Category Archives: Stories

Taking on Comic Con 2012

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a nerd. Heck, you read this blog, so you already know I’m a nerd. There’s pretty much no denying it.

Choas on a Train

NEEEERRRRRD!!

But we live in a day and age where it’s more acceptable, even cool, to be a geek, nerd or oddball, or so I like to think. We of the fun-loving, fanboy and fangirl generation (although one must be careful not to be come¬†too much of a fanboy or girl for something, because then it can get a little weird) are slowly but surely taking over the world, and San Diego Comic Con seems to be proof of that; to paraphrase Kevin Murphy of RiffTrax at their recent live panel, “If the world was more like Comic Con, the world would be a better place.”

It would probably be, although there would be a lot more lines.

I was lucky enough to procure a badge for all four days, considering how quickly they sold out.¬† To compare, for Comic Con 2010 the badges were there a few months before the con; for 2011, the badges sold out in a matter of hours; and this year’s badges disappeared within 40 minutes of registration opening! If there’s any more telling sign that the con is growing at an alarming rate, I’ve yet to see it.

Oh wait. Except the crowds. Seriously. Do you like your personal space? Sorry, not much of that happening there. Comic Con has the potential to be a claustrophobic nightmare, and if you don’t like crowds this isn’t the venue for you. Lines are one thing, but trying to move from one end of the show floor to the other can be a daunting task in itself if you don’t know how to avoid the major attention magnets. They don’t clear rooms between panels, so oftentimes people will go and camp in one room and sit through other panels for one they’ve been waiting for, leaving others who only wanted to go to that one panel outside, stuck in a long line, often with no chance of getting in as the room fills to capacity – the Fire Marshal breaths down everyone’s neck at this convention. Even simply leaving the convention can be tough at certain times; I often found myself stuck in giant unmoving crowds as I attempted to get on a trolley back across town to my hotel.

But I don’t want this post to be a survival guide – maybe that’s something I’ll do next year. Despite everything, I still had an amazing time, getting into most of the panels I wanted and meeting lots of really nice people! San Diego Comic Con is an event I’ve been eagerly looking forward to each year for the last three years. By this point I would be surprised if someone didn’t know what Comic Con was, considering how much media coverage it has. What was once a small gathering place for lovers of comic books has become a Mecca for those of a geek persuasion (much to the chagrin, from what I understand, of those that once attended those smaller, comics-focused conventions – to those forerunners, my apologies and sympathies for contributing to the swelling masses). For four days in mid-July, that part of San Diego becomes a festival space, full of hectic crowds and rampant energy. People come out and proudly display their fandom on their sleeves – or in their costumes, as is often the case. And believe me, there were a lot of cool costumes.

I could go on with costume pictures, but that seems like a good sampling. If I get the photographer’s permission (extra big thanks to Katie for snapping most of these, by the way), I’ll do a post with a lot more.

It wasn’t hard to stop people for a photo, and everyone I met there was incredibly gracious and friendly, though maybe a bit frazzled at various times. I struck up conversations with complete strangers while waiting in lines, and would find myself chatting amiably about some shared interest or another. There was no need for an introduction: we were all in this together, and the badges are sure sign enough that we’re somehow comrades in this shared journey.

And it wasn’t just with the normal folks either! I encountered some “big names” while on my four-day escapade, just walking the halls. Besides having briefly spoken to and shaken hands with Dave McKean, Kate Beaton and the entire panel from Magic: The Gathering, I got to personally thank one of Mass Effect’s writers – Sylvia Feketekuty, who graciously came out to talk to us while we stood in line for a Mass Effect panel we couldn’t get in – for the amazing narrative of the game that has proven to be a bonding experience for me and my girlfriend, and later I passed MythBuster Adam Savage in hallway while he was dressed as the Rocketeer.

Scarecrow and Scarecrow: the one on the left is me, hanging out with voice actor Dino Andrade, the voice of Dr. Johnathan Crane in Batman: Arkham Asylum! As you can see, the resemblance is uncanny.

To me, the above illustrates how much I love Comic Con. Here’s a place where everyone there is just trying to have a good time and be completely honest with themselves. There’s no judgment and no raised eyebrows at this convention, apart from the obnoxious Christian sign-wavers outside. Within the borders of the convention…No, within the confines of San Diego itself, there’s a permeable feeling of acceptance and jubilation, one that grows and grows the closer one draws to the convention center.

It made me sad to go, to know that this area that had contained so much frustration and wonder would soon become a normal part of town for another whole year. But then, there’s always next year, right? Considering how hard it was to get in this year, I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed…

Until next time!

 

How My Grandfather Scared His Little Brother

I like to think I come from a long line of storytellers, and my grandfather on my mother’s side (whom I call Papa) helps me confirm this. When I was younger, he and I would make up stories together; we were the famous detectives, solving all sorts of crazy mysteries that my child-mind concocted. They didn’t make much sense, but what do you expect from a little kid? And I had fun regardless.

I also enjoy hearing stories about his own youth, and I thought today I’d share one of my favorites: the story of how my grandfather scared the living daylights out of his little brother, my great-uncle. I’ll try to relate it as best I can, but it really is his story, and I know I can’t do it enough justice; it’s best to hear it from the man himself.

One night, when Jack and I were kids, we had gone down to the movie theater to catch a show. The picture we saw was “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man,” and I’ll tell you, it was pretty scary.

The movie poster
Terror incarnate on the silver screen in 1943

The theater wasn’t very far from the house where we lived, so when we got out and started back, I started running to get ahead. Jack couldn’t keep up, he kept yelling “Chuck! Chuck! Slow down!” But I kept on going, and got way ahead of him.

Now, our house had an arbor that you walked under to get into the front yard, and when I got there I climbed up on top of the arbor and laid low, so you couldn’t see me from the street, and waited for Jack to get there. Sure enough he comes running up to the house, and he’s real nervous, and right when he starts to walk under the arbor…I jump down in front of him and yell “Rarr!”

And poor Jack, he practically fainted!

My mother and dad were not happy with me about that, but I thought it was hilarious.

The funny thing is, I asked if he would tell the story again, but with my great-uncle present. It was great hearing both of their perspectives. And though they laugh about it now, uncle Jack says he’s never forgiven my Papa for scaring him.