After watching the live coverage of San Diego Comic Con on G4, I was all set to write a happy post. Something about how great it is to see so many different people come together over their mutual love of comic books and science fiction.
Yes, somebody got stabbed (or at least scratched in the eye) just before the Cowboys and Aliens panel. Please, no comments about the preview being "eye popping." Got enough of those on Twitter.
I have a real love/hate relationship with conventions like these. On the one hand, it is a lot of fun to immerse one's self in a subject matter that you have a passion for alongside others who share your love. Let's face it, things like comic books still aren't as socially acceptable as say, golf, so it helps to have a place to escape to where you may be amongst your kindred. Plus, where else will you find such deliciously obscure juxtapositions as autograph tables shared by Bill Mumy (Lost In Space, Babylon 5), Lou Ferrigno (Hulk), and former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell. That latter guest always recalls the Simpsons episode where Buzz Aldrin attended a sci-fi con and nobody lined up for an autograph. "For God's sakes! This is the only man here who's actually been in space!"
By the same token, fanboy fawning gets most tiresome, most quickly. I can only take so much gushing over how brilliant the writers and artists are. I can't help but laugh over the pushing and shoving to get into an autograph line for Peter "Chewbacca" Mayhew's autograph. Much of this may come from the fact that I'm a husband and a father and I have many "real world" issues to deal with every day (as I'm sure many con attendees do as well.) But when the arguing over who would win in a fight between Captain America and Timberwolf from the Legion of Super-Heroes erupts, I can't help but yearn for a fight over something that actually matters.
I think I understand it, though. It's escapism. Geeks, as we are so often called, drown ourselves in what we love. In that regard, we're no different than the "superfan" who shows up at a competitive sports event with their face painting in their team colors. One reason we do this, in my opinion, is that we know there has to be something different. Something is not right with the world and it quietly eats at us. Therefore we seek connection to things larger than life, larger than ourselves. We want the myth that Joseph Campbell speaks of and we want to be a living, breathing part of it. You may be satisfied with your cubicle job, your company's mission statement, and your Playstation. That's great. For the rest of us, it's just not good enough. My blood cries out for something more. Something amazing. I know it's out there, I just can't get at it. I think that many at conventions such as these feel that as well, even if only on a psychologically subconscious level.
Then it's all fun and games until somebody gets stabbed. That brings stupid reality crashing in, proving once and for all that such events are mere microcosms of the real world. There is good and bad in everyone. Transporting them to Krypton, Tatooine, or Avengers Mansion won't change that.
Still, all things being equal, next year I'd rather be in San Diego.
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