Comic-Con is an event I look forward to every year. It’s a mini vacation, a few days at a nice seaside hotel and the ultimate nerd party where I’m surrounded by pretty much everything I love (including my friends and loving nerd wife). Now usually I’m able to steer the various gigs that support my sci-fi/horror/comic book habit, away from Comic-Con week, but for the first time, things went awry. Fortunes conspired to put the first shooting date of the current project I’m writing and producing, Playboy TV’s The Stash, right smack dab on the Saturday of the Con. But all was not lost. If I left right after the shoot, I could drive with my fellow Playboy employee and Comic-Con pal Larry, get there that night, party, and do our podcast (Monster Party on iTunes, shameless plugs concluded), then enjoy the last day of the Con.
Could it be done? Considering that the Con closes early on Sunday and neither my wife nor I are early risers, could we actually get a fulfilling Comic-Con experience in one afternoon? Or even a mediocre one?
As we started the day, we needed to establish priorities. First, no waiting in the giant line at the convention snack bar for bad pizza and hamburgers that somehow becomes delicious to me after the long, long wait. This time, we grab some quick grub at a street fair and down it while walking in. Lobster sandwiches and barbequed meat on a skewer. Why haven’t we done this before?!
Once inside and we’re registered, badged, and told they’re out of huge bags (I always get a shitty one any way. Last year was the 300 sequel. Ugghh! My only other option was The Big Bang Theory. At least that bag was almost big enough to contain my hate for that fucking show), we head on into the showroom. We follow our usual strategy: Start at one end of the hall and criss-cross back and forth, quickly scanning every booth in a particular aisle. Remember, time was of the essence so we couldn’t dilly-dally. Impulse purchases were made and caused me to second guess. “Yes, the Punisher and Ghost Rider pint glasses are nice and it seemed like I got a good deal, but what if two aisles down, they’re half the price? Did that booth just fuck me? No time for petty, misplaced rage. Must push on!”
As we make our way through the occasionally impenetrable crowd, we multi-task by making sure to take in the various costumes. Frankly, this was a pretty weak year for cosplay. Don’t get me wrong, I love a hot Wonder Woman or Leia slave girl as much as the next guy, but those are staples. Where was the guy in the cardboard box Optimus Prime costume? Or the group of all thirteen “Doctors” from Doctor Who? Maybe they left on Saturday. Maybe this whole plan is a mistake!
We try to locate all the items that our friends requested us to pick up for them. Malificent 12” figure at the Entertainment Earth booth for my friend Charlene: Check! Orphan Black hoodie from the BBC booth for comic Rudy Reber’s daughter: They’re all out. Shit! Finally, we hit the Hasbro booth for two sets of the “Thanos Imperative” action figure set (in a gargantuan My Little Pony bag) for another comedy friend, Fred Belford. Check and mate! I get a free pen. It writes well. I immediately slip it into an acid free Mylar pouch.
We check the time: Almost 2:30. Time is running out and we haven’t even made it halfway through the hall. It’s time for priorities! We go directly to the booths with the stuff we know we like: Doctor Who figures, discounted trade paperbacks, awesome original artwork I can’t afford, Four Horsemen Colorforms outer space men, Lovecraft stuff, and sexy goth/steampunk outfits I’m trying to convince my wife to wear to my next high school reunion. I got mine last year.
3:00 PM Kevin Bacon sighting! He waves at us from a press junket for The Following (which I stopped following). Insert one degree of separation joke here. Bye, bye Bacon! Must keep moving!
It’s an annual tradition that we get a picture at the photo op section of The Walking Dead booth. Oh my God, look at the line! Do we really want to waste 45 minutes to an hour for a picture with a zombie who is clearly fake? Hmmm, tough one. No! This year, traditions be damned! Let’s try to get one at the Godzilla green screen photo op. Wait, where the hell is it? Let’s look at the schedule! Aw, fuck it! No time! I settle for a picture with a statue of the Rebecca Romijn version of Mystique. Yay?
4:00 PM. One hour left. Do we try to hit a panel? What’s happening? “The Pro/Fan Trivia Match” or “Publishers Weekly: Creating Great Graphic Novel Events in Libraries” Gee, I dunno, they both sound so great! But, I’m sure the lines are huge on both. Autographs? Who’s still here? Let’s see, “Blake J. Harris, author/filmmaker of “Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation”. Again, it’s the line issue.
We decide to use this last hour just running around the floor, taking in any sights we might have missed. I turn a corner and suddenly I’m facing legendary drummer, Marky Ramone, the last Ramone from the formative years of the band who is still alive! I had no idea he was going to be here! I’m a HUGE Ramones fan, so I instantly have this urge to protect him at all costs. He’s nice and seems genuinely interested about our Monster Party podcast (Okay one more shameless plug). He looks great and seems to be in excellent shape. Even so, I wait for the Spinal Tap-esque drummer explosion that thankfully never comes. He signs an 8 x 10 photo and we take a picture together. I have my arm around him and I hold on for a bit too long. He doesn’t seem to mind. Eat shit Walking Dead booth! I got a picture with Marky Fucking Ramone!
After that, we were kind of done.
So what’s the verdict? Is it possible to scratch that Comic-Con itch in just a day? The answer is “yes!” I’m just not sure that day should be Sunday. Sorry Blake J. Harris.