Sunday, July 29, 2007
SDCC '07: Wonderland, Monkey and Boing, Among Other Business
Yes, well, "regular dispatches" from SDCC rather depended on the web connection on my Treo not suddenly collapsing and spitting cryptic error messages at me. As if there were any other kind.
Via Treo-cam, that's interweb game-theory blogger (and former professional gamer) Alice, myself in the middle, and the infamous Cory Doctorow, who at that very captured moment is blogging. With his brain. His Comic-con photos are here.
I don't often take or look at photos of myself -- usually wielding the camera -- so it's always a bit disconcerting to see the Roscommon barman I'm genetically predisposed to be obliterate any possibility that I might ever come across as a swanky Hollywood writer. A suit doesn't improve matters; I look like the same bartender, just on his way to a funeral.
Maybe a shot with the adorable, elfin Blue Beetle artist Rafael Albuquerque ...
... bloody hell. Time to give it up, open the lesbian pub I've always talked about and just settle back behind the pine where I belong.
Rafael, by the way, brought an astounding number of art supplies to our signing. While many artists crank out pencil or pen sketches for fans, I could see Rafael switching between watercolors, pencil smudges, Sharpies and more on each sketch. The lad draws at some weird sort of distorted redshift speed.
I didn't take a lot of pictures, as I prefer to walk around and actually read the little indies and talk to the booth humans. However, for a bit of scale, some bleached-out but still readable pics taken from up in the DC greenroom over the main floor.
Now imagine that extending for twenty five rows to the left, and twenty five more rows to the right.
The Con's current scale hammers home the hackiness of the standard American media narrative. I noticed multiple news camera crews, and each time it was the same. 124,000 people at the Con, give or take. But if you turn on your news coverage you won't see the giggling, happy five year-olds with their parents, having the "together family time" we're always whinging on about. You won't see the young woman who wrote and drew a comic about her time as a soldier in Israel. You won't see the scrum of young Marines I spotted as they compared Magic the Gathering cards. You won't meet the junior high teachers who are using my comic in their predominantly Hispanic classrooms to spark discussion about racial representation in the media. You won't see the indie film-makers, the kid who shot this 25 minutes in a week and left every industry pro who stumbled across him slack-jawed.
A thousand stories, tens of thousands of familes ... yet the newshacks couldn't wait to hustle up the dozen or so real freaks in costumes, the literally .001% that gave them what they wanted. Not even the kids in the Harry Potter outfits, or the Japanese anime kids, or even the clever unfolding Transformer rigs -- no, they found every empty-eyed overweight forty-five year old Flash or flab-rolled part-time stripper Catwoman and latched on tight for the creepy interview.
In the American media there are two constants. In politics, it is always and forever 1968, and liberals are Dirty Fucking Hippies. In culture, anyone who decides to poke their head out of the cultural world of the CBS primetime line-up is a sad, basement-dwelling loner screaming into his Hello Kitty pillow as crackling video dubs of the original Spider-Man cartoon flicker on his television.
I still came away happy, though. I saw literally thousands of families rummaging through comics, and games, and alternative media ... and the kicker is they didn't know they were supposed to be embarrassed.
Oh, and I saw a drunken Will Wheaton kill a guy with a 20-sided die. That was pretty cool too.
And this. I'm still not sure how I feel about this.