I've had the pleasure of visiting San Diego several times in the past four years. Two excursions to Sea World to say hi to Shamu. A day trip to Sycuan Casino to watch my mother and grandmother throw dollar bills at a couple of uncooperative slot machines. Pride weekend 2006...
This year, my journey to the eighth-largest city in the U.S. brought me to the San Diego Convention Center where I lined up with geeks from across the Southwest to pay tribute and respects to superheroes, superproducers, and super shiny toys adored by all fanboys.
If you don't know what Comic-Con is, then you clearly have never:
a) been a follower of the Jedi philosophy.
b) fantasized about sleeping with that hot Cylon chick.
c) wished you were a part of the Scooby Gang.
d) pretended you were a student at Hogwarts.
e) blown your wad over a scaled-down replica of the Batmobile.
f) worshipped the ground J.J. Abrams walks on.
g) understood what it means to be a part of the Fellowship of the Ring.
...and for that, I feel sorry for you. Truly.
One of the largest conventions in the world, and a hotspot for Hollywood types looking for the newest property to buy and adapt into mediocre feature films, Comic-Con started on Thursday and ended on Sunday.
Matt, knowing me so well, got us free professional passes from his office at Mattel. We arrived shortly after noon on Saturday, the craziest day of the convention, and we paid the price for our tardiness. Every discussion panel was filled. Every raffle to win an autographed anything was depleted. Every Smallville giftbag had been snatched up from the Tom Welling meet-and-greet.
We were left to sit on the convention center floor, watching every freak and fanboy walk by, some donned all in black, some dressed to the nines as their favorite characters from the wonderful world of sci-fi-fantasy-horror. I was suffering from sensory overload as we walked through the overcrowded Exhibit Hall. Look here! Look there! Take a picture with the polar bear from The Golden Compass! Sneak a peak at the Iron Man suit! Get the new Buffy: Season 8 comic signed by Joss Whedon himself (You really didn't need to tell me twice).
The rest of our day consisted of getting a glimpse of a scruffy Matt Dallas at the Kyle XY booth, sitting in on a Lost fan podcast, grabbing a few teaser posters for Indiana Jones and the Untitled Thingamabob, debating which Nintendo T-shirt was dorkier than the other (we bought none), and maneuvering our way past countless Jack Sparrow impersonators.
And impersonators there were aplenty. The 35-year-old Harry Potter and his just-as-old Hermoine girlfriend got some looks near the Battlestar Gallactica room. A group of buffed-up warriors and their scantily clad princesses passed out flyers announcing the arrival of Pathfinder on DVD. A pair of hobbits was seen taking digital snapshots of the pimped-out displays at the Sci-Fi Channel booth.
"Look at these freaks!" Matt exclaimed.
I shot him a look.
This coming from the boy who later purchased the Halloween 25th Anniversary DVD and poster print and spent 14 hours on Monday waiting in line to audition for the seventh season of American Idol.
I'm just saying.