Words by Megan Burns, photos by Stephanie Breijo.
So this past weekend I attended my first Comic-Con ever at Javits Center, and it was weird. If you’ve never heard of Comic-Con, it’s a weekend-long event that is basically like a mini summer camp for nerds; there are video game demos, panels on things like how to be a steampunk or how to make your own comic book, booths where you can pay to get Adam West or Draco Malfoy to sign your stuff, and SO MANY COSTUMES.
We picked up our passes on Thursday, which was a good way to ease into the madness since it wasn’t very crowded yet. Stephanie (who’s been to like a thousand Comic-Cons already) showed me the ropes. First we did a sweep of the showroom floor, where Stephanie made me try on a pair of those weird Necomimi cat ear headsets that they built in Japan so people would know how you’re feeling without asking you. I should probably tell you that I already sometimes like to check that no one is reading my mind in public by mentally insulting each person around me and gauging facial reactions, so I immediately hated this product; even though no one could tell what I was REALLY thinking about, it was a step closer to mind invasion than I’d like to be.
Stephanie told me to think about something sad or something that made me angry, but I was already thinking those things because I really didn’t want to wear the stupid ears. Then I checked my email and the ears started vibrating a lot. They apparently do this when you’re concentrating really hard, so I guess they worked. (I hope everyone saw how hard I was concentrating.) I gave the ears back and the sales girl told us that they cost like $99 or something. I did not buy a pair.
We kept walking around and eventually we came to this booth where they were selling lots of swords. “What if I bought a sword right now?” I asked Stephanie, whom I had only actually met in-person for the first time about 45 minutes prior. “That would be really funny,” she said. It was hard to tell if she really thought this was funny.
We continued walking and stumbled upon a place where you could take your picture with a super model for $5, and/or take your picture in the DeLorean or the Bat Mobile. (The super model was not a super model, by the way. I know this because she wasn’t smizing, which is a word that super model Tyra Banks invented to be like, “I’m smiling with my eyes.”) Stephanie took some pictures of people taking pictures, which was a good way to avoid paying the $5 fee.
We were both really thirsty, so it was pretty great when we came upon a table giving away free snacks and drinks to make people more interested in uninteresting hard drives. We pretended we were really into checking out the latest technological advances, but really we just snagged some Dasani waters (that cost $4 downstairs) and kept moving. We did a little more walking, but I had to be somewhere at 5:30 (because I’m really popular) and so we left pretty soon after that. Later that night I had to go to the hospital because they thought my gallbladder was going to implode or something, but it turns out I just had enteritis.
The next day, filled with sleep deprivation, CT scan radiation and stomach cramps, I felt ready to take on Part 2 of Comic-Con. This time we were really interested in checking out the quidditch demonstration downstairs. If you don’t know what quidditch is, chances are you lead a happy, normal life. If you DO know what quidditch is, then I don’t have to tell you that it’s an imaginary sport from the Harry Potter. “It’s NOT imaginary, Megan. It is a REAL SPORT NOW.” Well you still aren’t a wizard and you still can’t fly, so not really. But the quidditch league is really trying to make it happen anyway, and so Stephanie interviewed a bunch of people about it while I sat and watched. Some guy was dressed up as the golden snitch which was pretty cool in a non-cool way, but other than that I was pretty unimpressed. Do you know who else was unimpressed? Some girl who was dressed in Hogwarts clothes and who ran off sobbing. I don’t know why she was crying (maybe she got hit with a bludger?) but she ran really fast and held her arms out in front of her like she was going to take off and fly through the air. (She didn’t succeed in flight.) So quidditch was really boring, but you can watch it in Central Park sometime if you want to see what all the fuss is about.
We went over to check out the Lego exhibit next, which was right next to the quidditch court. At this booth, Lego sculptors made really ridiculous scenes from nerd movies using just the basic Lego sets, and they were really pissed that quidditch was taking away all the attention. (I can’t blame them since quidditch is really boring and Lego sculptures are slightly less boring.) We interviewed one of the sculptors who filled us in on the process; meanwhile, some kid kept trying to get on camera behind him and it was really annoying.
Next, we tried to find the Sci-Fi Speed Dating registration table so we could sign me up to participate on Saturday. We found the table, and there was a girl sitting there beneath the giant banner that read “SCI-FI SPEED DATING,” so I began asking how we could sign up for it. She waited until I was finished asking a ton of questions before saying, “I don’t know, I don’t work here. But do you guys want a mint? I think they’re peppermint or spearmint…some kind of mint. Oh, and I’m not a creeper, I swear! Look, I’m eating one myself!” I wish this was the part where I said, “THANKS FOR NOTHING, WEIRDO,” but instead, this is the part where Stephanie and I accepted candy from a stranger and didn’t die. (Small triumphs!) We walked over to where the autograph signing was happening nearby, and we tried to find out if we’d ever be able to speak to Adam West. The security guard led us to believe that this would not ever be possible, but at least we got to see Draco Malfoy (whose real life name I am too lazy to Google) from afar!
On our way out of the area, we saw some girl dressed up as a giant rock. We saw her from behind, so I got really excited and thought that she’d dressed as the Rock Biter from the Neverending Story, but it turns out she was supposed to be some other rock character from something I can’t remember the name of. Anyways, Stephanie interviewed her about the costume, and after she’d finished filming I asked the girl if she could walk in the costume very well. She said it was really hard, which I thought was much more impressive than quidditch or Legos. Then, because it still felt like someone was stabbing me in the gut with a rusty screwdriver, I decided it was probably time to call it a day. I left Javits Center and tried to rest up by eating toast and watching Adventure Time so I would have some talking points on my Sci-Fi Speed Dating experience.
Day 3 came all too soon, but this time I was feeling slightly less like death. I decided to go stock up on all the foods I was allowed to eat (read: bananas, water) at Whole Foods since I paid $2.50 for a banana at Comic-Con the day before. (Do you know that I could’ve bought just over thirteen bananas at Trader Joe’s for that effing price tag?!)
Stephanie wanted to meet up and get breakfast beforehand, so we did that at Veselka. I really went crazy and ordered some tea and toast, while Stephanie got to eat awesome stuff like eggs and kielbasa and coffee. (I hated her.) After breakfast we decided (read: I decided) that we would walk to Comic-Con from the East Village, stopping at the Chelsea Flea on the way. So we did that, and by the time we got to Comic-Con it was really effing crowded.
There were a lot of really great costumes the entire weekend, but this day took home the gold for sure. First off, I was really glad there weren’t too many zombie costumes, because you never know who is on bath salts and who isn’t these days. There WERE, however, a lot of popular outfits, including the Doctor from Doctor Who, Jake & Finn from Adventure Time, and these two scary things that I pretended to know about when Stephanie talked about them (but really I had no idea) called Pyramid Head and Slender Man.
There were also lots of Bane costumes, so we continued a photo series we’d started the day before where we basically asked every person dressed as Bane (read: everyone) to punch me in the face. (This was my absolute favorite part of Comic-Con.)
Next, we went downstairs to try and win some cars that were painted with things like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Adventure Time. We had discussed what we’d do with the cars if we won them; Stephanie said she’d paint over hers and drive it like a normal car, while I said I’d leave it as-is and drive it recklessly around the city, leaving the doors unlocked in shady neighborhoods to see how long it would take to get stolen. DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS.
Anyways, we didn’t win the cars. Bummer. Then, we really had to focus on getting me signed up for speed dating. We got Stephanie a $6 coffee and went to the Press Lounge to strategize. Here is how our conversation went.
Stephanie: You do like sci-fi stuff, right?
Me: Yeah I guess so.
Stephanie: Because this is called Sci-Fi Speed Dating, so you have to probably like sci-fi…
Me: Well…I mean…okay, well quiz me on stuff, then.
Stephanie: Okay, well have you seen Star Wars?
Me: Yeah, obviously. Pod-racing or whatever. Anakin.
Stephanie: …no, not that one. Like, the original ones.
Me: Pfffft, obviously I’ve seen those! Han Solo! Chewbacca! EWOKS.
Stephanie: Okay, well how about other stuff? Like Doctor Who?
Me: Yeah, I mean, I know about Doctor Who, but like, I can’t really like, talk about it.
Stephanie: Well have you seen any of the alien movies?
Me: YES! I’ve seen E.T. and Stepsister from Planet Weird!
Me: STEPSISTER FROM PLANET WEIRD. It’s a Disney movie from like 2000!
Stephanie: …umm, well what about like, Mars Attacks or Metropolis?
Me: I think so…Eddie Furlong, right?
Stephanie: Yeah, that’s Terminator 2!
Me: Not for a while.
Stephanie: Twelve Monkeys?
Stephanie: (insert name of any sci-fi movie here)
So now I was nervous. I mean, I will talk to you for days about the Neverending Story, but alien movies totally effing suck. I wouldn’t be able to talk about anything in there! I needed talking points and I needed them fast or else my cover would be TOTALLY BLOWN. Stephanie continued coaching me as we walked to the Sci-Fi Speed Dating registration booth. And that is where I am going to leave you hanging, because 1) the actual experience deserves its own post rather than to be lumped in with this recap, and 2) that was the last noteworthy thing we did on our Comic-Con journey. SO. Keep an eye out for that one in the next day or two, and in the meantime, please feel free to ask questions or talk about Comic-Con in general in the comments section. For example, were you at Comic-Con? Did you see that guy dressed up as a chicken version of Boba Fett? Did you buy overpriced food items? Did you win one of those cars? TELL US PLEASE!