We drove up to Montreal for ComicCon on Saturday, the first time for any of us to visit a comic book convention. Ever since jumping into the comics hobby a few years back, my curiosity about the geek culture surrounding the industry has steadily increased. One catches glimpses at comic book stores, of course, and I got more meaningful exposure when I went to the midnight showing of The Avengers with Mock. But the ComicCons are the ultimate gatherings. San Diego (home to the biggest convention) is three time zones away but Montreal's only a couple of hours drive from our house - seemed worth a try.
Originally, we were going to go with Mock and his family but other developments for him (becoming an uncle, for instance) took precedence. So, it was just the three of us. Our Girl was none too happy about getting up early on a Saturday but she soldiered on and we arrived just before the doors opened at 10.
Not wanting to spend the entire visit standing in line, we decided to forego the celebrity autographs - George Takei, Edward James Olmos and Gillian Anderson were all on hand among others - and panels. Instead, we devoted our time to the vendors. Obviously, there were loads of comic books on sale but also toys, t-shirts and so forth. My own best find of the day:
We also really enjoyed the Doctor Who display, taking pictures with Daleks and the TARDIS.
Of course, ComicCon's most amusing attraction is the geeks themselves. Costumed enthusiasts abound: superheroes, Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Men in Black, you name it. My favorite was a woman in a gas mask with an "Are you my mummy?" sign (Doctor fans will understand). Our daughter was most impressed by the Dalek who scolded a passing Stormtrooper for failing to find the droids he'd been looking for!
If I were to go again, I'd want to devote more time to Artist's Alley, where the comics creators themselves hawk their wares. Practically on our way out the door, I was drawn to the table of Conor McCreery, co-creator of the Kill Shakespeare series. I was on the look out for a t-shirt for Drama Guy, my teaching partner. DG is a serious Shakespeare nut and McCreery's t-shirt with Shakespearean characters posed as the Justice League was nearly irresistible (see link here). Alas, I had no cash (stupid ATMs weren't working) and he was not set up for plastic. I felt bad. "I don't even have anything for you to sign," I said sheepishly, "but I'd like to shake your hand."
He looked up and smiled at that, a wonderfully human moment in the midst of a zany day, probably for both of us. We shook. I met the girls in the hallway so we could go home. DG will just have to be satisfied with a Firefly shirt.
I'm glad we went - an experience to cross off the life list. I don't know if I'd go again, though I must admit that it would be great fun to watch Mock in this environment. DG asked when I got to work this morning if I'd go to the one in San Diego but I don't think bigger would make it better. As I told My Wife, I'd much rather go to a good book store.
However, in preparing for and attending ComicCon, I've made what I believe is an important self-discovery regarding my own geek identity: I am a science fiction fan first, a comic book fan second. I think I already knew that but hadn't previously articulated it. My native language is Star Wars but I'm reasonably conversant in Star Trek, Doctor Who, Firefly and others - currently learning Battlestar Galactica. There you have it, folks: my statement of geek self.