Sunday, October 25, 2009

Emily's First Comic Convention

I married a comic book nerd. Not the sweatpants-wearing, mouth-breathing kind. My husband is the entrepreneurial, sentimental, historical-context kind of nerd. He owned a comic book store for several years, his collections are based on good memories as a kid, and he knows a lot about the social significance of each era of comic books as literature.

I'm comfortable with that. My Dad grew up watching sci-fi B movies in the 60's and passed on an appreciation for battles between good and evil and not-so-special effects. With three younger brothers, I grew up playing with action figures (though my GI Joe's ran hospitals), watching Star Wars, and reading the occasional comic book. I have no problem with my husband's shelves of graphic novels and superhero memorabilia. We respect each others hobbies (I don't mess with his action figure collections, and he steers clear of my scrap booking supplies).

But yesterday I ventured further into Geekdom than I've ever been. I attended my very first ComiCon.

I tried to look nonchalant as I flipped through enormous boxes of comic books, but for the first half of our visit, I did not leave Hubbins' side. I heard old-timers lament, "Kids these days, and their acid free papers! They just don't read anymore!" I considered buying a T shirt or a clever fictional logo patch, but I couldn't think of a single place I could display such a thing. As I gained some confidence and made the rounds independently, I found several artists on site, sampling their wares. I looked through a few portfolios. I realized the artists (mainly goofy, middle-aged men) were watching me for a reaction as I looked at their renditions of various superheros. Every female body was sketched to it's proportional extreme, and made Barbie look average. I kept walking.

Some vendors wanted to engage me in a meaningful conversation. It felt a little like walking in the mall past the cell phone salesmen in kiosks. Don't give them an inch or they'll take a mile. I whispered to J, "You're going to have to teach me how to avoid conversation. I can't escape!" He said, "Quit making eye contact and don't smile so much. You won't hurt their feelings, these guys are used to it."

It was a very good cross-cultural experience for me. I bought my first comic book, conversed comfortably with J's former comic store coworkers, and avoided the extreme cases of full frontal nerdity (a guy dressed like a member of Insane Clown Posse? Really?).

Here's the comic book I bought, circa 1958.
See? Something for everyone!

I also bought a collection of postcards by artist Alex Ross. I figured the combination of fine art, stationary, and superheros was right up my alley.

Someday, I'll feel as natural as these guys, from our new favorite show, Big Bang Theory.

Check out the other great photos and plot synopsis.

And for the record? My husband doesn't even own a pair of sweatpants.

1 comment:

  1. I can just see you wandering aimlessly with a big huge clueless grin. :) I love Jason's line, "Avoid eye contact and don't smile so much!"