Growing up, I had a pretty substantial collection of both comic books and baseball cards. What can I say? I was a geek. Past tense, of course. I even had my own collection of Dungeons and Dragons dice. I mean, you did too, right?
My mother was a journalist, always seeking her next big career move. We relocated quite a bit when I was younger. In fact, by the time I was in the seventh grade, I had been in and out of about ten different schools up and down the Eastern seaboard. The only roots we established were the ones in the back of a moving truck.
A trunkful of baseball cards was difficult enough to move from city to city, never mind the boxes upon boxes of comic books. So mom gave me the choice: one collection had to go. I felt like Meryl Streep at the end of Sophie’s Choice, having to decide between one of her two children.
I chose the baseball cards.
She took the comic books to some local dealer in whatever state we were living in at the time. I could barely watch. I believe he gave her a fair price for them, not near what they’d be worth today but then again, we’d have had to suffer through another decade of hauling those things around. And it’s not like I had Spiderman number one or anything. I understood the decision. Heck, I didn’t want to carry those things from apartment to apartment anyway. But superheroes always held a special place in my heart.
I was always more of a Marvel guy. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the simplicity of DC, Marvel just offered a more extensive catalog of characters. Plus they had the Hulk, perhaps the most simplistic superhero of them all. Piss him off and he turned into a green-skinned, purple panted monster that you dare not fuck with. No dialogue, just knocking bad guys the hell out.
I was never surprised by the eventual popularity of superhero movies. It was only a matter of time. They provided the fantastic storylines that Hollywood so desperately needed. Nor am I surprised by the amount of people who still collect comic books or graphic novels (they were never called this when I was a kid) like they’re pieces of art. They are, an indelible and perhaps underappreciated part of our nation’s artistic history.
By all accounts, Stan Lee is a genius and a rich one at that. In 2010, Lee sold Marvel to Disney for $4.3 billion. That’s a lot of Underoos.
So when Comic Con paraded into town, I figured I’d get in touch with my inner geek, take some photos, meet Princess Leia and perhaps get a post out of the deal.
The experience was everything I expected and more. I’ve been to comic book conventions before. Comic Con is your comic book convention on steroids.
There were artists, comic book collectors, exhibits, celebrities and every Star Wars, Star Trek, Walking Dead and superhero piece of paraphernalia you could imagine.
There were fake swordfights with people watching. Not staged swordfights, mind you, but random people at the event pulling out their light sabers and engaging in duel while others cheered on. To be perfectly honest, the entire event was a swordfight, if you know what I mean. There were even people there who made up their own superheroes, a mish-mash of masks, capes, leggings and whatever else they could get they could raid out of their mom’s closet.
To best exemplify the extreme geekitude at the Convention Center that afternoon, I actually overheard one detailed debate about who would win a battle between Hulk and Thor. Both agreed that Hulk would win no contest. Well, duh!
Parents and kids, dressed in full costume, walked around the place with boundless cries of “Daddy, can I have this?” When else other than Halloween could you hear a mother bordering on aggravation, tell her son “Are you trying to talk to me? Lift up your mask.”
Rebirth of the cool it was not. Walking the aisles of Comic Con made me feel like the Fonz.
A cast of characters from all walks of fantasy life were in the building. Predator, Red Skull, Dr. Doom, one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They even had Darth Vader and Ben Obi Wan posing for pictures together. I guess they kissed and made up after that whole Death Star mishap. There were multiple Batmans, Spidermans, Hulks, Jokers, Captains America and Princess Leias. These were not the people who were paid to be there. These were the people who paid to be there. It was a sight indeed.
I tried to go this entire article without using the word “subculture” but that’s exactly what this is although those at Comic Con would likely disagree. They’re not “sub” anything. If anything, they’re on top of it. The fact that they can’t find a date is just a coincidence.
There were numerous references to things I didn’t get for which the geeks would probably ridicule me in return. That’s ok. We all have a little geek in us.
I walked out of there giddy, extremely glad I went. That’s what comic book characters have done for us over the years. They allow us to suspend disbelief and make us think that we too can one day fly.
Or at least walk around in tights.
Smell the irony as right outside Comic Con, Tricky Dick signs a petition to legalize marijuana
Spiderman and his knapsack
Thirty bucks to get in and worth every bat penny
I’m not sure who this guy is but he appears to have a boxing glove at the tip of one of his arrows
Handsome devil in a Chewbacca t-shirt
Not so handsome devil in a leather overcoat
A big scary Star Wars thing
Princess Leia was getting $75 for a photo op. Needless to say, I opp-ed out.
Someone stole Captain America’s backpack. Seriously, in what other setting with this in any way be socially acceptable?
Now THAT’S what I call a comic book collection!
Predator posing for his fans. Good thing most of us were covered in mud.
Batman forgot to shave
Mike Tyson would so knock both these guys out. So would Ronda Rousey.
Some seriously old school comic books
One of numerous artists to have their work on display at Comic Con
Toot Toot. Aw. Beep Beep.
One of these things is not like the other.
I must have missed this video game. Fortunately.
Marvin the Martian
Bruce Banner wasn’t the only Hulk at Comic Con
Spot the light saber and the dinosaur.
Batman waiting in line for pizza
Honey, I shrunk Dr. Doom.
I believe this man needs no introduction
Reunited and it feels so good.
I’m your boyfriend now, Nancy.
It’s not easy being green.
Did Captain America and Spiderman have a baby that I wasn’t aware of?
Get to da choppa!
Finally, someone who can beat Predator.
More funky art
Yeah, I’m at a loss.