Longtime Beat pal Steve Marmel gave us permission to repost his Facebook rant on Comic-Con. We found it of some interest because Steve is what we’d term a card-carrying nerd-lebrity — he’s got his own fairly lengthy IMDb page, has starred in at least one TV show and several Comedy Central Specials, and has written and produced tons of animation and live action, including The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, and the upcoming Welcome to Mollywood. But we only know him because he likes comic books. And even the nerd-lebrities think Comic-Con isn’t as much fun when it’s all Hollywood and not enough comics!
In the back of the room, sneering at the guy in the home-made Flash suit that might be a little bit illfitting, but he made it himself. You know who I’m talking about. You, the guy that didn’t stop to appreciate how freaking cool the guy in the “Sandman” costume was.
I, like a lot of people, made my annual pilgrimage to the San Diego Comic-Con. I, like many of the people who have gone as often as I have gone, understand the cons of the con. We make the jokes. But we’re allowed to.
It’s our f***ing party.
Batman isn’t just a property that made 300 million dollars, he’s a guy who took a tragedy and honed himself into a weapon against evil. Iron man isn’t just a vehicle for Robert Downey Jr. to reintroduce himself to the public, it’s the story of a flawed (alcoholic) billionaire that uses his genius as one of the 12 steps to redemption.
You get into that convention center, with 125,000 people all moving around like the slowest moving sweatiest of sharks, going from booth to booth for autographs, sneak peeks, panels and spoilers and it’s easy to forget: This might very well be the intersection of fandom and commerce, but it’s fandom that drives it.
We like stopping at the DC booth and seeing the trailers for new cartoons, or the DCUniverse Online game which, I can promise you, will eat hours of my valuable free time. We can stare for an hour at the Star Wars booth. We all want to buy Alex Ross originals, but most of us don’t have 2 grand for a scribble.
The lines move slow because we are savoring it. And there are a lot of us. But we’re not in any big hurry because we wait all year to get there.
For me, for the kid who started reading comic books at 8 years old, who found a bit of an ethnic identity over the fact that Kitty Pryde from the X-men was Jewish, and from Skokie, Illinois, who scrimped on booze to continue to buy comic books through college, I love this art form. I love this form of story telling. For those of us who weren’t the “winners” in high school, there was always something wonderful about comic books (or gaming) because those were morality tales where good and evil was clear, outcasts were respected…
…the good guys won, even if they weren’t popular.
And the San Diego Comic Con is their super bowl. Their prom. Their homecoming. If you don’t know that Wolverine is supposed to be short, and that Batman doesn’t kill, you are a welcome guest. But somebody let YOU past the velvet rope, not the other way around.
So next year, when you’re coming down to San Diego to look at some new “hot property,” or you have to navigate a see of gleefull comic geek to get to the panel you need to be at, remember that.
Make the jokes, sure. We will too.
But do it with a smile. And say thank you, huh?
Because you’re welcome. Even if your reasons for being there are different than the other 124,999 people.