San Diego Comic-Con starts today, you guys. I’m going to go ahead and assume you know about Comic-Con. Because if you don’t, seriously, why are you reading my blog?
Ok, that was bitchy. Sorry.
San Diego Comic-Con is the biggest comic book convention in the country. This is its thirty-second year, counting all the different incarnations, owners, locations, etc. And despite the fact that it’s not really about comic books anymore, and hasn’t been for quite some time, more and more people show up every year. It’s more like pop culture Mecca these days. Comics, gaming, movies, animation, cosplay, fiction, toys, collectibles. Everything to make your geeky little heart soar can be found in San Diego for four days every July. (And why in the middle of July, you organizer guys? Why?! It is 8,000 degrees in San Diego in July and you want people to show up dressed like Wookiees and Borg and Judoon? This is to promote slave Leia cosplay, isn’t it? You bastards.)
Yeah. Anyway, once again I’m not going to be there. Sad-faced nerd. I’ve actually never been, and with each year that passes it gets crazier and bigger and I’m less and less likely (but increasingly willing – such a paradox) to get over my social anxiety and go throw myself into a mass of 200 thousand people in a city I’ve never been to and spend a bunch of money I don’t have. It’s completely crazy. So crazy that I heard Sigourney Weaver has to wear a full Batman suit so she doesn’t get recognized (read: mobbed, mauled, groped) by fans. That’s the kind of geek crazy that is the definition of Comic-Con. I suppose I’ll just have to spend another year out here in the sticks living vicariously through blogs and podcasts. It’s fine. But goddamn it I want to meet Nathan Fillion! And David Tennant, Stan Lee, Terry Pratchett, Kevin Smith, and about a thousand other awesome meganerds who are always there. Whatever. I’ll make it down there one day. But really, besides all the people who come there just to meet their fans, the coolest thing about Comic-Con is that it’s a gathering that normalizes. It’s ok to be whatever flavor of weird you want to be and someone will think you’re awesome. If only the whole world could be like Comic-Con. Without the stinky crowds and endless waiting in lines.
I could go on forever about all the cool stuff I’m missing, but let’s just narrow it down a bit, hmm? Because that’ll get boring fast. Just go to the website. There’s an endless list of broken dreams right there (Firefly reunion panel! That’s all I’m saying). However, there is one thing that I would love to do at SDCC that for me is the pinnacle of geekdom. Getting tickets would make or break my entire Con. I considered driving down to San Diego just to go to Wootstock.
You may not have heard of Wootstock. I don’t think it’s invaded the public consciousness the way that Comic-Con has. So basically, it’s a variety show. Wil Wheaton calls it Geek Church. He and Adam Savage (the non-mustachioed half of Mythbusters) and the musical comedy duo Paul & Storm started Wootstock a few years ago. I guess if you have funny friends who like to be onstage, you may as well use them to your advantage, right? Damn right. I’ve probably spent about fifteen hours watching Wootstock videos lately. There are a lot of readings and sketches and musical performances. My favorites are the ones when people you like are doing things you wouldn’t expect. Like Adam Savage singing “I Will Survive” in the voice of Gollum while having a catastrophic nosebleed. Or Weird Al showing up to play the accordion while Dr. Demento (of all people) is singing a Weird Al song. Or Phil Plait doing stand-up comedy.
That’s all just pure awesome, isn’t it? It gets better. They do shows all over the country, but the one at SDCC is obviously the best, because you’ve got all the gods of Nerdom gathered at Olympus, basically, and somehow they all get talked into coming onstage. Where else are you going to see Neil Gaiman singing pirate songs? Or Patrick Rothfuss telling a story about convincing his college RA that a guinea pig was in fact a fish? Or Wil Wheaton telling his “William Fucking Shatner” story? Or Felicia Day singing “Do You Want to Date My Avatar?” live with the Whedon brothers? These things just don’t happen anywhere but the Comic-Con Wootstock show. Well, not anywhere else that I can buy tickets to get in. Maybe in Stan Lee’s living room or something.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? How weird it must be to be one of these guys and look around and say “Wow, the cream of the scifi/fantasy/gamer/tv/movies/comic books crop are all here. And they’re all my friends.” I mean, I guess they get used to it. They’re all just people with similar (weird) interests and similar (fucking awesome) jobs. But it’s like they live on a whole different plane of existence – at least that’s how it seems from down here, in Normal American Media Consumption World. And then we get to go to Comic-Con and bask in their awesome. Maybe even go to Wootstock and say “Dance, puppet, dance.” Or at least pretend to be pirates with them.
Meanwhile, listen to this geeky awesomeness by Mike Phirman: w00tstock – The Song