Comic-Con finally ended on Sunday and I can now get back to my boring, pathetic life. Before I launch into another Comic-Con screed, I want to make it perfectly clear that I write this all out of affection. I love the Comic-Con…but certain problems need to be addressed. Like the smells. I’ve talked about it before and I’m going to talk about it some more.
I’m pretty sure one of the Convention-goers shit his pants. I’m not joking. He actually shit his pants. And he was dressed like The Flash. Now, I’m not one to knock somebody’s incontinence problems, but if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or you just got through gobblin’ down a big burrito, it might not be a smart idea to squeeze yourself into a tight, spandex outfit. And even though The Flash might damn well be the fastest superhero on the planet, apparently he’s not fast enough to get to a fucking bathroom.
This was just one of many strange, olfactory stenches that pervaded through the Comic-Con halls. Something needs to be done. Maybe they could pump in the smell of lilacs through the vents, or at least something less offensive, like the smell of rat turds. Or provide “cleanin’ buckets” every few feet where dorks can towel themselves off. Maybe complimentary moist towelettes?
Anyway, here’s my final report:
My girlfriend and I got up early and encountered no problems on the way to the Convention Center. Parking was a breeze, but we had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to get inside in order to pick up our badges. We immediately headed for Ballroom 20, where the first panel was for my favorite television comedy, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. While waiting in line, the dude standing next to us was getting uncomfortably close. He kept mumbling under his breath and making strange noises, like “whooooo” and “whoooop!” Every sound he made was slightly above a whisper, yet less audible than conversational tones. As he was making these monkey noises, his eyes kept fluttering up and down, as though he was sizing us up or having a seizure. Then he began pacing back and forth, occasionally spinning in circles.
I was getting worried.
I started having visions that this fucking psycho was going to shank us with a makeshift cardboard Harry Potter wand or slice us with the edge of a promotional Dexter postcard. Luckily, a couple of his friends (who may have been orderlies from the local mental hospital) passed by and sat with him, at which point this dude’s psychotic behavior subsided.
Once again, I narrowly avoided death.
My girlfriend craved some Mocha goodness from the Starbucks cart, so I jumped out of line and got into another line. While waiting to order a Mocha, I found myself behind a couple of mental defects who were embroiled in a probing, existential conversation about Transformers. While contemplating whether or not I should shove a straw into my eye socket, I began to question if maybe I was getting too old for Comic-Con, then I glanced over and saw a 70 year-old man dressed as Superman.
Then I silently wept to myself.
Before I was able to get my Mocha, the line to get into the Ballroom started moving, which kicked my fight or flight response into high gear. My heart started rat-a-tatting and I began to panic. Would I be able to get my drink and blitz through the defensive line of smelly geeks in time? As the Mocha was passed off to me, I made a beeline for the line, narrowly tackling a middle-aged man dressed like Inuyasha.
Out of breath and dizzy, I eventually met up with my girlfriend and we were herded into the Ballroom, where we snagged first row seats to the right of the stage. Unfortunately, we were seated next to two of the most foul-smelling bastards in the whole Con, which is saying quite a bit. It was a man and a woman (I think, sometimes you never can tell). The man smelled like he had taken a shit on top of a pile of shit. It was a warm, squishy smell and it drilled into my sinuses and quickly dripped down my gullet, so I could taste the funkiness. It was a dry, musky, chalky taste that immediately sucked the saliva from my mouth.
It was not pleasant.
The woman smelled just as good. But, instead of smelling like shit on top of shit, she smelled like a dying camel. A dying camel that is letting loose rancid fart spasms. My girlfriend’s eyes started to water and I’m pretty sure the stink may have stained her shirt. I also think she started to cry. Luckily, there was no downward breeze, so I escaped most of the foul odors. Plus, my girlfriend’s body acted like a shield, protecting my from the heinous shit-smells and dying camel farts. She’s a trooper!
As we waited for the panel to begin, two guys toured around the room, taping the crowd. For the next 30 minutes or so, they tried to get the people seated on the left and in the middle of the room to scream “It’s Always Sunny at Comic-Con!” They never ventured over to our side of the room and I’m guessing it’s because they caught a whiff of Mr. Brownstain and Mrs. CamelAss.
Anyway, about ten minutes before a bunch of trailers were shown, I saw two guys walk in front of me. They stopped and looked around, as though they were lost or looking for a place that didn’t stink. One of the guy’s had, what looked to be, a slight perm. I stared at him for awhile, thinking I know this guy. Who the fuck is he? Then I thought, Did I go to College with him? He kind of looks like that French guy who always wore track suits and who always wanted me to come over to his apartment for “dinner.” Then, right as the dude walked away, I realized it was none other than Fred Savage. That’s right! Kevin Arnold!
Fred walked to the left-side of the Ballroom and posed for a couple of pictures with random fans. Then one of the annoying cameramen asked everybody in the room (except us lowly bastards on the right-side) to scream, once again, “It’s Always Sunny at Comic-Con!” I don’t know where they’re going to use this footage, but it would be interesting to see if stink trails are visible on the tape.
Then the lights dimmed and we were shown trailers for Quantum of Solace, Tropic Thunder and Twilight (which produced a collective chorus of groans and a bunch of passionate “boos”). I guess pre-teen girls and sexless, middle-aged women weren’t in the audience. These were followed by an unaired episode of It’s Always Sunny entitled “Mac and Dennis: Manhunters.” In typical irreverent fashion, the episode dealt with such subjects as cannibalism and the hunting of humans for sport. As expected, hijinks and hilarity ensue. And, as usual, the episode was fucking funny, offering up allusions to First Blood and reintroducing the often-tortured presence of the character Cricket.
Then Damon Lindelof, creator and executive producer of Lost came out to moderate the panel. After listing off a litany of taboos that It’s Always Sunny has skewered, he introduced actor/creator Rob McElhenney and actors Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day. Mysteriously absent was actress Kaitlin Olson and it was revealed that she couldn’t make it because she injured her back while getting bench-pressed by some dude. During the discussion, Rob explained the origins of the show, Glenn’s propensity for removing his shirt was touched upon (prompting several cat-calls from the audience) and Charlie told us that anything, no matter how offensive, can be made funny. He also launched into an impromptu rendition of “The Night Man,” with a little help from Rob and Glenn. After talking, the three gathered along the left-side of the stage; shaking hands and signing crap (especially Rob, who went beyond the call of duty and stuck around for quite awhile, until the security guards booted everybody out). Also, everybody in the Ballroom received tickets that could be redeemed for season 1 & 2 box sets of the series (given out to the first 1000 people with tickets) or free T-shirts.
The next panel was for Hamlet 2. Writer/director Andrew Fleming, writer Pam Brady, an unnamed producer (who sat behind Elisabeth Shue’s placard) and actor Steve Coogan came out. Maybe it’s just me, but Mr. Coogan seemed a little…unenergized. I’m not sure if he was familiar with Comic-Con or if he was just hung over, but it looked like he did not want to be there. In fact, I didn’t really want to be there, since I was sitting in front of a very large woman who kept screaming into her cell phone; periodically spitting out chunks of peanut brittle onto the back of my neck. Anyway, the audience must have had whatever Mr. Coogan had because they didn’t seem too enthusiastic about the clips. They politely clapped after the scenes were shown (one featured Coogan’s character getting drugged by his students and the other showed him freaking out over meeting Elisabeth Shue) and after the panel left, we were treated to a video for the song “Rock Me Sexy Jesus.”
After this, the Harold and Kumar: Escape From Guantanamo Bay DVD panel came out, featuring actors John Cho and Kal Penn and writer/directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. They were pimping the unrated DVD release, which features a “Dude, Change the Movie!” extra, where you can determine different outcomes for the characters. Kal Penn was extremely reserved and soft-spoken, while John Cho joked around quite a bit and seemed more relaxed. Much time was spent talking about Neil Patrick Harris and the mythology surrounding his “character” in the films. The directors said they were going to make another Harold and Kumar film, but haven’t started writing it yet and don’t have any ideas mapped out (at which point, somebody in the audience yelled that Harold and Kumar should go to Tijuana, Mexico).
As the panel wound down, my girlfriend and I had had enough of stultyfying smells and fat, annoying women, so we decided to hit the Convention floor. Sunday is somewhat known for being “sale” day, where exhibitors slash prices so nerds can load up on cheap crap they would probably never buy in the first place. I wanted to find some old television shows on DVD or Danish midget porn. Unfortunately, nothing caught my fancy and I walked away empty handed. It’s just as well, since I now had extra beer money.
We decided to make a final sweep of the autograph area, where we passed by a grown-man in a Robin costume who was explaining to somebody that he was a psychiatrist. It’s cool and inspiring to see somebody passionate enough and uninhibited enough to wear a too-tight costume, but sometimes you have to wonder when something veers out of the “fun” category and into the “sad” or “worrisome” category.
I pity this man’s patients.
After finding nothing of interest in the autograph area, we made our way out of the Convention Center and into the late afternoon sun. Hordes of nerds filled the streets, in all their smelly charm. I took in a breath of fresh, clean air and looked to the heavens. It felt good to survive another Comic-Con.
I can’t wait for next year.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey