-2007 05:08 am (UTC)
You had to tell comic fans to eat?
1st-Aug-2007 05:11 am (UTC)
Many choose con weekends to go on diets to maximize exclusive figure spending budgets.
1st-Aug-2007 03:33 am (UTC)
1st-Aug-2007 05:18 am (UTC)
God, it is so true. I think San Diego broke this year. I wonder what NEXT year is going to be like.

Despite the overwhelming press of NERDS! it was a good con for me, at least.

BTW, you should totally hire Ogre next year. That would be awesome to behold.
2nd-Aug-2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
I'll have to add a "Bring pain to NERDS!/Fly Ogre to SDCC" tip jar to Shaenon's site.

Barring that, a "Bring Curtis "Booger" Armstrong to San Diego" fund would be a pretty good idea, too.
1st-Aug-2007 05:41 am (UTC)
Really I just love being there-- the atmosphere and endless parade of people makes me happy. It's great to see my friends, and I love it when I get the chance to kibbitz with the professionals.

Speaking of which, it was great talking with you! I get so few opportunities to talk shop with anyone that I find I am actually starved for it. (I was the guy with the hat and the comic with the mouse and deer.)
1st-Aug-2007 11:03 pm (UTC)
Wow, it really is just like that Paprika clip.

(I was the guy from Top Shelf who stopped by your booth looking like this: <--)
14th-Sep-2007 12:16 am (UTC) - Comicon
This is kind of late, so no one's probibly going to see this...

I had a great time at comiccon, I love the sketch of Mel you drew for me. You even added an unexpected bonus of having little artie on her head! :)
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