Friday, the first blazing day of summer. The ComiCon, New York’s biggest geekfest kicks off.
I duck out of work to make the 6pm start of Neil Gaiman’s reading and Q&A. After the highlights of Sandman, American Gods, Miracleman and Beowulf it’s a must-see. I’m going with my colleague Andre, but his ticket says 5pm. An hour difference, what the-?
Turns out Andre has mistakenly been given the extra-special Willy Wonka VIP golden ticket of legend, worth $500. So I go for a hotdog with the plebs while he goes for an hour-long hangout with the man himself in some kind of suitably gothic green room. He emerges afterward with Ye Autographed Death sketch and a taut swag-sack full of enough exclusive gear to make four figures on eBay from delirious uber-fans.
The boy Gaiman is an excellent speaker and fires through narrative like a decorated Jackanory veteran (or Storyteller, depending on your era). He pings off a clutch of well-formed short stories, wrestles a small pile of enthusiastic fan-questions and finishes us off with a chapter from the unreleased Graveyard Book. The latter is fine but not so enjoyable for adults as, say, the actually-creepy Coraline.
Many, many people crowd and mill around a vast space of stands, banners, screens. Books, posters, artwork, obscurely referencing geegaws. Cameras flash. There is cosplay. The Star Wars and Batman cast feature heavily. Here and there wander Ghostbusters, Henry Jones’s and a vast array of anime characters far beyond my understanding.
Kids wandering laden with branded plastic bags full of stuff. Everyone, including myself has an uncontrollable grin. I notice Amanda Palmer from The Dresden Dolls scurrying about, beaming. “Here no one makes fun of you,” points out Sam (my new friend and evident con-veteran) tellingly.
It’s exciting and frankly overwhelming. I thoroughly recommend having at least one beer before diving into the madness. I didn’t try too hard to make the most of it: there was a ton of missed stuff from Orson Scott Card, Grant Morrison, Scott McCloud. I did try to get into the session for Kevin Smith’s new film but we were brusquely told to fuck off by security as it was overcrowded to a potentially-fatal degree.
No good photos from me, but flickr is your friend. Comic conventions are great.