Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Monday, July 24, 2006

"Mwaaah, it smells like lunchmeat again!"

Here are a few highlights from Comic-Con in San Diego this weekend. Sadly, I didn't see Napoleon Dynamite, but I was dangerously close to sensory overload as it was. I'd heard the place was massive but I still didn't think it could be that big. Last year the four-day event was attended by over 104 000 people in a building the size of several football fields (48,839 square meters, according to Wikipedia). The levels of unfettered geekery are truly astounding, with about a quarter of the crowd in costume – everything from the genuinely cool (that Pyramid Head monster from Silent Hill) to the laughably lame (way, way too many fat Stormtroopers and uncomfortably provocative pre-teen anime characters) to the bizarre (a banana?!?) to the wannabe famous (Elvis Stormtrooper). For the record, the funniest thing I overheard (in stereotypical nasal-nerd voice) while walking around was, “Mwaaah, it smells like lunchmeat again.” Heh heh…

Every artist and entertainment company is there doing panels, signings, previewing this and that, giving away crap, er, stuff (note the crowd pic with the giant Snakes on a Plane display) Walking around the place is exhausting, hot, and wall-to-wall people, particularly on Saturday. It’s incalculable the volume of painted plastic that changes hands during the pop-culture supernova. Our hotel (if you missed the previous post, I was there with Rue Morgue), was about a 15-minute walk from the Con, through the Gas Lamp district, which is both full of trendy restaurants and the homeless, making for an often sobering juxtaposition. The reality gap between Jedis having fake laser-sword fights in the Comic-Con lobby and junkies shooting up on the street corner may not have been wide, but it was deep. Such is the case in balmy Oceanside cities with mild nights and port funneling in drugs (also: Vancouver).

We arrived Friday afternoon, and after wandering the Con for a bit went to a restaurant called Dick’s, named so because the servers act like dicks (such as publicly berating you for using your cell phone) as part of the charm. Fellow former Gatewayer Dan, currently on his cross-continent vacation, also met me here for a couple beers, which was sweet. The best part of the place, though was the lobster tank claw machine. For two bucks you get a chance to win a lobster, which they’ll then cook up for you with all the fixings. I nearly got one on my first try, but the sucker fell back into the tank. Suck on that, PETA.

That night my co-workers and I went to a party, which was somewhat in honour of stop-motion animation legend Ray Harryhausen. He was there, facing a life-size gold (coloured) statue of himself. The shin-dig had a chocolate fountain, free booze and Edward James Olmos milling about. If I’d been drunk(er), I might’ve run up to him and screamed, “OH MY GOD! If you’re here, who’s fighting the Cylons?!”

The next day was more of the same, but there was a nerd tsunami when Quentin Tarantino (pictured) and Robert Rodriguez showed up to do a panel on their upcoming movie Grindhouse. We beat a hasty retreat to the other end of the floor where the temp was about 10 degrees cooler, and I ran into Steve Notley, Bob the Angry Flower creator and former Gatewayer. Luckily he had his flower headpieces so we could snag a proper photo. At the same time Randy, another Edmonton boy and a Comic-Con vet, showed up. Buffy/Firefly creator Joss Whedon cruised by right about then and said hi to Steve – who, like the total prick that he is, didn’t offer an intro. Whedon was sweaty, disheveled and carrying a backpack, so if you’d ever doubted his nerd credentials, I assure you he’s genuine. As per the previous post, this was also the day I went to the Roger Corman panel. YESSSSS...

That night was our own Rue Morgue party, which we hosted in the Presidential Suite of our hotel. Free booze, snacks and a beautiful view of the city from a gigantic patio was what we had to offer. It was laidback and surprisingly popular. After about 200 people showed up, hotel security stopping letting anyone else up. Luckily Dan, Steve and Randy made it – increasing our Edmonton power exponentially (we didn’t even need our secret decoder rings!). There were folks on hand from all areas of the pop-culture biz (special effects guys, comic book artists, directors, toy company reps, actors, etc.) and it was an honest to geekness good time.

Hands-down the coolest cat I met, though, was Ren & Stimpy creator John K., who’s as weird and hilarious as his cartoons. That’s us pretending to drink the big bottles of booze. He definitely looks a little bit like Ren too.

Sunday, the last day of Comic-Con, is targeted more at younger kids, and therefore less busy. Many wee nerdlings were pushed around in stroller by parents in costume. Us uncaped Rue Morge nerds finished up poking around, looking for stuff to feature in the mag, etc, and relaxed a bit in the hotel room. An authentic and really delicious Mexican dinner at restaurant that had a live Mexican band and served lobster burritos was a nice way to end the last day. Burned out, we watched TV, packed up the load of promotional stuff and the few souvenirs we’d amassed and crashed. Visions of sugar plums and full-grown adults wearing capes danced through our heads.


Blogger Alana said...

Looks like a blast - I think I'll have to tag along next year.

8:54 AM

Anonymous collin said...

Sounds a lot like my weekend, except that my girlfriend's dog fought a skunk.
Nice job on the Elvis tropper link. Sounds cool.

10:52 AM

Anonymous eun said...

Out of curiosity, what was the male/female split like at Comic-Con? The photos seem to contain considerably more she-nerds than I expected to see.

Also, that lobster tank is awesome.

1:02 AM

Blogger Dave said...

Maybe 2-1 nerds to nerdettes. Way more females than you'd think, with a way higher percentage using the event as an excuse to dress up in unflattering anime or super hero costumes. Saw an Electra that I thought was gonna burst out of her skimpy costume.

2:26 AM


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