Tuesday, August 05, 2008

agIsh: Comic-Con 2008

A wise man is once quoted as saying: "Do you remember when we fell in love - we were young and innocent then. Do you remember how it all began - it just seemed like heaven...so why did it end?" He went on to produce other insightful pieces entitled "Rock With You", "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", and "Billie Jean". These words are fitting for this year's Comic-Con, which was held in San Diego, California.

I'm not sure what it was; after all, it fit the formula...

There were costumed weirdos:

There were the latest and hottest sights:

There were women to ogle at:

(Does anybody know who the girl on the left holding the Chopper Zombie book is, by the way? She's effin' gorgeous. Tell her I want to have her children. Like me, literally carrying her children all nine months to term. That's how much I love her.)

Even the ever-elusive Darth Maul was there:

...and in spite of all this, something felt not-quite-right, something was missing.

I was gung-ho upon entering the Convention Center, as I am every year, and was once again overcome with vertigo - as I am every year - as my mind tried to take in all 100 acres of comic book paraphernalia, media hype, and fanboy-ism.

Wait! That was it! Our entrance into the Comic-Con was far too easy! Previous Comic-Cons gave visitors the opportunity to purchase passes on site the day of. The result was hours of waiting in line that I'm sure snaked back into Orange County...but you got in eventually and most of the joy and rapture was being able to walk in an air conditioned environment. Coupled with the sights, the sounds, and yes, the smells, the buzz was undeniable.

There were several goals I had set:
1) Attend a panel
2) Get some sketches
3) Get free ish
4) Buy lots of ish

1. Attend a panel
This was interesting. Aside from the main hall of vendors, the Convention Center also has countless rooms where talks of upcoming movie or comic book events take place. An associate of mine wanted to attend Marvel Comics' Secret Invasion panel, wherein they'd talk about who was a real hero or an alien posing as a hero. Although interesting, it was way more fanboyish than I had anticipated. Writers and artists spoke for about 15 minutes while the remaining 45 minutes were dedicated to questions from the audience. "What if...", "What happened to...", "Is there any chance that..." Booooooring. I've always said "Try everything at least once." Now that I've gone to a panel, I'll never go to one ever again. Time would have been better spent among vendors and sweaty visitors. I give this a Pass minus.

2. Get some sketches
bg and I love sketches. We love sketches more than we love cleava...wait, I'm not gonna say something I'll regret later. Let's just say we really enjoy sketches. In years past, one could walk up to a man at a desk, command that he draw a picture for you, and he would have no say in the matter. You would walk away with a sketch and his pride in your possession to do as you see fit. This year was different. It seemed as though everyone was wise to this "eBay" and was charging ridiculous amounts of monies for a pencil drawing. One man had this posted on his table: "$20 - head, $40 - half a body, $80 - full body". I thought to myself, "This is disgusting! What kind of a world do we live in where the Koreans roam free and a man feels that $80 for a pencil drawing is justified? Whatever "Jim Lee", I'm outta here." No, I kid. I wish it were Jim Lee. The rest of the story is true, I assure you. There were a couple of guys I was hoping to meet but didn't catch them. Needless to say, I came home with no sketches. I give this a Fail minus.

3. Get free ish
This is one of, if not the highlight of attending Comic-Con. Vendors make items available at their booths and a riot insues. Hands without identifiable owners just grab the ish without asking and in minutes the table is empty! It's great! As I said, this year was different...much less free ish this year. I grabbed one Green Lantern ring (they failed to mention that it's just a plastic replica and doesn't really work) and a Transformers Post-it note pad (this doesn't tranform and is, in fact, just a Post-it note pad). Either I came too late to the Convention, everyone else was too fast, or the vendors were being tight but the free ish was few and far between. I give this a Fail plus.

4. Buy lots of ish
The opportunity to spend excessive amounts of money on ish that will mean very little to you several months later is enormous and I look forward to it every Comic-Con. My main target was a rare issue of Batman and I'm happy to report that I found it at a reasonable price. I also wanted to pick up other current issues and a maquette or two. Although I found the issues I wanted, the maquette was out of my price range (it retails for $90 but was going for $200). This last goal of "buy lots of ish" is where I got hit the hardest. Attending the panel killed an hour of my time and apparently lunch killed more time than I thought. Apparently the main hall closes at 7pm every year at which point the spending spree must end. bg and I hadn't run into this time constraint the years we attended, so I was entirley unaware of it. At 6:30pm an announcement echoed over the 100 acres and I found myself backtracking wildly like a boar through my mental shopping list. Eh. There's always next year I suppose. I give this a Pass minus.

Overall, it wasn't the best Comic-Con experience I've had and now wonder if I'm over Comic-Con. Was the hype indeed too mudge? The only sure way to determine this is to attend Comic-Con 2009!


PS: Now that I think about it, I don't think bg was with me either. I wonder where he was... *shrug* It's all a blur to me now.

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