The San Diego Comic-Con (aka Comic-Con International) starts up in just a week or two. I’ve attended only once, back in 1999. I’ve always wanted to go back, but the show has become truly crazy-go-nuts-huge. Given that I almost certainly can’t line up a gig to cover my expenses, I suspect that after only my second day packed in a convention center with 125,000 people — at least 20% of whom will have probably never heard of The 5-2-1 Rule(*) — I’d be asking myself why I spent $1500 on a trip that didn’t involve white sand beaches, open spaces, and the possibility of spending less than $16 for a slice of pizza and a medium Coke.
A few years ago, my BFF John’s employer decided that taking a booth at Comic-Con was good for business, so he started attending Comic-Con on an annual basis. And on an annual basis, John urges me to join him. I’m always tempted as hell.
By now, I’ve got the choreography of my little “will I or won’t I?” Comic-Con dance down cold:
- John tells me that I should totally come with him this year.
- I tell him that I totally will.
- John asks for my final go/no-go, shortly before it’s time for him to book a hotel room.
- I chicken out. See previous point about $1500 and 125,000 people in a convention center.
- A week before the show, I’m wracked with regret; every friend of mine who’s attending is asking me if I want to get together at the show.
- Three days into Comic-Con, I’m wracked with anti-regret; every friend of mine who’s attending is Tweeting about the crowds and the noise and the bother and complaining about the general inescapable nimbus in the air.
- I decide that I’m totally attending next year.
And there’s one more annual tradition. It takes place somewhere between #5 and #6: “I come up with what I’m convinced is the most awesome Comic-Con costume idea that’s ever been conceived, or ever will.” This idea is usually beautiful in concept and easy to execute.
We’re right on schedule. If I were attending Comic-Con this year, I’d totally spend a day walking around dressed as this character:
I would walk the aisles in my bowler hat, striped shirt, spattered smock, and hi-top Chucks. I’d have a brush clenched between my teeth, a paint bucket in one hand, a precise number 5 in my other hand, and in my eyes you would see the darting, predatory look of a man on a mission. From time to time, I would hold the number against a plain surface. I would peer at it thoughtfully and then shake my head in disappointment and move on.
I realize that not many people would “get” this costume. But I’m certain that the 48 among the 125,000 attendees who did recognize the character would pack their bags and go home after getting their picture taken with me.
They’d (correctly) figure that the whole rest of the Con could only be a letdown. On their way to the door, they might stop just long enough to punch a Steampunk Stormtrooper Vampire in the throat. Sure, they were going to do that anyway, but they’d suddenly feel far, far more justified for doing so.
(Note to Stormtroopers: actually, I love your costumes. It’s just the “freestyle” sub-section of Star Wars costuming that makes me a little impatient for the Biblical apocalypse. 1,000 identically-uniformed Stormtroopers = an awesome display and a convincing simulation of what would happen if Lord Vader had tracked the Millennium Falcon to a comic book convention instead of a mining colony. 2 people dressed as “Sonny and Cher as Stormtroopers” = oh, honey. You’re very sweet, and I can see you put a lot of work into your Bob Mackie-inspired armor…but you’re really trying too hard.)
If you’re attending Comic-Con, you’re welcome to my costume idea. You’ll be my barometer for future attendance. If you show up in this costume and are not immediately presented with the key to the whole god-damned city, then the San Diego Comic-Con will be dead to me evermore.
(*) “The 5-2-1 Rule of Conventions”: During each and every day of a multi-day comics/pop-culture convention, you must get a minimum of 5 hours of sleep, 2 real meals, and 1 shower. NO exceptions, NO excuses.