Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Ugly Nerd on Prom Night

'Twas the night before Comic Con, and all through the apartment, not a swag-craving geek was packing, for he was too broke to go this year.

And...SCENE!

Alas, me hearties, 'tis true: I shan't be going to the 2009 Comic Con International in San Diego this week. Though financial limitations have never stopped me from going in previous years (this would have been my fourth go-round) I knew pretty early that a lack of full-time employment would make the journey quite unfeasible, if not outright impossible.

Actually, my not going was preordained a little over a year ago when the 2008 festivities had barely ended. I had just had the BEST. TIME. EVER. with my usual Con crew (plus lovely newbie Eileen) and we all pretty much agreed that it would be hard to top the four day extravaganza we just experienced. In an act that could only be described as divine intervention, our official travel booker snagged us a last-minute slot at the Marriott located next door to the San Diego Convention Center. This was truly manna from heaven, folks, as it not only cut down on the daily travel time, it also afforded us an oasis where we could seek refuge from the madding crowds (or is that "maddening?") Our gorgeous room with a kick-ass view of the San Diego marina also came with free breakfast and dinner vouchers, which certainly topped the mediocre/overpriced fare that the convention center slings each year.

So on this eve of what is known as Geekmas (Christmas for geeks) I am truly crestfallen that I will not be partaking of the groovy sneak-peek movie screenings, celeb-studded Q&A panels, and of course, the endless barrage of swag-laden booths lined up in the labyrinthian convention floor where con attendees appear in insanely innate (and often revealing) superhero/character costumes and huckster pitchmen/women lure passersby into impromptu contests to win all sorts of free crap.

Comic Con truly has something for every geek persuasion and there is never any judgment. To wit, my friends Debi and Sean who demurred at the jam-packed presentation for J.J. Abrams' STAR TREK reboot in favor of a Fans of "Little Lulu" panel. Heck, I even skipped last year's WATCHMEN panel (hadn't read the graphic novel yet) so I could attend a cast of "Peanuts" Q&A. (Did you know Peppermint Patty was voiced on separate occasions by both a boy and a girl? Neither did I.)

Don't get me wrong, Comic Con is also the biggest hassle in the known geek universe. Every year it gets bigger and bigger, as does the line just to get in the joint (note to Con virgins: always opt for the 4 day pass so you can pick it up Wednesday before everything goes to hell.) The pushing, and yes, sometimes even shoving that occurs when a celebrity pops up on the main floor or a certain swag item is going like hotcakes (i.e., last year's STAR TREK posters) is so redonkuloid that you wonder why you even bothered going.

But then something invariably cool will transpire, like Hugh Jackman making a surprise appearance to promote WOLVERINE (this was before we knew it sucked) or realizing that you're standing behind Ron "Hellboy" Perlman at the Starbucks in the hotel lobby. You just never know when you're about to have your knee-high tube socks knocked off.

My melancholic mood has been furthered fuel by the last-minute additions to this year's Con that keep popping up online, like the free screenings of INGLORIOUS BASTERDS and DISTRICT 9. Ooh, those really hurt. However, every time I see a photo of the latest Con exclusive (I'm talking to you, Darth Vader Toaster) I keep thinking of the money I'm not spending this year. Like they say, a penny saved, is a penny earned.

On that note, I'm going to go pick out a jar to hold all the pennies I'm saving this year. What will I be saving up for?

I think you know the answer already.

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