Comic-Con Is Humanly Impossible
[Originally posted on June 22nd, 2010.]
It’s difficult to fully capture the scale of this shit show. And I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, or to harp on a broken record about a dead horse, but Comic-Con IS a shit show. We showed up this morning at what we considered to be a perfectly reasonable time, and it turned out that it was not reasonable at all. A reasonable time to wait in line for six hours to watch 10 minutes of a movie that is going to come out in 8 months is 6AM. You can see Harry Knowles wheel himself into Hall H against the backdrop of the rising sun. Of course, Harry Knowles has the last laugh, because he was sitting FRONT AND CENTER for the preview of Megamind. He probably no longer even sees this Matrix: just a bright string of green numbers. “There is no line.” That’s what he says. Of course, being front and center for the preview of Megamind is really just a pretext for seeing the preview of Tron, a sequel to a movie that, let’s be honest, wasn’t that good to begin with. You see, the way the festival works is that once people are inside Hall H (which is where all of the major panels are held), they don’t ever have to leave, and they usually don’t. They pee into Stadium Pals and bring sandwiches their moms packed them. And so, when you do get in line, you will be led across the street from the convention center to a beautiful but very far-away quay along the bay and you will be left there to die. Eventually, this line will loop back around to the street and you will cross the street again, onto the right side of things, and now you are in a cattle corral, at which point you sit down. Everyone sits. You sit and you wait.
A BRIEF SIDENOTE: There is no WiFi service at Comi-Con, and very spotty cell phone service. Bear in mind for whom this conference is intended. In 2010, having no Wifi and spotty cell phone service already seems like the plot to Before Night Falls, but at a convention for nerds and blogs? WHOOPS, THAT IS YOUR CONVENTION’S COMMUNICATIONS CAPABILITIES, NERDS AND BLOGS. Anyway, back to the line:
After waiting for two hours, a man will come out and tell you that Megamind is CLOSED, but that you are now in the line for Tron, and that you will get into Tron. You will barely be able to hear him over the heated argument the gang of nerds behind you have been having. They are like those Tuvan throat singers who practice circular breathing, but for arguing about old episodes of The Simpsons, or whatever. In any case, this is good news, becuase you didn’t even know getting into Megamind was a possibility, and you were (slightly) more interested in Tron anyway. The truth is, you are an adult, and you would love to see sneak previews of things if it didn’t require stretching the limits of human patience and discomfort. But an hour later the man will come out and reveal to you, which in your heart you knew all along, that not a single person left the hall after the Megamind panel, and they are all staying for the Tron panel, and so now the line you are in is officially the line for the Salt panel (THE SALT PANEL), which begins in another two hours. At which point you realize that there are three more days of this.
What I’m trying to get at is that it seems fully possible for one to spend one’s life in an infinite Comic-Con line with no determinable outcome. You will be like Seido in Inception, getting noodles in your old man beard, wondering whether shooting yourself in the head would even FIX anything. No mind to speak of, that is for sure. It’s really an experience unlike anything I’ve ever known. It is just hard, as a human adult, to understand what, exactly, is the APPEAL of this circus. As someone who ALSO loves movies and TV shows and comic books and movies and TV shows about comic books, none of that actually tracks with the “pleasure” of standing around for hours in a crush of strangers and being unsure when or if you will be allowed to go to the bathroom and then being told again and again “no.”
I am getting too old for this shit!
“This guy knows what you’re talking about.”
Perhaps I’m not the intended audience for Comic-Con, and that’s fine, but my question, then, would be WHO IS?! I certainly understand feelings of alienation, and the thrill of finding a place where people accept you as you are, but that doesn’t really seem to be what this is about. What this is about is shoving endless promotional materials for uninspired and/or unnecessary nonsense into increasingly large branded gift bags. If you would like to know how it feels to be at Comic-Con it feels like you are a door, and people won’t stop shoving fliers under you. A door saddled with oversized garbage bags.
The good news, of course, is that there are three more days of this! “I can’t wait to hear all the latest complaining!” Max and I are going to try and get in early enough to actually make it into Hall H on Saturday for the Green Lantern and Captain America panels. That day is also Awesome-Con, the competing Tim and Eric festival in some parking lot somewhere or something, who knows. And Tommy Wiseau is supposedly in town? So town has that going for it, which is nice. I’m sorry: I know the tone of these posts has really been a drag. Some old man who thinks everything is noise. But sometimes what young people need to realize is that some things actually ARE noise.
[Originally posted on June 22nd, 2010.]