In July of 2012 I attended, as I do every year, the world renowned Comic Con at the San Diego Convention Center. It was as it always is: a Hellaciously crowded, eye-burning swirl of Technicolor insanity with no real-world equivalent that I can think of. For those of you who’ve never attended the Comic Con, picture a dress-up day at the world’s largest insane asylum and you’ll have a glimmer of what takes place in San Diego each summer.
I’ve already recounted my long (and frankly pretty dull) history with the event, and how it’s changed over the years. Foremost among those changes is the unprecedented amount of media coverage the con now attracts. As I’m sure I don’t need to inform you, lengthy Comic Con reportage can currently be found on nearly every news outlet in the known universe.
Correction: those news features only cover a small portion of the Con, namely what went on in the iconic Hall H, where the TWILIGHT and HOBBIT presentations were held. Hundreds more presentations took place elsewhere in the Convention Center, in addition to innumerable miscellaneous incidents. Below you’ll find info on panels and incidents I witnessed at the Con that haven’t been covered by many mainstream media outlets, such as…
- A presentation by the gay comic scribe Andy Mangels, who claimed that for a long time the Comics Code outlawed homosexual language, and that there were “no gays in the Marvel universe.” Mangels also spoke about hosting an annual “Gays in Comics” Comic Con panel at which several prominent comic book writers and artists have come out.
- A bunch of dudes stationed outside the convention center waving signs reading “You Must be Born Again,” “Trust Jesus,” etc. “Don’t you people have lives?” a passerby yelled; since no response was forthcoming from the sign wavers, I took the liberty of answering for them: “Nope!”
- An Image Comics panel featuring Image’s chief creators/overseers. As claimed by one of the panelists, Image is the only entertainment company run entirely by “creatives” rather than suits. This was evident in the immature behavior displayed by the panelists when a dude in a superhero outfit ran up to the stage to have his shirt signed, greeted by entreaties to “Sign his boobs!,” “Sign his taint!” and so on.
- A harried man standing in the dealers’ room, talking intently into his cell phone and repeatedly exhorting the person on the other end to “calm down and tell me where you are!” Passing by the same spot minutes later, I found the same guy in the same place, but with a crying kid with him. “You didn’t follow me!” the kid wailed, as the man tried, and failed, to calm him down with the none-too-friendly admonition “You did very bad!”
- A yuppie shithead in a Mercedes, obnoxiously leaning on his horn because the black van in front of him was stopped for some workmen repainting a crosswalk near the Convention Center. What the yuppie fuck didn’t know was the van was being driven by a policeman–and one who was evidently familiar with BRIDESMAIDS, as, stepping out to confront the asshole, the cop’s only words were “Really? Really?” Needless to say, the shithead ceased his horn honking immediately, though unfortunately he wasn’t cited for his assholery.
- Actor Connor Del Rio, from the kid show LEVEL UP, on a Cartoon Network panel, where he was asked by a little kid what his favorite candy was. His answer: “Red vines licorice.” The audience responded with a collective “Aaaaaaaw!”
- A girl pacing the dealer’s room with a handwritten sign reading “REAL VAMPIRES DON’T WEAR GLITTER” (sorry, no picture).
- Actor Colin Morgan, speaking in a heavy British accent, talking about the “loneliness” of his character on the show MERLIN. His spunky co-star Angel Coulby responded by asking the audience “Can we have an aaaaaw…?”
- A DC Comics panel, where I heard the news that, following a graphic novel adaptation of DJANGO UNCHAINED that’s set to appear around the same time as the movie’s December opening, there will be a 20th anniversary SANDMAN comic scripted by Neil Gaiman, who has been away from the SANDMAN universe for years but apparently “always wanted to do another SANDMAN.”
- A children’s animation festival, where I viewed animated shorts that included Tad Patterson’s “The Ingredient,” about a bird-headed claymation wizard who creates a little monster with a big mouth that causes all sorts of trouble, and two films by 13-year-old Nicholas Mastrangelo, who dreams of someday making full-length “action-adventure” movies. Mr. Mastrangelo’s shorts both featured dudes running around with light saber-esque swords and shooting laser guns, amid a lot of largely incoherent mayhem.
- A security man on the con’s final day, who all-but went out of his mind yelling at the crowd in the lobby to keep moving. Noticing the look I was giving him, he said “Hey, it’s Sunday! I’m tired!”