In honor of the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con (preview night is Wednesday, July 23rd and the Con runs through Sunday the 27th), I figured I would share the highlights and lowlights of Comic-Con past.
I started going to the Con when I was a wee lad, back before it switched venues to the spacious Convention Center and became the multi-media clusterfuck that it is today. It used to be held in a hotel in downtown San Diego, with two rooms available (one for booths and displays and a bigger hall devoted to the selling of comic-books and comic-related merchandise). Without the major Hollywood studios muscling in, the Con was previously a somewhat more intimate affair and the patronage seemed to be more obsessive and devoted.
Back then, I was actually interested in comics. I had crawled through the comic primordial ooze, evolving from the pre-teen phase (where I would indiscriminately pick up comics from the local Circle-K and promptly dirty the pages with Otter Pop residue and Puddin’ Pop debris) to the serious acolyte phase, where I collected comics for their “value.” This was when twenty issues of the same #1 comic were printed, with embossed gatefold covers and all kinds of other moronic gimmicks that sucked the money from my supple, creamy, lady-like hands.
I don’t recall too much from these early Comic-Con days, other than the standard geek-fart smells that wafted through the barely-air-conditioned halls. Although, I did have a brief encounter with Walter Koenig, who played Chekov in the original Star Trek series. His small, pixie-like body bumped into me while I was slogging through a sea of sweaty nerds. He apologized and as he walked away, I noticed that he was holding hands with an enormous, 6-foot tall, scantily-clad Amazonian woman who collectively made every set of balls drop in the room.
Kudos to you Mr. Chekov. Kudos to you.
Anyway, when the Con transfered over to the Convention Center, that’s when things really changed. All of a sudden, the has-beens and rejects who were revered in the old venue suddenly got pushed aside for bigger names in the entertainment industry. Whereas Warwick Davis was formerly a God, he now became trampled under the heavy feet of people like Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron.
By the way Warwick, you’re still a God in my book. Nary a day goes by when I don’t revisit Leprechaun in the Hood or Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood. Not too many films have the ambition to offend both African-Americans and midgets simultaneously.
Kudos to you Mr. Davis. Kudos to you.
So, with that in mind, I will now relate a random sampling of big-name stalkings and embarrassing, drunken encounters:
I had the distinct honor of seeing the top of Angelina Jolie’s coiffed head as she was escorted through a crowd of nerds, geeks and cretins and I also remember seeing the top of Halle Berry’s coiffed head as she was escorted through a crowd of nerds, geeks and cretins (this was when she was promoting the cinematic abortion Catwoman, which was directed by a dude named “Pitof.” For this fact alone, the movie earns bonus points, mainly because his name sounds like an exotic, middle-eastern rice dish. “I think I’ll order the chicken pitof, please.”)
I remember accosting director George Romero, wherein I screamed “George!” at him, as though we were long-lost friends. Then I snapped a picture with him and shook his hand, telling him that he was, in fact, “The Man.” He stared at me as though I had just blown a nasty fart into his face. He’s a nice, classy guy and I’ve never felt more like a teenage girl.
I remember shaking Peter Mayhew’s meaty hand (he played Chewbacca in the Star Wars films). The dude is the size of a tractor trailer and my supple, creamy, lady-like hand was engulfed in his palm, like a small otter being swallowed by the mighty sperm whale.
I remember the time Rob Zombie brushed against me while security guards mistakenly led him into a throng of waiting fans. These guards quickly realized their snafu and pulled him back. I was eye-to-eye with Mr. Zombie and I could see the terror radiating from his body.
I also remember strolling past an open booth where I saw a lithe girl squatting on top of a file cabinet. She was attempting to hang a picture on one of the walls and I slowly soaked in her petite frame, observing how tightly her pants clung to her thighs. Then she jumped down from the cabinet and turned around.
The girl was Glenn Danzig. Former lead singer of The Misfits
Holy shit! I thought. Does this mean I’m gay?
Danzig stood before me, a quizzical look on his face, as though I had just blown a nasty fart into his face. Now, back then I was a pretty big Danzig fan, so I definitely recognized him, but there was still a small part of me that just wasn’t sure. About 1/3rd of Comic-Con patrons look like him, so I took it upon myself to investigate further. The only problem is my eyesight sucks harder than a well-paid whore, so I had to improvise.
While the potentially faux-Danzig talked to a Convention-goer, I decided to employ my vast knowledge of Hardy Boys investigative techniques and uncover the true identity of the man before me. So I ran up to him and perused his body. Up and down my eyes went.
For those familiar with Conventions, you usually have to wear a nametag to let people know that your name is “Bobby” or “Timmy.” This extends to everyone who walks through the halls. During this particular Comic-Con, the nametags had sharp pins on the back of them, as opposed to the new necklace-type badges that are de rigueur. So, I quickly realized that this Danzig fellow did not have his nametag pinned to his shirt collar like the rest of us, but that he had pinned it onto his tight pants.
Right next to his crotch.
And here I am, blind as fuck, bending over to gaze at his nametag. My nose was mere millimeters away from his cock. Only a tissue-thin piece of denim stood between my nose and his flaccid member and I could feel his head twist down toward me, his eyeballs buried inside the back of my skull.
And his nametag read “Danzig.”
He stopped talking and stared at me, his eyes burning with fury and confusion. The guy he was conversing with also stopped mid-sentence and there was a palpable air of uncomfortableness. Then I slowly slinked away and rushed to the bathroom, where I peeled off my clothes and washed my sullen body, baptizing my dirty, dirty skin.
I can’t even listen to the Danzig song “Mother” anymore without questioning my sexuality.
Anyway, I’ve also seen the great Ray Bradbury several times, mainly after his stroke. He’s become something of a fixture at the Con in recent years, being pushed along the convention floor in his wheelchair. While I may have the balls to go eye-to-cock with Danzig and make an ass out of myself to George Romero, I have yet to approach Mr. Bradbury. Maybe I’ll down a case of Pepto Bismol and finally go up to the man and have him sign my ass cheek or something.
Several other memories come to mind (like when I got hammered next door at the Marriott bar and inadvertently became a part of Stan Lee’s posse, or when I saw Matt Groening standing side-by-side with Brian Posehn as both rumaged through silver-age comic stacks or the numerous times I’ve seen Eli Roth on his cell phone), but I’ll save these stories for another day.
The bottom line is, the Comic-Con is fun and you witness shit that doesn’t come down the pike often. Like seeing a smorgasbord of nerds dressed in cosplay outfits or watching Lou Ferigno smuggly demand 25 bucks for an autographed photo of himself, sending the old woman who wanted a picture of him away; her soul and spirit crushed.
Et tu, Lou? Et tu?
At last glance, the San Diego Comic-Con was sold out on Friday and Saturday, with Thursday and Sunday going quickly. I have yet to buy tickets, since I’m a procastinator by nature. But, if I do wind up going and any of you will be there, feel free to say hi and/or buy me a drink.