I do not normally do them. In fact, I have a deep and abiding dislike of crowds in general. So when John Birmingham said he was slated to do Comicon and asked if I wanted a pass, I had to admit that I went back and forth in my own head about it.
John will be there, so it’ll be cool.
Umm, so will a pissload of other people, who will probably not be cool.
Granted, I do not consider myself to be the grand purveyor of cool points. Further, as a Civil War reenactor of four years standing (since retired as the war only lasted four, why should I fight longer?) I really do not have much room to snicker at people who dress up in funny clothes.
Well, umm, aside from the reality that the Civil War did happen and reenactors do provide some sort of educational value whereas someone in a Storm Trooper outfit probably doesn’t. And sure, I’ll be the first to admit that some of this gear is pretty cool but to see it all gathered en mass without any sort of regimentation at all is just a bit much.
So when we arrived at the convention center on 34th Street, which reminded one of the Crystal Pavilion of London (though at the time I couldn’t even remember the name of the damned thing, that is how out of it I was) it was a bit . . . strange, to find oneself buffetted by so many levels of Media Fandom. It is easy to see why the Snottier Literati Wannabes of the SF community complain about.
That said, conventions in general are not my thing. I like guns, but I don’t go to gun shows. I like books but I generally do not go to book signings unless John Birmingham is there or maybe Nancy Kress. I’m really, truly, deeply, not a crowd sort of guy. And this place had such a miasma of hormonal nervousness that it put my teeth on edge.
So what’s to say? Well, these folks are potential customers and they all seem to like either science fiction or fantasy. They seem to be younger, in the 12 to 28 age group though there were some older ones running around. They were enjoying themselves and it was their convention. As such, I should not be doing anything more than reporting on what I saw, which was a massive opportunity to open your wallet and shove it down a deep hole for something like Frank Miller’s Black and White Batman, which was on our traveling gift list. Since it was priced at ninety dollars US I immediately hit the Command Veto Button on that Fiscal Fire Mission and informed Trinity that the person wanting that item could find it on Ebay if they liked but I wasn’t subsidizing it.
Birmo and I were joined by CraigWA, Tarl having decided that Friday was a geekout dose too far for him. For a couple of hours we wandered around in various stages of awe, horror, fascination, bemusement and then awe again. I gotta say that the take away prizes were the Stormtroopers and the men dressed up as Ghostbusters, complete with particle accelerator packs.
I think I’d have been more impressed if there had been some test firing of the implements in question but Comicon, as is much of NYC, appears to be a Weapons Safe Zone. The fucking killjoys.
John was slated for a panel on Science Fiction and Fantasy writing which was advertised to be content free. At the same time I had a wounded Trinity back at the local anchorage in need of my attention as well as John’s leave to attend to her if needs must. I was going to manfully stick it out for both panels but after a dose of the first one decided to throw in the towel.
Why? Well, I can’t remember the person’s name but the panel drove on into the standard issue Gender Discrimination Score Points for Political Correctness issue to which my brain muttered, “Ho hum, here we go again.”
Fortunately for me, Trinity called on the cell at just that moment, preventing me from going to Weapons Free on a person I didn’t even know.
I picked up a couple of Star Wars stuffed toys for Trinity, who is a Star Wars fan. She felt bad about not going until she saw the light saber fight on YouTube and some of the flickr shots.
“Maybe staying in bed with a busted knee was better,” she said.
“Babe,” (yes, I call her babe, get the fuck over it because she calls me that too) I said, “a root canal without novacaine would be better.”
Thus it was decided by the Burger Meister, CraigWA and Myself to egress on foot for our lodgings. We made the hike from 34th Street to 52nd in short order. Birmo had to return for a suvudu.com interview (which still hasn’t appeared on the internet as I type this) for Without Warning. Craig, meanwhile, obtained intel on carriage rides through Central Park.
I, on the other hand, had work to do of the non writing related sort. Birmo was slated for a private function that evening so Trinity and I would be flying solo.
More on that later.
Umm, yes, I know there are no pictures. Go to flickr and punch in NYC Comicon and you’ll find a shitload of pictures. Trust me.
Oh, there was one delicious little bit of pleasure to be had. More than a few of my American SF literati PC Nazis attended this function. Without their realizing it, I passed within mere feet of them.
In one case, very close.
Fortunately, I’m not the crazy nutter I’m often marked out to be by these assholes.
Steven Francis Murphy
Author of The Limb Knitter and Tearing Down Tuesday