Impressions of the New York Comi-Con 2009

3:42:00 PM



I am not a comic book geek, but suffice it to say that I was beset by great pangs to buy all the stuff I saw around there. I wanted the Battlestar Galactica Viper CAG badge. I wanted the meaty Star Trek communicator pins or insignias for my winter coat- the ones that have the heft that says, "beam me up" or whose gold plate would demand a salute on New York's busy streets.

The energy is electric in the convention all, saturating the air from the pages and toys and booths and the girl shuffling by head-to-toe in a beat up, cardboard rendition of Aqua Teen Hunger Force's Ignignokt.

I wish I had the cash to start reading X-men from when it costs a quarter so I could catch up to all them; so that, I, too, could be walking around, proudly, with a cape and tights today. I wanted ... I really wanted to be saying "I'm not worthy" to some of the artists sketching in the far back corner.

A long line of folks winds out of one row and into another - perhaps an hour wait; the eagerness on each of their faces to just stand before the presence of Jim Lee. I wish I knew why I should have done the same.

Why are there too many booths dedicated to corsets and swords?

Why do all the DVD and CD-selling booths - though erudite in their selection of titles such as the booth of Out-Of-Print movie soundtracks look like they're purveying bootleg editions. My companion swoons over and buys the complete '90s X-men cartoon series, saying that was his favorite show. Later, when we pop in the first disk - our convention booty - the menu is definitely not any more elegant that say, one you might make after days of torrenting. Shouldn't the Comi-Con be all into the "authenticity" of the product? "DVDs minted by Stan Lee's second nephew who just needed a summer job before going off to college," the label should have read.

**Sigh** / **Rubbing of the eyes** - New Titles, new titles everywhere but where are have the REAL superheros gone? The simplicity and grandeur of Superman and Batman: gone? The thought of them is somehow too small for the Comi-Con spectacle. They're there. Everywhere, in fact, but somehow they're almost ghosts or specters or ancestors to the new hero. Yoda here, Yoda there, everywhere a light sabre, but where is The Force in it? The air doesn't seem to resonate with the opening trumpet fanfare of Episode IV: A New Hope.

Yes this new print title here on this table depicts a cowboy girl blasting mecca-villains with pistols ..., ahh but does she have the deep pain of Wolverine or is she just really angry that the Cold War is over? Superheros: they don't make them like they used to.

Kiosks after kiosk with controllers after emerging from the "collectibles" isles where figurines dangled from hooks. Rows and rows of what seems like near VR first-person-shoot-em-ups. The detail is mind-boggling.

Here was the star of the show and placed center stage of the convention center - the video game. Their presentation be-decked with the fanfare of lights, banners, scanty-clad models, emcees and glitter while the "penners" continued to scribble into their sketchbooks in the way-back of the hall with nothing more than a folding table, a curtain behind them and a weak placard with their name. In contrast, a triangular tube that looked like it could sheath your newly purchased katana blade bearing Electronic Arts' insignia was dangling from every one's shoulder.

Like a bunch of greedy pelicans meeting the fisherman at the at the harbor, at the DC pavilion they squawk and raise their arms up to catch a tee-shirt thrown by the emcee.

Clapping erupts at the Marvel pavilion when the trailer for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 comes to it's final crescendo and close.

Towards the entrance there are silo booths with immersion goggles. Folks get in and stand like mummies. VR Pharaohs. New Universes - Spore and the supplemental kit: Spore Comic Book Creator. Play and publish and who needs to pen anything anyway or conceive the trials and tribulations of superheros when you've got every minute, every melee and crossroads in your save history?

Is this how we're supposed to meet the superheros of tomorrow - face to face when Ultimate Alliance 4 is built with goggles and suits and glove controllers? Are these our new heroes - the Comi-Con of tomorrow that honors, not illustrators like Jim Lee, but instead the designers that fashioned the emerging legendary superheros of World of Warcraft? Is this where the inspiration once reserved for the print hero has gone - where we, the game-player, author for ourselves the pain of Wolverine and become the "to-be-continued" with every click of the mouse or flick of the joy stick? The cut scenes, the action ... the living comic book built on gadgets and consoles ... now we're talking a new era of Geekdom.

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