Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Comic-Con Post 2

Because Valentine's Day and New Year's hold no pleasure for me, and even Halloween has lost a bit of lustre since moving from Los Angeles.* So, until they come up with BJs For Loser's Day or Geek Week, I have to content myself with really looking forward to the San Diego Comic-Con every July.

Two years ago, Merrill and I worked together at Fox, and we both managed to a) get the time off, b) get the money together, and c) convince his wife to let him come with me. It was quite the experience, with lots of sweat, even more walking around, and smelly crowds. Yet before the trip was done, Merrill was already talking about what we would do differently "next year."

That impressed me.

Last year, however, though he had asked for the time off and the money, his wife absolutely forbade it. I went alone, but hooked up with my pal Matthew from L.A. and it worked out pretty well. But Merrill winced with regret at my stories of Joss Whedon and WALL-E and Robert Downey Jr. and really really fat guys dressed as the Punisher. So, as soon as he was able (January, in fact), he asked for the time off from work to go with me this year. The money came later (and believe me, there was a lot more required this time 'round), and the third thing, well, that was the real feat.

I often don't understand Merrill's wife. She sure seems cool in person (which is more than I can say for many of my friends' wives), is always nice to me on the phone, and has never once given me any indication that she thinks I suck (not that I'd blame her, really, since I do). But I guess that once the doors close and I'm far away, she expresses her displeasure that I hang around, or more accurately, that her husband wants to spend time hanging around me.

Merrill chilled me to my very bone with stories of his wife's attempts to prevent him from going to Comic-Con, even at the last minute, and while she apparently does it from a position of love and a desire to have her husband always by her side, I couldn't help but despair that she Lexluthors schemes to punish me by keeping Merrill from leaving. The last one was a sort of weight-loss competition with him. If he lost more weight than her, then she couldn't cut all her hair off (again), but if she lost more weight than him, well, then Comic-Con was out.

So, Merrill drank a capful of Epicac every evening before bed, and carried his children to school instead of driving them, and we had a green light.**

Merrill and I, somehow, became better friends when I had moved to Los Angeles and never saw him anymore, and when I moved back and we saw each other all the time, we grew even closer as friends. That was nice, and I do have to marvel at the fact that we're still friends after spending thirty or so hours in a car together this past weekend.

He had to work Wednesday night, so I went and picked him up afterward, we loaded into the car, and headed for California. We drove through the night and into the morning, thinking we'd get there early enough to be able to take a nap before the convention began. Sadly, we hit terrible SoCal traffic on the I-15 nearing San Diego between seven and eight, stopping and starting and losing all our lead time. When we finally got there, we were no longer early, and couldn't really find any free parking. I parked on the street last year, and didn't have any real difficulties, so I went ahead and did that again this year.

I was afraid they would give us a hard time about getting Merrill into the con, because he had missed the deadline and/or been rejected in his application, and I had begged the press relations liason to give him a pass anyway, and he gave in and said I could register Merrill as my guest. But who knew if that would work? What's more, in my zeal to get Merrill in, I had forgotten to bring my own registration confirmation. Luckily, we were both in the system, and my persperation was for nothing.

Or rather, some of my persperation. San Diego is warm, and the convention was crowded, and I have to admit that I was already moist and fragrant from the long drive. As the day went on, I'm sure I added to the funk that drifted through the tightly-packed air in the building.

A year ago on my birthday, my mom and sisters pooled their money to get me a digital camera, and it's really been the best present I could imagine. I use it just about every single day, and carried it around this Comic-Con and the last. But unlike last year, I remembered to bring a whole bunch of spare batteries, so I didn't miss out on foto ops (like I did last year).

The first thing you notice about Comic-Con--besides the crowds--is the amazing array of fantastic costumes that people have put together. I'm not really a costumer myself, except for Halloween, and even then I don't get into it as much as convention attendees do. While I was trying to get Merrill registered, we saw a guy dressed in a homemade Cobra Commander costume (complete with shiny helmet), but I missed my chance to take his picture.

I got my camera out and put it in my pocket to quick-draw whenever I saw something pic-worthy. Such as...
A congregation of Predators in the lobby.
Or a girl dressed in a homemade "Shindig" Kaylee dress.
Or a really effed-up Arkham Asylum Joker get-up.
Or a (n only slightly less effed-up) Clone/Stormtrooper outfit.
Or some amazing He-Man costumes, like this one of Teela and Evil-Lyn.
Or this one of Trap-Jaw, proving that even the lamest character can be cool if done with a little love.

There were hundreds walking around, some poor and some great, often stopping to pose for photos with fans or kids.

Which is probably my cue to mention the really hot Wonder Woman walking around the Warner Bros. booth. And she really filled out the suit.***

Merrill was apparently quite the ladies man in high school, and when I met him in college, he always had at least one hottie sending him love letters or boiling bunnies to get his attention. I, of course, could only draw flies in college (and rather crudely, often making them look like spiders), and was only a tad less of a loser then than I am now. But I'd figured the years have changed all that, and as he's been married and quite fat for some time now, things would have equalled between us. But when Merrill saw the Wonder Woman chick and pushed his camera into my hands, I got a vivid replay of what our college years were like. This woman, a complete stranger, pressed herself up against Merrill for the photo like a really attractive facehugger.

I guess it goes without saying that I've always been jealous of my friend, but to see a veritable SUPERHERO glomming onto him like the Venom symbiote . . . well, that just hurts.

I think I'll end here for today. While I'm ahead.If I can call it that.

Rish "Wonder Woman Never Hugged Me" Outfield

*The last Halloween I spent there was on the set of THE GOOD GERMAN, dressed as a French soldier and being paid extra because I supposedly had military training, but it wasn't really the costume I had in mind.

**This is actually a lie. They decided to change the terms of their wager when they realised they hadn't enough time to lose more than a couple of pounds. But the actual consequences of losing are now much, much more ghoulish.

***To quote the famous physicist Phinneus Fresh Prince PhD: "You should've seen this girl's bodily dimensions." Or maybe he was a marine biologist.


Anonymous said...

I know this comment comes a little late, but the picture labeled "She-Ra and Evil-Lyn" should actually be labeled "Teela and Evil-Lyn." And I beg to differ about Trap Jaw... He's an awesome character! Especially the Four Horsemen design.

Rish Outfield said...

Fair enough. Fixed.

Danny Topping said...

Trap-Jaw's awesome, dude. Get your mind right.