Part the first…
After 2.5 days of the t-shirt and cargo pants look, I felt silly not being dressed up on Saturday, which is masquerade day. Sure, I wasn’t doing the masquerade, but that’s the day all the serious people dress up, as well as most of the one-day-only attendees who come (like my friend Ben). I feel left out and lame in this way when I go to the Renaissance Festivals, Blizzcon, or other nerd conventions in my past as well. Gotta represent! So, I dug through my closets to find something that might pass for a costume for Comic-Con, without wanting to go zombie (too messy). I found the outfit detailed earlier, and once I had the hat on and some makeup to look a little sluttier, I mean, smokier, I felt I could pass for something. I had sort of a Firefly-steampunk vibe going, mostly thanks to the hat which had always garnered me compliments in my younger days. I did have a cute brass pin of a Weta gun, the Goliathon 83 to be precise.
One of the great things about Comic-Con for me personally is the diversity. Many purists complain, with good reason, about the dilution of he original comic-book focus, and I can respect that. I attended my fair share of comic conventions in high school and the feel is just so different. The middle area of SDCC’s Exhibit Hall with the movie studio booths is a nightmare of crowding, attempts at crowd control, avarice, pushing, strollers, and idiots, but the studios generate some awesome swag, interesting panels, fat cash to keep our ticket prices down, and that glorious unicorn diversity. The expansion from comics into toys and t-shirts and manga and videogames is already obvious; the studio films of comic book properties and the huge sci-fi market that overlaps so heavily with that made the studio presence inevitable. There is so much cross-pollination we could never extract the pure DNA again. Plus we get these awesome giganto bags for our swag.
Nerds who love comics also love other things, and the great thing about nerds is their passion for those things, whatever they may be. I always struggle with working out my programming schedule at Comic Con because I do have a wide range of interests and many of them get scheduled for the same blocks of time. I could completely nerd our at panels for sci-fi movies, speculative fiction, Harry Potter, older 1980’s comics, steampunk, Robot Chicken, Lost, Chuck, Battlestar Galactica, World of Warcraft, production design, composers, Browncoats, toys, Ghostbusters, Glee, character development…. I like a lot of nerdy things a lot. Even things I am not necessarily passionate about, I am literate in, or at least comfortable enough to know the right name to shout to catch their attention for a photo. “Columbia! Leeloo! Jayne! Sea Captain! Weinerlicious Girl! Russell! Snape! Over here!”
My web-tingling friend said he felt intimidated that I out-nerd him, and I know from my social group that I only scratch the surface in many areas. I had a lack of focus, or specialty. Some folks are just there for Star Trek, or Family Guy, or Buffy, or Fables. I love looking at the surges of creativity pulling through the crowd. Store-bought costumes aren’t shameful exactly but they don’t elicit the same “oh DUDE!” that Zombie Aquaman or the steampunk folks or the crazy goat-headed creature do.