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Comic Con 2013

The countless Comic Con reportage over the past few days has invariably contained a lot of bitching--bitching about the generic Hollywood fare showcased in Hall H, the crowds in Hall H, the $10 nachos served in Hall H, etc. Here’s a suggestion: when attending Comic Con, look outside Hall H! It’s a fact that the Con has several dozen presentations occurring on each of its four days in addition to the overall Technicolor craziness of the event, which I’d say provides plenty of enjoyment on its own.

         

     I attended the 2013 Comic Con as I do every year, and didn’t set foot in Hall H. I did however check out quite a few presentations held elsewhere in the convention center, and spent a fair amount of time in the jam-packed dealers’ area. I can confirm many of the complaints you’ve been hearing about the Con--it is indeed too crowded and overly Hollywood dominated--yet as usual it contained something to keep most everyone occupied, if not always edified, such as…

  • A panel for the comic book publisher Red Giant, notable for some disquieting statistics disclosed by an RG honcho: apparently only 100-200 thousand people in the U.S. read comic books, and only 3-5 thousand comic book retailers currently exist, a number that’s down considerably from the 12,000 that existed a decade ago.

                    
     
  • A slovenly dude exiting the convention center bragging that he “had to shit so hard,” and left the bathroom “a fucking mess.”
     
  • A screening of a new TOM & JERRY cartoon, albeit an extremely shitty one set in someplace called “Storybook Town” where a plucky kid convinces T&J to put aside their differences. Phooey!
     
  • Lou Ferrigno signing autographs at the Mile High Comics booth, and shooing con-goers away from a standee of him in his INCREDIBLE HULK days, of which he was apparently quite anxious for everyone to have an unobstructed view.
     
  • A guy handing out flyers five or so blocks up from the convention center shouting “this is my corner!” at his rivals.

                  
     
  • Marvel Comics scribe Brian Michael Bendis describing his work on the Marvel Creative Committee that consults Hollywood about Marvel properties: “Imagine the angriest, longest message board fight…that’s what every Creative Committee meeting is.”
     
  • At least one rival nerd-skewering convention taking place near the Comic Con:

                   
     
  • A panel about mainstream comic book authors working in the indie sphere that disgorged such pearls of wisdom as “Having a project with panels and captions is a better way to sell your product than having nothing at all” and that when networking one should “wear deodorant.”
     
  • A “Monsters of Alternative Comics” panel in which the problem of plagiarism in editorial cartooning was breached. Apparently there are “no ethical standards whatsoever” in the newspaper cartoon world, with artists shamelessly tracing over others’ drawings and recycling their own art over and over.
     
  • The Hall H line:

      
     
  • SPIDERMAN writer Gerry Conway on the changes in comic book writing from when he started back in the seventies to the present day: “Back then we were writing for kids 13 to 18, now we’re writing for adults.”
     
  • A couple mini-amusement parks set up in parking lots adjacent to the convention center to promote upcoming movies like SMURFS 2 and KICK-ASS 2, the latter of which was co-sponsored by Playboy, and featured scantily clad babes rubbing shoulders with young children.

      
     
  • Storyboard artist Vera Brosgol screening a funny and macabre animated short she made in 2005 involving a young girl and a frozen corpse. It was good enough to make me wish Ms Brosgol had made more animated films, but she conceded that “animation requires a lot of drawing, and I’m a bit lazy…”
     
  • A massive pirate ship docked in the bay behind the convention center to promote some movie (I’ve forgotten what) that on Sunday fired off several ear-splitting cannon shots.

                      
     
  • Bible thumpers stationed outside the convention center shouting at us that we’re all going to burn in Hell, joined by a prankster in Darth Vader get-up with a message of his own…

                           
     
  • A guy nonchalantly changing a baby’s diaper amid the Saturday afternoon crowd streaming through the convention center halls--and fitting in disconcertingly well with the never-ending flow of freaks and weirdoes that make up the Con.

       
     
  • A series of elaborate medieval sword fights performed outside the convention center by an organization calling itself the “Society for Creative Anachronists.” According to the society’s spokesperson they also do art and embroidering, but found that Comic Con audiences are more interested in seeing people fight.

                      
     
  • A “Women of Marvel” panel, two of whose participants admitted they got cushy jobs at Marvel after they participated in employee sporting events, and another of whom shocked her fellows by claiming that “I feel really sorry for Caucasian dudes” (to which another panelist snapped “I don’t!”) because it’s difficult for them to stand out.
     
  • A mini-rant by STRANGERS IN PARADISE’S Terry Moore about America’s puritanical streak, and a retailer in Georgia who allegedly placed a SIP issue in the XXX section because it contained an image of a girl in a tight sweater.
     
  • Waiting a half hour for an upstairs grill to be replenished with pulled pork due to a woman’s claim that the pulled pork sandwiches served at the convention center are “amazing.” I’ll have to say I wasn’t too amazed.

          

                        
     

--7/22/13 

     

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