Boston Comic-Con – August 8-9-10 – You Should Totally Go

For years, we comics fans here in New England dreamed of having a big, and great, annual mass-audience con within reach of commuter rail or our cars. Something like the Chicago Comicon or San Diego, except without the need to set aside a week’s pay and a bunch of vacation time. Alas, the best we could manage were little one-day shows. They were well-run and plenty of fun, but weren’t the immersive festivals we would read about on the Compuserve Comics and Animation Forum or in the weekly Comics Buyers Guide.

Well! Boston Comic-Con came along and grew tall and mighty, quickly becoming a true Northeast fan institution. This show was so worth the wait. I attended my first Boston Comic-Con back when the show was small enough to fill a bunch of function rooms and hallways in a hotel conference center. Today, it does a fine job of filling a space that once hosted Macworld Expo.

The organizers put on a fantastic show. I can’t think of a single shortcoming. In fact, it’s so well-run and delivers such a complete experience that I have no real desire to attend the San Diego con. Even New York Comicon seems disposable now; everything I want in a comicon is right here. Boston Comic-Con features A-list guests from every category of fandom; a tremendous lineup of panels; row upon row upon row of artists’ and independent creators’ tables; and a large dealer area with many vendors that sell, you know…comics. Every year, I discover lots of great self-published books and I also come home with plenty of Marvel and DC trade paperbacks priced to move.

(This is my usual way of keeping up with “event” story arcs. I’ve been burned so many times at $3.99 and $2.99 an issue that I don’t like taking risks any more. But sure, I’ll take a flutter on Hickman’s “Avengers” if it’s a deeply-discounted $8 trade.)

The show is glued together by the energy of a large and diverse crowd of fans. If you’ve never been to a convention, this is what you’re really missing out on. There’s something very satisfying about being among thousands of people who like the same sorts of things that you like, and who are just excited to be here as you are. Don’t be careless with your valuables, but it’s a great scene.

Many of these people arrive in costume and are happy to be photographed, viz:

I love the cosplay community. These folks contribute so much to a show.

I enjoy cosplayers because I appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship that went into these costumes…and I like to see people who clearly are having a great time. But what an effect they have on kids! They’re actually meeting Iron Man! They got their picture taken with Merida from “Brave”! They had a conversation with Artoo Detoo!

Their parents are often as thrilled as their kids. Their 7 year old daughter is squealing over the same things that they themselves loved at that age. I see these people beaming from behind their cameraphones and imagining just how many friends and relatives will get that photo in the next hour.

Happy kids, happy parents, happy cosplayers (hundreds of dollars and hours invested in a costume, with quite a nifty payoff in the form of the reactions they get from kids and grownups)…and happy me, watching this all unfold.

I think…yes, I do believe I will let this planet live. Or at least that’ll be what I’ll recommend in my report. It’s the money-people who make the final decisions, you understand. But! They generally trust my judgment on such things.

[well]Aside: Don’t you hate being bothered by the noise and rowdiness from that planet between here and Mars? Oh wait, no, you’re not bothered by that at all, are you? Because there isn’t a planet between this one and Mars any more. I spent three years living on Galatea and oh, Zarquon almighty did those jerks get on my very last nerve.

I would’t have even let Galatea go on that long. But a taxi driver in the capitol state tried to jack up my fare by 200 units the moment he saw that I was from out of town. I refused to pay and was forced to stick around and fight it. In the end, I had to pay far more than that in bribes to section chiefs just to make the problem go away and get my luggage back.

See what I mean? Crap like that was happening All. The. Damn. Time. Well, the Galateans are nobody’s problem now. You’re welcome and it’s all in an eon’s work. This is why I’m sent out to keep this sector of inhabited space tidy and civil.[/well]

So take this as my very strong recommendation that you check out Boston Comic-Con this weekend. I’ll likely be there on Saturday, and I’ll definitely be there on Friday. I’m moderating a panel with two of my favorite creators: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner.

I’m muchly excited. I love their work. I admire their restless creativity and the obvious work ethic that’s taken them, both as individuals and as a team, through a wide range of comics and multiple publishers over two decades. When their names are on a new series, past experience commands me to try it.

This panel is a Q&A. I’ll be asking one or two leadoff questions before I settle back into my role as the guy who keeps an eye on the time. Even if I weren’t moderating, I’d be showing up early to ensure that I got seat in the audience.

That’s happening on Friday at 6 PM in the Amphitheater. Here’s the whole three-day schedule of events.

Boston Comic-Con. August 8-9-10, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the World Trade Center. It’ll be a great time for you and for your kids as well. Buy your tickets now to avoid at least one extra line, as well as the possibility of a sellout.

If you haven’t been back to the World Trade Center since the last Boston Macworld Expo…oh, boy, are you in for a treat! There’s shade in that part of town now! And a 7-11 and a Dunkin Donuts right on the same block! There are a couple of decent restaurants where you can meet up for dinner, and ATMs and a new MBTA line that will take you practically right there!

I remember many bleary, scorching-hot August afternoons when I had to walk a mile to get from World Trade to the nearest MBTA station, along a route without any shade and sometimes no sidewalk, either. And there was nowhere at World Trade or anywhere in between where you could buy anything to ease your thirst or cool you down.

There are a lot of ways to summarize the Late Eighties/Early Nineties World Trade Center Macworld Expo experience in a single word. If there were a bracketed competition to determine the very best one, “heatstroke” would make it to the final four and it’d be a contender for the championship.

But I’m here to tell you that the excited whispers are true: the city of Boston has finally made the World Trade Center fit for humanity. And a great comic-con is happening there in a week’s time.

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