$75 for a 5 day pass for the Con is pretty good, especially considering all the freebies you get. Plus making new friends, seeing premieres and meeting favourite creators could be considered priceless. I may not get to see all the screenings and panels I’ve paid for, but I won’t be too disheartened if I don’t. I can’t be bothered queuing for ages. I came all this way for more than that. I’d much rather spend the time talking to people and discovering new books, especially of the indie variety. From what I’ve seen already, there’s a treasure trove of talented creators and genuinely exciting companies out there, hidden just below the surface and those kind of people have the time and willingness to speak freely about what they do and why they do it.
Saying all that, I have managed to hand out a few cards today, declaring my blog, and my work on Sight. When people see my title, “Pop Culture Ambassador,” it certainly kick starts a conversation. Well, I had to call myself something. Helping my cause is an article in the 2008 Comic-Con Souvenir Book. Oh yeah! Entitled, “Insider Slogans,” it’s a light-hearted piece I submitted a few months ago. I had to write a short bio too. This is what I came up with: Kris “Speedo” Bather lives and works in Perth, Western Australia, the most isolated city in the world. He is not socially awkward, except when talking to girls.
It’s on page 60, in between other articles celebrating 75 years of comics including one on DC Comics’ founder, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson (someone should make a movie of that guy’s life) and one on the 75th anniversary of pulp adventurer, Doc Savage. That’s pretty good company to be in. Due to space limits, my entire article wasn’t published, but all that’s omitted are a few more amusing slogans. You can read the original article below. Feel free to giggle.
Comic books are now at the age where adult diapers become necessary. If they were people they could complain about “this generation” and their skimpy clothes, obscene music and new fangled gadgets while picking hair out of their ears and lifting their pants up past their navels. But comics are still cool. Old, yes, but still cool. Our beloved artform is ageing gracefully, like a French film star. What was once considered a trash medium and disposable entertainment is now mature, respected and sought after. From factory pop to live jazz, and it only took the better part of a century. Of course in the eyes of fans sequential art has always been close to our heart, but our cries for respect have only recently been heard. Not that we needed them of course. Comics may not be as popular as film or TV but they are certainly more surprising, experimental and creative. Free from constraining decisions-by-committee and intimidating budgets, comics are able to risk more than any other medium. In what other form can you create and destroy entire worlds so easily?
But for me, the best part of comics is the growing fan base. Like a supermodel at a party who has the satisfaction of knowing she’s the best looking person there, I find quiet pride knowing that I am the geekiest person in any room. A smile at fellow customers at the LCS, or a nod at that guy you just saw with the Aquaman shirt. I like those moments of simple connectivity. We’re just one step away from a secret handshake. We could go one step further and wear hoods and sacrifice virgins, but then there would be none of us left.
But the very thing that feeds us can also be our death. We can’t afford to roll our eyes when one of our unwise friends makes yet another “underwear on the outside” joke but not show them what comics are all about. Take every opportunity you can. No-one wakes up in the morning and decides, “From now on I will litter my room with imported action figures and dedicate 40% of my wage to TPBs!” It takes someone to show us the ropes. Be that someone. Walking into a comics shop can be a daunting experience. “Where do I start?” “Is this suitable for my children?” “Why is that guy wearing a bathrobe?” There are so many questions.
However, after saying all that, I must say I love a good insider joke. If you’ve just joined the fanboy/girl fraternity, most of the following will make no sense, but if you’re a funny book veteran, please feel free to laugh out loud (and explain why to the confused person next to you) So, here are just some of my suggestions for insider slogans that will get you knowing smiles from your fellow fans. Feel free to make these into bumper stickers, t-shirts or regrettable tattoos.
If you’re a geek, then these are from my heart to yours.
I collect comic books, action figures and women’s phone numbers. All three are fictional.
All my pets are Super.
I gave myself a hernia trying to lift Mjolnir.
Lost. 1 Invisible Jet.
Thwip, snikt and bamf are my three favourite sounds.
I stole this shirt from the future.
My comics and my bed sheets are both wrapped in plastic.
The internet – where every voice can be heard and mocked in equal measure.
No, it’s not a speech impediment. I speak backwards for magical reasons.
I jumped into toxic waste for super powers. Now I’m sterile and balding.
I hang out on rooftops with girls in leather. Don’t judge me.
My utility belt is on its last notch.
It wasn’t me. It was my clone.
I’m a shape shifter, but my pants don’t agree with my shape.
I’m a D-List character in an A-List world.
Please give generously-victim of unpopular retcon.
I would be Mint except for the stain. Guess where!
My mask is not to conceal my identity. It is because I am repugnant and frighten children.
I have my own theme song. Can’t you hear it?
I was bitten by a radioactive spider. Now I eat through a tube.
I have issues. But I’m running out of boxes.
I’m a walking stereotype.Yes, I’m a girl who reads comics. No, I won’t be your wife.
Full-time fanboy. Part-time model.
I’m the Ultimate version.
I have super hearing. What are you saying about me?
Will explain multiverse for food.
In an alternate universe I am witty, rugged and urbane. Unfortunately the fans voted for me.
I wait for the Trade. Don’t hate me.
There are 51 other versions of this shirt.
I just discovered my origin. I’m adopted.
I’m the Skrull version of Brad Pitt.
I chose my dying aunt over my supermodel wife. Please slap me.
T.G.I.W. Thank God It’s Wednesday.
I’m not ashamed to say I left the Perth winter behind to visit the sun drenched shores of San Diego. From what I’ve seen thus far, it’s a nice place. Compared to the often surly staff at LAX, I’m glad to say everyone here is in a nice mood, which is also good news for all the Con vendors. You can’t move very far within the sprawling Centre without knocking into someone and I wasn’t the only one juggling multiple bags today. I’m glad I don’t have any kids. I’d easily sell them all for more goodies. Everything any fanboy or girl could ever want is here. I firstly visited one (of three) clothing outlets. I could’ve easily blown my entire fortune just on shirts. Stuff I’d never find in Oz is all around me. I picked up two shirts (Kingdom Come Superman, and a Green Lantern) a Batman belt buckle (to make my look mean-I might need two) and a Superman hoodie. Throughout my walking investigations, I also picked up 7 TPBs and almost managed to bump into TV Hulk/man mountain Lou Ferrigno and saw everyone’s favourite 80s guy, Corey Feldman doing obligatory autographs for Lost Boys: The Tribe. I saw new Astonishing X-men artist Simone Bianchi next and picked up a print. Well, I assume it was him. It’s hard to tell what these artists actually look like sometimes. It’s not like their plastered on billboards and constantly on TV. I tried to engage him in conversation but he doesn’t speak English. This isn’t the first time this has happened. When I tried to buy my “medium” hoodie, the shop guy thought I said, “Canadian.” Eventually, I saw a familiar face, of sorts. 30 Days of Night artist Ben Templesmith recognised my accent when I was in-line for a signing. I tried to meet him at Perth’s Supanova, but never got the chance. We talked briefly about Perth, where he grew up and how quickly it’s changing. He now lives in America, which is good sense since his career is on fire. I got him to sign my 30 Days: Dust to Dust freebie, which was handed to me by a scary looking she-vamp, and Image Comics’ Dead Space, which looks great. It could very well be this year’s Gears of War – a game franchise that builds into something more. I saw game play footage and it reminded me of Gears, crossed with the scares of Doom 3. It’s released on PS3, XBOX 360 and PC DVD on October 21, followed a week later by Downfall, a tie-in animated prequel DVD. While we’re talking games, I also saw Ghostbusters, the new game that is effectively no. 3 on the film series, with all the original movie cast reprising their roles. The next-gen visuals look great. So does Lego Batman and DC Universe On-Line. With Jim Lee as art director, they had an excuse to put up massive posters of his glorious work all around the booth. I wonder what they’ll do with them all after the Con ends? Some thankful DC employee will give them a nice home, I’m sure.
I haven’t even attended any panels yet, but my 15 minute power nap took longer than that. Next year, I’ll have to arrive at least a day earlier to allow my jetlagged body time to catch up. There’s so much to see and so little time. My main priority is just buying rare comicy stuff, since I won’t be able to do that back in Perth. What a well programmed consumer I am! Below are some photos taken today. Today’s themes are Star Wars and gaming, including a gaggle of Ghostbusters.