Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday was the last day of WonderCon 2009 here in San Francisco, and incidentally the first day of several to come that are forecasted for rain, rain, and more rain. i suppose Cons and rainy days are perfect for each other. they go together like Nina and Simone. i considered this fact while eating a breakfast of coffee and a bagel, rain pouring steadily outside, mentally prepping myself for a day at the Con. there would be no relaxing afternoon in the park, no bike rides to clear the head, just fanboys and swag, washed up actors and indie artists, costumed fools and good Lord, quite possibly Benitez. Ah the Con, you can smell the $7 pizzas from a mile away...

i don't take to the Cons with as much zest and enthusiasm as i used to. the "buzz" was pretty much non-existent for me, so perhaps the rain was even more fitting. don't get me wrong, i wasn't in a bad mood, indifferent, or even down a bit about going to the Con, it's just this is my 10th year of attending Cons, and not much has changed except whatever current blockbuster movie everybody is suckling without qualms. of course, this year it's Watchmen, which i'll admit to being slightly charged up about seeing.

so ya, long gone are the days of ag and i running wild through the streets of San Diego, tails up and ready to conquer the world and all it's Darth Maul's. another development... i'm clearly not as ballsy with the camera as i used to be. or maybe i used to pass that job off to ag, but there were certainly enough fools in poorly assembled hero "costumes" to get some hilarious shots, but i just didn't have the heart to do it. but i'm rambling now... let's settle down and tackle this with some sensibility.

Me & DaniE, But No ag

much like my venture to WonderCon 2008 and A.P.E. 2008, my right hand (wo)man and traveling companion for WonderCon 2009 was not ag but rather danielle, a.k.a "the x-gf". i'd eased her into the Con scene some years ago by taking her to our "Bi-Mon Sci-Fi Con" in SoCal, and it turns out she digs the scene, mostly for shopping, but there's certainly no shame in that. whatever tightens your pants.

i'd almost go as far as to say that i'm in the same boat with her, hitting the Con with the mindset of a consumer, but of course there are too many things at the Con that pry loose my inner fanboy, and it never takes too long once you're in the doors to feel the tingle of that good 'ol buzz.

although nothing can ever replace the banter, inside jokes, shared geek-out moments, and general sexiness of strolling a Con with ag, i couldn't have asked for better company on this particular day. she has good taste in art, and likes to hit the show in an orderly, "up/down every aisle" fashion. we were, as they say, good to go.

Lookout, It's An Infant!

i got hit and/or squeezed out by no less than 8 strollers yesterday. no, seriously. there were even these double-wide strollers where two little douchey infants would be smiling wildly up at me while their parents plowed into my shins or over my foot. some of these kids were old enough to walk.

i suppose this is just a byproduct of other geeks/nerds my age hitting their 10th or some odd number Con, and wanting to share the experience with their kids. so let's just make a couple quick rules and be done with it...

--If your kid is old enough to walk, let them walk. Hold their hand, put them on a leash or on your shoulders, but don't turn the already crowded aisles into a superhighway for strollers. cool?

--If your kid is not old enough to walk/talk, strap them to your body in some fashion, just make sure they're right side up so all the blood doesn't rush to their heads. Ok? done.

I'm Afraid of Washed Up Actors... Like, Genuinely Afraid

it was only a few years ago that ag and i searched the halls of ComicCon long and hard for an elusive Darth Maul action figure at a decent price. well, at WonderCon 2009, i could have walked up and slapped Ray Park (Darth Maul, Toad from X-Men) right in his face. of course, since he has a "second-degree black belt in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu", he would have then proceeded to turn my face into a swollen, throbbing mess. but seriously dude, your presence frightens me. of course, not nearly as much as who was sitting next to him...

Daniel Logan, a.k.a the Young Boba Fett from Episode II. that freakin' kid gave me the creeps in the movie, and let me tell you, he's no less creepy as a young adult, wanting chee$e for his autograph at WonderCon. I attempted to take his picture, until he fixed his creepy glare on me, and i slunk away quietly. Here's a shot of him at WonderCon 2007 (courtesy of wikipedia), and from what i can tell, he's had the same expression going for the last 2 years, if not his entire life...


also came across Richard Kiel. don't worry a bit about not recognizing that name. you wouldn't want to. he's scary. but hey, at least he's not a "Lou Ferrigno type jackass". jeez... fuck that guy. at any rate, here's Kiel mauling a young child for the entertainment of the crowd... ya, he's that guy.

also spotted: the Honkey Tonk Man of WWF fame. i mean, talk about frightening... at this point, that dude is so leathery and used up i actually mistook him for a wax sculpture or perhaps a corpse. such Con goodness...

The Latest Trends...

of course, a Con wouldn't be a Con if it didn't assault your senses with the current flavor of the month. my patience for a lot of that stuff has seriously thinned. i limited myself to Sunday only this time around mostly to avoid a lot of the hoopla surrounding the latest ish. don't get me wrong, i don't have any problem with it, i just feel as if i've reached the limit of how much i can handle.

of course, Watchmen was HUGE. for good reason i suppose...

Street Fighter IV is hot...

and of course, anything Obama...

...And The Old Hat

i mean, seriously, would a Con even be a Con without a bunch of Stormtroopers patrolling the aisles?

i even spotted the requisite "girl who has done nothing but pose for pictures with her tits hanging out" charging a minimum of $10 bucks for an autograph, but i have no visual evidence to back this up. like i said, i'm not as ballsy with the camera as i used to be...

It's Not Benitez... Oh Wait, Yes It Is

walk up to ag and say to him with as much disdain as possible, "It's not Benitez". he'll chuckle, and likely laugh. it's one of our oldest running jokes. it's origins are purely legit. see, one day, on one of our many treks to buy comic books, we were browsing our normal dealers selections, when he'd apparently just recommended a book to another customer. the customer took one look at the book, and tossed it in a dismissive fashion back on the table. "It's not Benitez" was all he said. smug, arrogant, and clearly unsatisfied with anything less than Benitez, he went on his way. us? we laughed for days and eventually years. the comment and subsequent moment summed up a lot of the Con scene for us. a memory that stood out for us amongst so many others.

so imagine my amusement when, as i'm walking through the Con this year, i see a dude showing his sketchbook to another artist.

"I've got a Benitez", he says.

and he really did. the guy looking through the book made sure to verify. excitement was in the air. clearly i'm missing the boat on this whole Benitez fellow. the old joke, however, was not lost on me.

so, i'm on my way out of the Con, when i look over at a table where some artists are signing, and lo and behold, there he is, in the freakin' flesh... fuckin' Benitez. unfortunately, his greatness is apparently so transcendently amazing that it prevented my camera from getting a clear, decent shot. but seriously, that's him. in all his glory...

it's a Benitez...

Swag, And A Lack of Success

of course, the highlight of any Con is the swag. the loot. the booty. the goods. the ish.

sadly, this year, we left mostly empty handed. the x-gf was pretty amped up to get some t-shirts, but even a staple like Gamma-Go let her down with a lack of selection. add to that a tendency to over price, and a general lack of goods, and most of our browsing turned out to be futile. i'm most proud of this little sticker that ended up on my bike. i'm such a Socialist...

still, we'd be remiss not to mention a lot of the cool stuff we did come across, so please, check out the links below, peep some cool stuff, and maybe even buy something...

Humerus T-Shirts

Zero Friends

Business Casual

Binary Winter Press

Geekdom Ware

Studio 407

Dave Correia

Stylin' Online

* * * * * * *

Why We Love Cons So Much

leaving the convention, we walked downtown and amongst other things, noted that the Virgin MegaStore here in San Francisco was going out of business. liquidation to start soon. one of the reasons they noted was the sales of CD's and DVD's being hurt by digital download mediums. times certainly change. it wasn't too long ago that i boasted a robust collection of CD's and DVD's. i can't imagine how much chee$e i dolled out over the years on these mediums that, in the big picture, became obsolete pretty quickly. oh how the mighty have fallen.

as books and newspapers are being digitalized and at the same time marginalized, the explosion of the Internet lessens the need for television and movie theaters, i found myself thinking, this is why we love going to Cons...

original artwork never goes out of style. creativity never gets old. maybe the nerds and geeks have had it right all along. maybe a sketch by Benitez is worth more than any CD, DVD, mass produced piece of Gap clothing, iPhone, iPod or any other piece of consumer merchandise will ever be.

we need the tales of heroes, the stories of villians, the humor of the misunderstood. they define who we are more than any mass produced corporate goods ever could.

ya, we had it right all along. long live the Cons.

if it ain't Benitez... what is it really?

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