Comic Cons And Your Faith In Humanity


Hey, have you ever been stuck in a silly disorganized line somewhere full of pissed-off people, waiting on something you know is going to be awesome? Attendants ignore you and shoot the face-palm to maybe remind you they’re not getting paid enough for this. Then people start cutting in line in front of you. Then a guy recognizes that and starts yelling. If there’s alcohol, it goes downhill quickly, right? And of course if there’s rain or it’s cold, fuhgedaboudit – right?

So I guess it should have been that way yesterday at Kansas City’s ‘Planet Comicon’, but it wasn’t. Because people of my tribe know better; and that is what’s right in the world.

Let me back up. I found this recently. Back in the day, ‘Starlog’ magazine was a place where you could find things like whether Han Solo was going to get out of the carbonite while waiting on the next movie, or where you could see a casual letter addressed from Sri Lanka written in by Arthur C. Clarke. It was a science fiction dude’s treasure trove. That link is the archive for all the issues. God bless whoever put that together because yay. I was interested in the science fiction world immediately prior to 1977’s release of ‘Star Wars’ and what it was like immediately afterwards because that was very much a pivot point.

What you’ll find should you follow in my footsteps is nerd culture was desperately clinging to decade-old episodes of ‘Star Trek’ and the relatively crappy ‘Space 1999’. They wanted so much more and were hungry for something to get lost in. It comes across on every page. They wanted somewhere to belong without catching crap from anyone about it. Strangely, it reflected exactly what I found in the letters pages of old sci-fi pulps from the 1930’s .

Now flash forward to yesterday in Kansas City with temps in the 40’s and cold rain, no parking downtown, a credit card reader in the lot not working and no attendant, and formless lines outside the Con snaking this way and that, in and out of the rain, with no one clear on which was ‘Will Call’ and which was ‘Walk-in’. People who had no tickets were going in front of guys that had prepaid. Here, see?IMG_5660Inside, it got nuts on Saturday with the crowds. Lines could take up to an hour for just fries and a drink. Was crazy, man. Crazy. And yet…

A dude in a steampunk hat at the parking lot offered to chant Swahili spells for me to make it work. A lady schlepping her Fairy Queen dress in bundles across the street just smiled. The guy who put together a lifelike Jabba The Hut replica didn’t charge anything for you to take pictures next to it. There was a little tiny kid, no older than 10 I swear, in a stilted Groot costume with a line going around the corner of people waiting to take pictures with him. I saw a dude and his dad dressed like Indiana Jones and Henry Jones from ‘Last Crusade’. Here, look at this:

And then I turned a corner and saw Chris Claremont. I’m not organized, I didn’t know who all was going to be there. But there was the guy that wrote some of the most influential comic books ever. The ‘Dark Phoenix’ saga and ‘Days Of Future Past’ from X-men were his brain-babies. He’s probably the reason you’ve even heard of Wolverine. And he was chatting and laughing, telling jokes and cool anecdotes to everybody in line.

I’m sure somebody from yesterday could tell you how wet and hungry they got and how rude somebody was to them. No doubt. Honestly though, if seeing a dad, mom and tiny daughter posing happily with alien-suckers stuck to their faces or cheerful Deadpool guys handing out fliers saying, ‘Free paper!” doesn’t warm your heart, what on earth will?

If you have any cool comic con stories, I’d love to hear them!