Last week, I was sent to San Diego Comic-Con as, I assumed, a reward for the stellar work I probably do around here but was, I realize in retrospect, more than likely a punishment for all the shitty work I certainly do around here. Comic-Con is all nerds, geeks, movies and comics--in short, it should be my Promised Land but, in actuality, it's like a very specific kind of Hell designed by a devil who digs Twilight, hates deodorant and absolutely loves shrieking crowds of lunatics. Go to Comic-Con next year, and see if your observations at all line up with mine. Holy Shit There Are So Many of You
Over 120,000 sweaty, excitable people tried cramming into this goddamned place and there's just no way to manage a crowd of that size. A lot of the general discomfort surrounding the Convention floor can be traced back to the numbers; you can't cool down, because of all the mouth-breathing spectators, you can't stretch without punching a Stormtrooper and you can't get a boner for fear of getting it tangled up with some three-foot tall elf mage with wandering hands (true story). The floor is too crowded to move comfortably, and if some asshole somewhere stops to gawk at something or pose for pictures (and they will), you can just forget about moving. If you get sick of swampassing your way through the floor, you're alternatives are A) waiting four hours in line for a panel or B) fucking yourself. The line for one panel was so long. (How long was it! It was so long that you can go eat shit because there's nothing funny about wasting an entire day in line when you normally waste your entire day online.) The line was so enormous that overwhelmed convention employees started telling to anyone who would listen that, "This line is closed for the next panel. And the one after that. All panels, just- Get out of this line, no one else is getting in this room for the rest of the day and night," which was screamed at around 2:30pm. Employees abandoned their jobs and opted to tell convention-goers that the panels of the future are canceled because the line is broken. That's what Comic-Con does.
And I got sick, because that's what happens when you cram a planet's worth of unwashed, socially retarded nerds together and force them to breathe each other's air. It's bullshit. I had to call out of work Monday just because they don't teach hygiene in fucking dragon camp. The Women In real life, you can just approach a chick and say, "Hey, I want to buy you dinner. I have a car," and everything always works out fine.1 But at Comic-Con, it's different; no one's impressed by the usual tricks. It's all about how much Life Mana you have, or if your Spirit Animal has the same flavor of palsy as her Spirit Animal and, frankly, it's difficult to keep track of all the weird fetishes that are supposed to be attributed to everyone's respective characters. Failed Pick-Up Lines at Comic-Con: -"Hey, baby, you are by far the most Pokemons... Or, wait, no, the least. You're the least Pokemons. Is that right? Is Pokemon like golf?"
-"Two cruisers against a star destroyer? More like two boobs against... Against some other boobs."
"Romulan? More like Ramulan, right? Because I want to ram you. And I'm not sure where the 'lan' part fits in. I guess 'lan' could- OH! No, wait, OK, I got it, here it goes: Romulan? More like Ramuhard, because I want to ra- What's that? You're a Klingon? Oh... Oh OK, then, no, carry on, I've got nothing for Klingon, I won't take up any more of your time, you've shown remarkable patience already."
-"Yeah, I'm gonna fuck you... Amelia Earhart. Yes."
No One's Buying Comics
Some folks might be surprised that Comic-Con recently added a section about comic books. Those folks would be so surprised, they may even completely ignore the artists. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of booths dedicated to both mainstream and independent comics, they're just not exactly swamped with customers, and I'm not the only one to notice. Ask any comics author out there; no one's buying comics anymore. This was probably the most depressing part of Comic-Con. Seeing one of my favorite comics artists, Leinil Francis Yu, sitting all by himself on one end of the convention and meanwhile there was a giant crowd of people drooling over the important blockbuster stuff in the center of the room, like enormous Transformers 2 statues, or fucking Spongebob Squarepants made out of Legos.
Nerd on Nerd Nerd-Violence If you caught yourself inching along the convention floors, scratching your chin and thinking, "Hey, there's something strange about that Pirate Cyborg," you'd be absolutely right. That Piborg, like a lot of other convention-goers, was most likely marching around carrying one of these hastily thrown together signs:
Now, it's no secret that the geek is an extremely territorial beast, and also lightning quick to point out when something has been exploited or tarnished or tainted, if it ever even tip toes with the idea of reaching the mainstream. ("Oh no, the rest of the public is now aware of the comic book/TV show/artist that I like- Everything is fucking ruined!") The mainstream-ification of Comic-Con has been coming for a long time now, as more and more movies and toy corporations push actual comics artists farther on out of the way. This year, Twilight nerds were, to a bunch of legitimate, respectable nerds, the total manifestation of everything wrong with Comic-Con; they were loud and screechy and hyper and obsessed with vampires that had nothing to do with Joss Whedon. What's worse is that these new nerds monopolized the Con. Comic-Con is really sort of based around the idea of appreciating an artist and wanting to interact with said artist and other fans, so it's hard to find fault in the Twilight crowd for doing just that but, unfortunately, other convention-goers had to suffer because of that devotion. Now, let's say there's a conference room with a new panel every 45 minutes (a Fringe panel, then a Star Wars panel, then a Futurama panel and then a Twilight panel, for example). If the room fills up, you miss your panel and you take your lumps. Evidently, these Twilight fans camped outside and inside of this one conference room for an absurd amount of time to ensure their spots in the Twilight panel. Let's say they camped out a few hours before the very first panel started, for example. Unfortunately for non-Twilight fans, this meant that a whole lot of people were blocked out of that conference room all day, even if they wanted to see a pre-Twilight panel that was completely unrelated to teenage-vampire-fucking (Futurama, for example). They couldn’t see the panel they wanted because their seat was already filled with someone who didn't even care about Futurama, they were just preemptively holding a seat for the eventual Twilight panel. If you haven't already killed yourself out of total boredom (I know I have), you can see why this might aggravate people.
I didn't get into the Futurama panel, is what I'm saying. The bottom line is that those "Twilight Ruined Comic-Con" signs were all over the place by Saturday, and I unfortunately didn't pack my "Who Gives a Shit" t-shirt. Comic-Con was supposed to be about fans coming together, wizards and elfs all hanging out or whatever, and more golden-bikini-wearing Slave Leia's than you will ever conceivably see outside of my dreams, and instead it's turned into a battleground between different nerd sects. This is progress?!? One Good Thing About Comic-Con The Adult Swim/ Venture Bros. panel was fucking incredible. Doc Hammer's a hilarious genius, and the Q&A was wonderful. But, just to make sure I never completely enjoyed myself this weekend, the hundreds of people attending the Adult Swim panel inexplicably booed when the moderator mentioned The Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. Booed.
Fuck this Comic-Con. 1[Full disclosure: This always works out fine for me because I generally only go after people who are impressed by cars. Ninth graders, mostly. Skanks, exclusively.]