San Diego Comicon - The Nerds Have Won

125,000 people. That's two stadiums full of people, plus a few thousand more. That's more than the population of most small towns in the United States. And that's how many comic book- and super hero-loving freaks hit the pavement in San Diego this weekend in search of swag, treasure, attention, bragging rights and the company of their cohorts at Comic-Con 2008.

We Can Even Do It In Space!When I say "company of their cohorts", I mean "where they're spending time with like-minded people" and I also mean the seeking of sex.

Sex is really the lynch pin driving most of Comic-Con, but that should come as no surprise with the number of gazongas on walls, covers, tattoos, actually tumbling forth from poorly-made French maid outfits, straining against Lycra, and sculpted both in life-sized and miniature figurines such as Wonder Woman, Rogue and Princess Leia.

DSC_2580What, you say? Princess Leia never had gazongas?! Well, she does now! Big, torpedo-like missiles shooting in opposite directions off of her chest as she wields a laser cannon in either hand. In her redevelopment, she's undergone implant surgery of the male imagination variety - she went from modest As to DDs. Or maybe FFs. It's hard to tell without seeing her imaginary bra - but there'll be no chance of that because, of course, SHE ISN'T WEARING ONE.

The costumes and people-watching alone are worth the price of admission. The regular and highly disturbing lack of personal hygeine as you crush through the throngs is worth a hefty discount.

SexyJesiNot since traveling through France have I experienced that intestine curdling armpit-pee-halitosis combo, a scent, so pungent and deeply disturbing as to inspire images of Medieval living, of hermits and slop buckets, of chamber pots, sweaty farmers, poverty and misanthropy, all coiled into a reeking ball of shame. It's somehow more vile when you identify the source as a bearded, iPod-wearing middle-ager wearing a drapey Wolverine t-shirt and shuffling along in sockless Birkenstocks. There is no excuse.

PurpleDazeAnd yet, despite the overcrowding, the hawkish Hollywooders introducing their velvet ropes and their caste-system thinking to a delightfully egalitarian setting, despite the thick mist of loneliness and tiresome, unkind references to The Nerd Convention, The Comic-Con remains one of my favorite events of the year. There is the art, which is jaw-dropping, mesmerizing, offensive and astounding in turns. And there are the artists, most of whom are actively living small so they can continue drawing big. There are the attendees, and their effusive, contagious joy in being there. And there are the kids, whose wide-eyed, mouth-open delight and excitement is off the charts.

ThwartedWhat I've found in my many years of Con attendance (first as an industry rep, then as a reporter and now as a fan) is this: The people there, perhaps from experiencing less-than-thoughtful consideration most of their lives, are notoriously polite. "Excuse me, please," and "Pardon," and "If I may, Lord Vader, sir," - are common refrains, despite the absolutely impenetrable lines and mass of humanity holding forth. People smile at the Comic-Con. They look you in the eye and smile. They say "Hello," if you hold eye contact long enough, and might say, "Isn't it wonderful this year?!" as you cross paths.

StormtrooperSecurityAnd they are educated. Get past the green makeup, fairy wings or patent-leather pants and you'll have a conversation that goes beyond the typical. They are not recluses venturing forth for their annual reunion, they really like people, are open and accessible. They're warm and real. There are artists, writers, pencillers, inkers, technocrats, entrepreneurs, publishers and collectors. There are people here with real passions, real hobbies, who are interested in the world around them - not just where they can get the latest designer shoes or what movie star is boffing whom.

GhostbusterPose-DownFrankly, it's fun. I like being at Comic-Con way more than I like being at your typical cocktail party or barbecue. The people are more interesting and more developed in a gentler, kinder way than many of the lot in the outside world with their social politics, hard-scrabble grasping and unjust superiority complexes. 

So make fun of the nerds at your peril. They'll smile and wave and say, "Isn't it wonderful?!" as they take your money, produce your entertainment - and meekly inherit the Earth. 

Good for them.




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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >