Oh hey there Wizards, Goblins, and Damsels
Even though I am a lifelong lover of all things con-worthy, I am very new to the whole “fest” and “con” thing. Till now I’ve elected to geek out in the privacy of my own home. Hard to say why really given I live for this stuff. Part of it is that for some bizarre reason I always had the perception that no one else in the universe could possibly like things like Freddy Krueger, Dr. Who, Quato, Hutts and Borg as much as I do.
The majority of MY circle of friends tended to look at me with looks of disdain and disbelief when I try to tell them that movies like “Dance of the Dead” rule, or that Nicholas Cage is a true mastermind of the last 20 years. (“Ghost Rider”=A Triumph). They are usually too busy hating things like “fun” and watching “Hotel Rwanda” or listening to Thom York’s solo album. So needless to say for the most part I kept to myself.
My first visit to comic con was last year, 2008. My friend Jeff and I scored some free passes, and got REALLY charged up to go down and sport the $12 Watto masks that we’d attained. As we drove up to the San Diego convention center the FIRST thing we saw are three PREDATORS walking down the street and INSTANTLY my stance on cons and fests was changed forever. The whole scene was like something out of a DREAM. 160,000 people wandering around town all PUMPED to get dressed up as Jedi and maybe recreate the battle of Hoth. It was safe to say I’d found a home.
So it goes without saying that when Comic Con 2009 was rolling around I was pretty damn psyched to do it again. This year it was me, Jeff, my bud Lacey and her little brother Cody who is a MASTER of extended universe Star Wars knowledge. I went down there with a PLAN, a CAMERA, and some CASH. Ready to make DREAMS come true. Did it match up to my mega-time at the ’08 convention? Yes and no. I will explain:
Not Nerdy Enough
Ok, here’s the thing. To look at me, and my friend Jeff. We are not nerdy “looking”. Jeff was the drummer in my band and for the most part to look at us, you’d more likely assume we were indie rocker douchebags who listen to Arcade Fire and love to watch “Juno” on infinite repeat when in actuality we crank Metallica and Maiden, and watch “Nail Gun Massacre”.
The point is, when I walk into Comic Con I should FEEL totally outclassed in terms of…well..lets just call it enthusiasm. Trust me, when I use the words “geek” or “nerd” or “enthusiast” it’s not an insult. I pretty much LOVE anyone who doesn’t give an EFF about the perception and just says “FUCK IT. I’m dressing up as a f*cking ORC. EFF YOU!” I admire it ‘cause they got way more stones than I. With that…If I walk into Comic Con and I feel like I’m one of the more geeky ones…something’s not right. That’s just what happened this year. There weren’t NEARLY as many people dressed up. Last year at every turn you’d see a sweet Nightcrawler, or Halo Character, or Sail Barge Leia, or Federation officer, or Joker, or WHOEVER. This year there were some folks, but they were more few and far between. I have two theories for this
The mass commercialization of Comic Con. Not that the convention has “sold out” per say, but when the cast of “Twilight” is wandering around Comic Con, and people like Scarlette Johannson are showing up to promote it changes things a bit, and it appeals more to the masses.
The Economy. Let’s face it – If you’re flying in from Texas or somewhere, booking a hotel, buying a full-on Stormtrooper costume (which costs between $500 and $1000) It gets expensive. If these people can’t afford to come it opens the door for less devoted fans to show up.
We need this recession, and “Twilight’s” 15 minutes to end so Comic Con can get back to “normal”!
It’s amazing how effective a few well placed skull masks can be
Last year it was $12 Watto masks, this year it was $1 dollar skull masks. Let me tell you this…EVERYthing is better with skull masks. EVERYTHING.
The Troma Incident
So for the most part horror is pretty under-represented at Comic Con. You’ll be shocked to hear this but so is Star Trek. My sense it’s because both horror and Star Trek have TONS of their own conventions that circulate the country annually. So…what few horror booths ARE at Comic Con you can be sure that my crew and I plundered them all. This year the Troma booth was KEY. For two reasons: a) The people who work at Troma are REALLY nice and love to chat up about the movies, and b) Lloyd Kaufman was there! He was hanging around the booth. Pretty effing cool. A funny thing happened while chatting with the Troma people. As many of you know I absolutely pride myself on how many horror movies I’ve seen, and trust me…I’ve seen more then most human beings on this earth. That said as I’m talking to the Troma folks it dawns on me. “FUCK man I’m WAY behind on my Troma movies!” This was pretty embarrassing when we were talking about the movies and it came to light that I hadn’t seen movies like “Mothers Day” (which I’ve since watched…SO THERE), “Class of Nuke ‘em High”, and “Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid”. For me? Here I am this self-proclaimed horror expert and I’m like “nope…haven’t seen that. Nah…not that either”. Ughhh. I am no on a SERIOUS mission to catch up on my Troma! I purchased “Mothers Day” and “Class of Nuke ‘em High”, and “Pigs” and got them signed by Lloyd Kaufman himself.
Later on that evening we wen’t to hang out at the Troma ROAST of Lloyd Kaufman and let me tell you this. IT. RULED.
Stan Lee was there!
How mega is that? Simple…No Stan Lee….NO COMIC CON. End of story.
Ron Jeremy was there too!
Yeah…not as exciting:
I could go on and write about the dudes that got up and roasted Lloyd, like Adam Green, Stan Lee, Ron Jeremy and a few other dudes but to be honest the BEST part of the evening BY FAR was when Lloyd himself got up there and spoke. Rather than ruin it with quoting…WATCH!
Jeff Wins the Star Wars Trivia Contest
On Sunday me, Jeff, Lacey, and Cody decided to attend the Star Wars Trivia contest that was held in one of the panel rooms. Know this: It was hosted by the San Diego Star Wars society and the room was populated by obvious Star Wars MEGA fans…I say that because they were dressed as Stormtroopers and Han and Lando and PEOPLE.
SO…GET THIS of ALL the people in that room, and there was maybe a few hundred…JEFF WON one of the rounds! The 10-15 folks dressed as Jedi? LOST. JEFF WON. I made it pretty far too. The question that eliminated me: “How many outfit changes did Padme have in Episode 2?” Dude…NO ONE REALLY knows that. It was a guess question at best. Jeff guessed right. Obviously I’m utterly disappointed that I didn’t win, but having Jeff win was close enough for me. His prize? A SWEET Star Wars universe encyclopedia. Our loss? Having Jeff rub it in our face for the rest of the day.
Late Night Pizza Party
So at the end of the day whether you enjoy something like Comic Con or not is going to depend greatly on the company you keep. I’m glad to report I was down with some sweet peeps this year, and one of the highlights was watching “Laserblast” in the hotel room, gorging on pizza, and getting wild.
That’s all I got for now folks.
I heart you all.
Horror Movie of the Week: “The Changling” with George C. Scott
Song of the Week: “Detroit Rock City” KISS
Curseword of the Week: “Douchebucket”
Best Picture I couldn’t find a Place for in this Column: