Saturday, July 20, 2013

My venture to an alternate universe

The subject of Comic-Con came up this week at work. I surprised my co-workers by telling them I had been once upon a time. They asked me to do a blog post, so this ran yesterday on the Litfuse blog. As a lazy blogger, I'm stealing it.


This weekend, thousands upon thousands of people are gathering in San Diego for the largest convention of its kind. It’s where comics, movie, and science-fiction lovers come together to share their love of fantasy and toy collectors build and show off their hoards. Maybe you’ve heard of it: Comic-Con.
Medieval Fight Club
I have to admit, I’d never heard of Comic-Con until 2006. Since then, it’s gained more and more attention in the publishing trades, entertainment publications, and media. Admittedly, maybe I just didn’t pay attention until then because it’s been huge for decades. After all, I’m just not into all things the convention celebrates. That’s not to say anything good or bad—I’m just not into comics and sci-fi. I could very well be in the minority.
To put it in perspective, the only comic books I ever read featured a certain boy band that was big in 1990. They also had their own cartoon, and I was into all things related to them. The only super-hero based movies I ever watched were when I chaperoned the youth group on activities in the few years following college. At that time, the youth minister was more than a bit obsessed with the genre and wouldn’t let anyone touch his beloved, new Spidey action figure (even the teens thought this was insane). After I got back from Comic-Con, I told him where I went and his reaction was, “What were YOU doing there?”
However, in 2006, the PR company I was working for picked up a new client who was debuting a comic-book line at Comic-Con. In order to represent the new line and get a better understanding of the industry, my boss and I were told we needed to attend. We were utterly clueless as to what to expect. Completely. Everything we knew about trade shows went out the window. We were even told, “Make sure you do NOT wear your business suits.”
Downloads
I’ve never seen so many storm troopers in my life. There were a lot of Darth Vaders too. I was scratching my head about the guy dressed as a deer, too. Is he carrying a chihuahua or his baby?
By the time we started our plans to go, it was pretty late in the planning game, given that some people make reservations for the next year as they check out each year. We barely found a room, somewhere on the outskirts of the city. When we drove up to the convention center, we never expected the crowds we saw. The San Diego convention center is a large convention center, but that year, they had to shut down registration and not allow anyone else in due fire codes.
Many of the attendees dress up to attend Comic-Con. It is all about fantasy after all. The first “character” I saw was a scantily clad Poison Ivy. I didn’t realize who that was. Someone had to tell me. Did I mention that I was completely out of my element?
I’d never seen so many Storm Troopers from Star Wars in my life. There were also a couple of dozen Darth Vaders, too. What I got the biggest kick out of was the guys dressed up as Ghost Busters. Maybe that was cool in 1987, but. . . . My explanation of it would be a nerdy guy’s ultimate Halloween celebration.
Ghost Busters
Who ya gonna call? Ghost Busters!
While we were at our client’s booth that first day, everyone started chanting, and a procession came through the convention center floor. I dared to ask what was happening. Stan Lee, the creator ofSpiderman, was entering the hallowed hall. Stan Lee, after all, is Comic-Con royalty. Everyone knows all of the creators, writers, and artists of all the series. Everyone except for me.
In the years following, I’ve heard of big name actors and actresses from movies like X-Men and Man of Steel being featured guests. I didn’t have any celebrity sightings, unfortunately.
There are lots and lots of people (mainly men) who dream of one day making it to Comic-Con. It certainly is an experience, but for me, it’s one for the “been there, done that, don’t need to go back” list.
What’s on your “been there, done that, don’t-need-to-go-back” list?

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