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Paste Pot Pete by Colleen Coover

[Special to The Beat by Mark Coale]

As I told a number of people, I stopped coming to SD in 2003 because it had gotten too big. And after one day, I’m glad I’m leaving tomorrow.

Exhausted is just the word that came out of most people’s mouths. And those were from people with booths, who presumably weren’t constantly on the go the entire day.

I love how staffed the show is now, but it seems a smidge too draconian. You couldn’t go more than 10 feet without a Con volunteer or red-shirted security person making sure you only went out the exits and kept lines from turning into quagmires.

Man, the lines. Even the short ones were long. Long lines upstairs to get into panels. Long lines downstairs to get free nick-nacks or books signed, be it comics pro or C-list celebrity. Lines at the ATM, lines at the food court. And then there’s the rumored two-mile line for the Twilighters.

Let it be said I can’t recall a bad incident today with a Twilighter. Maybe they all did leave after the panel and never even set foot in the hall.

I vented in an email to a few people last night about Preview Night and won’t repeat them all here but just wanted to say that “real weapons” are banned from the convention center (although I saw an Elektra apparently brandishing sais), the “fake ones” that are oversized could be just as much of a hazard.Costumers, please leave your giant novelty Manga Swords or Death Scythes at home next year.

On the plus side, it was great catching up with people probably not seen since the last time I was in SD. Had some wacky conversations about goofy 1960s villains a couple times today. Got a couple books to peruse. But still missed many people I knew were in the hall and never saw once. Hopefully, they’ll be at one of the more intimate shows like Baltimore or Charlotte soon.

And now, a vacation from this vacation.

In the immortal words of Kimbo Slice, “I’m done Gus.”


  1. Mark, you haven’t really experienced the overload at Comic-Con yet. You should have stayed through Saturday — Saturday always makes Wednesday and Thursday look like a very sparsely attended, run-down carnival. Or, alternately, last year’s Republican presidential convention — same thing, really.

    Take what you felt today, double that, then multiply it by ten, then subtract deodorant, add about forty Stormtroopers, divide by the creeping, ever-present paranoia that the air conditioning could give out at any second[1], and then multiply that by 10^87gagillionth power and you’ve got Saturday at Comic-Con. God, I miss it.

    — Rob

    [1] I was there the year that happened. On Saturday. Didn’t know the dealer’s room could develop its own weather system at all, much less a half hour or so after the air conditioning broke.

  2. Sure, lines suck. But there’s something awesome about getting my nerd tendencies validated and so catered to, plus the pride and zeal that shit economy or not, our niche genres are still a vital force.

    I’d prefer more artists be overloaded with commissions than complain about a con being a dead scene.

  3. If I hated people Wednesday and Thursday, I wouldn’t want to think about how crazy I would be on Saturday. I’m happy to have a reason* not to be here for the weekend. And if the air conditioning was working Thursday, I’d hate to see it not working. :>

    * should be coverage on the Beat sometime next week

  4. Ah… Mark… no byline on the article… (Also, the image isn’t loading. Perhaps the “I Hate People” cat from that Tex Avery cartoon, as he gets stepped on by pedestrians, would be better?)

    Rob, you forgot to include the Slave Leias and other distractions which cause instant traffic jams as attendees stop to gawk and take pictures.

    As always, the Berra Axiom applies, “Nobody goes there, it’s too crowded.” I’m saving my indy jones for SPX, my comics and trade show jones for Baltimore. Any exclusives or must-haves I’ll purchase on eBay with money saved from not paying for airfare or hotel room.

    Curiously, I would attend Komiket, with 500,000 attendees. Can’t get that here.

  5. “Rob, you forgot to include the Slave Leias and other distractions which cause instant traffic jams as attendees stop to gawk and take pictures.”

    Ooops, yeah, I forgot the traffic jams caused by the costumers and cosplayers — I still have nightmares about the anorexic 6-foot-tall transvestite who dressed up as Supergirl a couple of years ago. And i was soooooooooooooo over all the Captain Jack Sparrows even before they started showing up to the cons.

    One thing, though: I don’t consider the Slave Leias — possibly the first Post-Modern fetish — to be a distraction. Especially if some of them turned out to be, say, Yvonne Strahotski[1] or Olivia Munn.

    — Rob

    [1] Spelling intentional. That pun on her last name actually started on the set of “Chuck” even before the pilot premiered.

  6. I mentioned this on twitter yesterday but maybe not here:

    One of the funniest things I saw yesterday was, while eating dinner at the Bayfront, I saw an older fellow carrying a bunch of designer shopping bags walking with an attractive young (adult) lady dressed as Supergirl. I’m sure it could have been his daughter, but my mind lurks in the gutter. :>

    Also, one of the few things worse than being stuck in a stuffy convention center with 100,000 nerds: being stuck on an airplane in the same row as two mis-behaving small children. Thankfully, it was only a 40 minute flight. At least there was TV and I watched part three of last year’s LOST season finale (meaning season 4, not season 5).

    I did have a great time today where I went, so let this not be a totally curmudgeonly post.