Thursday, July 26, 2007

San Diego Comic-Con Day 1: Costumes, Toys, and a Bit of Sentiment

I 'spose we'll have to wait a few days to get the precise attendance figures, but depending on who you asked at what time of the day, the first full day of the San Diego Comic-Con either seemed busier or less busy than Thursday in 2006. Me? I'm gonna stick with "very very busy indeed," because there was a steady, steady flow of attendees, both of the costumed and uncostumed varieties, and I was kept very busy darting back and forth between the feet of convention goers, carting books pack and forth and making certain we had plenty of copies of everything to sell. We've done a brisk day of selling here at Norton. My surprise realization: I shoulda brought more copies of the Moulin Rouge movie bookto the show. (If you want one, better come by tomorrow!) We're getting a lot of interest from our Will Eisner reissues, but the surprise hit of the show so far has been the quirky and poppy Big Bento Box of Unuseless Japanese Inventions. It's not comics, but it sure is fun! All books in the W. W. Norton booth (booth #1714) are 33% off list price throughout the con, so c'mon by not merely for a chance to meet and greet yours little stuffed truly, but to pick up a great book!

Oh course as always the Con is a great place to make new friends and re-meet the old. I was chuffed as cheese to shake hooves for the very first time with a man I've only "met" over the internet before now, Terrific Tom Bondurant, blogger extraordinaire for Newsarama and for his own site, Comics Ate My Brain. Tom is neither old nor grumpy, and I was delighted to make his acquaintance; we have a wonderful chat about the "funness" of comics and one of Tom's favorite Justice League of America stories. I also got to meet once again yet another of my favorite Toms—no, not Selleck, but the powerhouse Tom Spurgeon, king of internet daily news, reviews, and commentary with his unparalleled The Comics Reporter. Thanks, Toms!

Of course, it was a totally excellent day to spy some other folk on the Con floor, too: those illustrious, inventive attendees who come in costume! As I said last year, I'm filled with nothing but awe and admiration for these folks who are creative and bold enough to step out into the crowd in their cool and creative outfits. They do get a lot of attention with praise and compliments shouted or called to them, and plenty of requests for photo ops. Working out of the Norton booth for much of the day I wasn't able to follow around many of the costumed folk for best-angle images, but here's a few of the more inventive ones I spied:

Ready for a lightsaber battle
Jedis keep peace throughout the galaxy...

Scenes from the upcoming "Tatooine 911"
...but sometimes even they need the help of an officer from Reno.

Sam and Max, Freelance Police
Sam and Max, Freelance Police, on the lookout for obsolete cereals like Rice Krinkles....

Deadpool searches for chimichangas
...while Deadpool is on the hunt for chimichangas.

Justice League Assemble!
Justice League Assemble! A very talented group of fans portray the JLA...

Green Lantern's Butt Forever
...including the fantastic butt of Green Lantern!

Let's look at that again, shall we?:

There is no need to thank me, SallyP and Ragnell.

(Of course, moments later, Hal was incapacitated when the giant yellow Pikachu display toppled from the ceiling onto his head.)

Ah, but Bully, you ask me, what of WiedlinWatch '07? Have I given up my quest to find and meet the illustrious Jane Wiedlin, Queen o' My Heart? I answer you in words of one syllable (not silly-bull): Heck no! My little button eyes were peeled wide in careful and perpetual scanning for the sprite-like Go-Go, rider of dolphins and the only girl the Go-Gos trust to sit in the convertible while the rest of them are in the store. And you know, if you look hard enough, just like Elvis, Jane Wiedlin is everywhere. I'm pretty certain that was her in Jedi robes cartwheeling down the aisle this morning, lightsaber a-twirling. When I went to get lunch at the Convention Center snack bar was that Jane in front of me, quietly humming "Song of the Factory" and ordering a strawberry smoothie? I'm sure it was. And surely that Dalek wheeling furiously down the hallways, careening wildly, had to be pedaled by Jane...I'm just sure of it. She's always up to something and is perpetually busy, so I've not yet had a chance to meet her and confess my love for her, but there's still plenty of time yet. WiedlinWatch '07 continues unabated!

I am sure of that. I am also as sure that Miss Wiedlin would not at all mind me showing a bit of affection when I met at the Con another subject of my affection, the delightful Miss Gwen Stacy:
I Heart Gwen Stacy

Please note that while that cheap floozy Mary Jane Watson retails for $99.99, Gwen Stacy is priceless.

Ah ha! P'raps you've noticed..."Bully!" you exclaim. "You're out of the booth!" And so I was. That's one of the wonderful things about bringing the delightfully enthusiastic Miss Jenn along to help out this year: she's able to spell me while I make excursions of the convention floor. Jenn is having a great time and is filled with wonder and awe at the show. (I'll ask her again after she has done nine or ten of them and see if she feels the same). In the meantime she's having a ball exploring the show and going to panels (she was at the Torchwood one today and reports the show looks great, if you haven't already seen it on the BBC). And she very kindly lets me do the same, so I did have some wonderful moments to explore the floor and catch up on many of the wonders of Comic-Con. Join me, won't you, for some of them?:

Hey look! I'm a Legionnaire!
Hey look! I'm a Legionnaire!

We miss you, big guy.
We miss you, big guy.

Heroclix Galactus towers over all!
Wow, look, Bahlactus was right...Galactus towers over all!

It's easy to put Threepio back since he is made of Lego
After he gets blasted by Stormtroopers, it is very easy to put Threepio back together...because he's made of Lego!

It's not wise to anger a Wookiee, even one made of Lego
It's not wise to anger a Wookiee, even one made of Lego.

Star Wars wall mosaic made entirely of Lego
A Star Wars wall mural made entirely out of Lego. I want to do this at home. I need more bricks.

Oooh! Let me get my change purse
Oooh! Let me get my change purse!

Empty Lego boxes. It's like the aftermath of THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!
Empty Lego boxes. It's like the aftermath of the best Christmas ever!

The hall of artistic Darths
The hall of Artsy Darths!

Carmen Mirandarth
Carmen Mirandarth.

Jabba has tapped me to be his new dancer!
Jabba says I can have a three week contract replacing Sny Snootles!.

Playing dice with the universe
This is my favorite photograph of the day. Sometimes things just work out nice 'n' artsy.

Tons of Totoros
Tons 'n' tons of Totoros. Totori?

Hi, Spidey!
Hi, Spidey! I liked your movie.

The DC Comics booth is so big, it requires its own map
The DC Comics Booth is so big, it requires its own map.

Do you have "Marvel Team-Up" #76?
Do you have Tales to Astonish #39?

Hey, *I* have a dollar!
Hey, I have a dollar!

This is what you SHOULD do with your action figures: play with 'em
This is what you should do with your action figures: open 'em up an' play with 'em.

Peering into the display case
Everybody is peering into display cases all over this show!

This guy promised to help me with any extermination problems I might have. Thanks, Bob the Dalek!

Ooh, neon-y Sci Fi Channel booth
The ultra-violet neony Sci-Fi Channel booth. I feel like I'm trippin'!

Funny, it looks bigger on TV
Funny, it looks bigger on TV.

Cases of Cody
Crates and cases of Commander Cody.

I am following the Yellow Brick Road
I even discovered the Yellow Brick Road! Oh wait, it's advertising something.

This one's for Eric
This one's for my pal Eric.

One of the most fun things of Comic-Con is splurging to buy yourself a wonderful souvenir...or two...or three. I am a little stuffed bull who is very careful with his money but every now and then I cannot resist splashing out on some cool stuff to bring me fun memories of my so-far-great time at the Con. So yes, like everyone else in the city of San Diego who is within ten yards of a stormtrooper today, I went shopping. And you know it's gonna be all right when we go shopping!:

EXTERMINATE boring play time with a Dalek toy!
Next time that pesky bunny tries to knock down my Lego city, I have the perfect weapon to set against him: a small version of my new pal Bob the Dalek! Ha! Take that, bunny!

I also finally picked up something I saw and drooled over in London and regretted not buying ever since: the Doctor Who TARDIS USB computer hub! The TARDIS light flashes and it makes that wonderful grinding whoosh...whoosh...whoosh sound as it works. Do not scribble "Bad Wolf" on the side of my USB hub, bunny!

The very pink R2-KT, for a very good cause.
But by far the item I was most excited and happy to buy at the Con was the special R2-KT action figure from Hasbro. R2-KT was created in and built in honor of young Star Wars fan Katie Johnson, who died of brain cancer at the age of 7 in 2005. Proceeds from sale of the figure help support the Make-a-Wish Foundation. It's a wonderful cause, a great figure, and it's ultra-pink but not just for girls only! I also got to meet the full-size R2-KT, and she put a little tear in my button eyes...

Me and R2-KT

In the end, it's things like this that make me love fandom most of all. Sure, we are dreamers and fantasists, and we do dearly love dressing up and watching our shows and playing games and reading our comics, but there's also a forward-looking, open-minded tolerance and care for our world and others, and in many ways I have never seen a more open and charitable group than fans of fantastic literature like those here all this weekend. There are charitable groups for literacy, anti-censorship, the famous Robert A. Heinlein blood drive, and much great openness and care for people and kids like Katie, contributing and working to make certain that we can all enjoy our fanciful hobby. Let the people outside our circles scoff at us and point at our costumes, because in my years of fandom, I've learned that there are many, many folks who are caring and giving and making our world a better place. As somebody once said: "'Let me help.' A hundred years or so from now, I believe, a famous novelist will write a classic using that theme. He'll recommend those three words even over 'I love you.'" In many ways, so many of you who adore and emulate aliens and mutants and robots and cartoons, are the most human of all. When I see things like that, I'm proud to be part of this hobby.


Sleestak said...

great coverage

Andy Goldman said...

Great post. I will be there tomorrow and am looking forward to it, despite what I am sure will be an insane amount of people to walk through. One correction: I think it is the Robert Heinlein blood drive, not Ray Bradbury.

Bully said...

You're abso right, Amadeus; thanks for the correction. Duly changed, consider yourself Bull-Prized!

Jason said...

Thanks for that Bully, I was feeling down about what's up at SDCC after reading about Darwyn Cooke leaving the Spirit and other things, but this post helped restore my wonder about what fandom can do. Dammit, it's getting dusty in here.

Captain Infinity said...

That TARDIS USB hub may just be the awesomest thing ever.

Luke said...

Looks like you are having a grand old time at the Comic-Con, Bully! Although, if you are going to look through the back issue bins, you might want to get John to help you out a little bit!