I've been on a bit of a roll lately when it comes to checking off new experiences. In the past few months I've visited an Ikea store and built their furniture, joined up with Costco to experience the wonders of bulk meat and booze, just checked out my first Whole Foods yesterday....fuck that place. On Saturday the 14th however, I was able to notch off a big one by attending Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Michigan.
I'd been angling to hit up the convention scene for years now but something always got in the way of checking one out. Usually it was that I found out about a good one too late, couldn't afford it, or just couldn't get out there. The closest I'd come to something like this was abook sellers convention but that wasn't quite the same, plus most of those people were dicks if we're being honest. I wasn't even planing on going to this show until I found out the week before that my brother-in-law had gotten a ticket, so I spent the $37 bucks to get my own ticket and reminded myself at the end of each work day that I'd be there soon.
The first portion of our journey was a good hour and a half drive to Novi, on the edge of the greater Detroit area. Upon hitting the off ramp we could see our first signs of convention activity as traffic was packed in tight until we veered off to the left for some proper nourishment.
A long day of convention navigation meant we were going to need plenty of energy. We'd planed on hitting up One World Market, an Asian market that doubles as a damn fine sushi restaurant. As we consumed our pile of eels, mackerel, and smelt roe we began to see some fellow con goers in the form of girls in tights and plastic armor. Not an altogether unpleasant sight while downing a bottle of Picari Sweat, an oddly thick Japanese sports drink.
Finally it was time for the convention itself. We paid ten bucks to get into the primary parking lot which didn't save us from spending a good twenty minutes analysing line after line in search of one empty space. We finally found a spot at least a quarter mile from the entrance. Of course upon entering the main floor we had to navigate the twisting line to check get our bracelets and finally join the fray.
|Closing time, when you can finally breath.|
I really can't overstate the sea of people jammed into this place. My crowed surfing skills took on a major workout as I slithered and slid through multi-directional hordes. Even then contact still happens. I'm talking weird, you better be confident in your sexuality kinda contact. Straight up, junk is gonna collide with other junk. Sure most of the time it'll be innocent stuff like Darth Vader slamming into your shoulder cause he can't see for shit. Every so often though you'll find yourself in an aisle where no matter what you do, your genitals are gonna shake hands with somebody and a strangers goods will give you a good old howdy in return.
That level of over stimulation continues on the audio front. With all the walking, buying, talking, screaming, dinosaur sounds, and industrial air-conditioning units struggling to keep up with the sheer volume of human funk there's a sound not unlike the ocean waves accompanying every nanosecond of your visit. Only that ocean has a twisted obsession with Dr. Who.
So yea, the main floor can be quite the workout to deal with. Even if you go the farthest secluded corner it can be tough to find breathing room. Once you do find that safe haven you'll immediately find that the absence of immediate human contact allows you to feel the air conditioning at its finest.
Admittedly the main area isn't always so bad. Near the end of our visit the crowed had thinned enough to give some breathing room. Odd since only an hour before we were struggling just to get within view of a long box full of old Marvel essential collections. As you might imagine, this is why I didn't nab anywhere near as many photos as I'd hoped since standing still is a good way to get your ass kicked or trampled.
Now that you've got an idea of how life works on the con floor, what about the features? We'll let's get the celebrate area outta the way. I'd thought of getting someone's autograph while I was there. In the end I decided not to because while there were celebs there I certainly liked, Adam West, Terry Jones, James Marsters, and Jason David Frank. He may be a cock but he's still the green ranger dammit! Much as I like those folks, none of them are essentials for me. If there was a shot at meeting someone like Shatner, Van Damme, or my old b-movie heroes like Ferigno or Reb Brown. I'd give good money to let those guys spit on me. Also, upon reaching that area we encountered our first talkative stranger who shared his disappointment with the Adam West and Burt Ward photo op. Essentially his experience chalked up to standing behind them while they carried on a conversation with each other, oblivious to his existence. On the one hand I can understand how it must be for a cult celeb who appears at hundreds of these event over the years but at the same time I can totally sympathize with the irritation this guy had at spending over a hundred bucks to be ignored while taking a very awkward picture.
Still, there's something to be said of the experience of just seeing these people in the flesh. Many people don't know this but over time when watching tv series and such you're brain will identify those characters as friends, which is part of the reason you bawl like a baby when a character dies or your show gets canceled. The head gremlin is sad it won't get to see its friend anymore. Thanks to that phenomenon, just seeing some of these people from across the room makes you feel kinda good. Like bumping into a cousin while shopping for groceries. Just seeing these folks was enough for me, I don't need Batman's autograph cause I finally saw him in real life. That was enough.
Another neat part of glimpsing the celebs is realizing that some of them are legitimately better looking people in person. For as much as Jon Bernthal gets made into a blood soaked mutt in his various tv shows he's actually a pretty handsome guy. One with a rocking beard I might add. I was also very pleased to see that Katrina Law is really damn pretty without the 30 pounds of makeup CW shows generally apply to their actors. Kinda sad that I didn't get to see Allison Mack despite sitting just 50 feet away from her when she helped to judge the cosplay contest. Had a bit of a crush on her during the Smallville days.
On the topic cosplay and fine ladies, I promised you all a picture of me with some fine cosplay girl and here you go.
It's hard to see in the photo but that predator has boobies. Never thought I'd have the chance to do a double take at predator breasts but life never ceases to surprise. In truth there were plenty of fine ladies around, almost took aquagirls green spandex clad hip bone the eye at one point. I really did want to bring home some more photos of cosplayers but due to us being there mainly during peak hours it was just too tough to get someones attention let alone a spot to pose.
I did get to sit in on my first ever cosplay contest. There's an odd phenomenon where some of the best cosplayers there didn't participate while some weaker ones did. For instance, our lady predator friend and this guy with an outstanding Abrekiller/White Dino Thunder Ranger (who's to say whether he's a sentai or power rangers fan) costume didn't compete when they would have gotten a great response. On the other end there were some in the contest with really basic costumes. Thankfully there were still some highlights like this great pumpkin who practically got a standing ovation.
One sad discovery of the evening was one of the most embarrassing things I've ever witnessed. Now I've got nothing against cosplay, actually hope to give it a shot one day pending a proper budget and another convention to visit. That said, cosplay contest skits provide a massive level of secondhand embarrassment that ranks just behind Christian pop music. Seriously folks, bring your costume, bust out the poses, but please leave the script at home.
There were a few side attractions we did not indulge in such as the anime viewing room or video game room. Hell, we didn't even catch any of the panels though none of em really peaked my interest other than the Daredevil one which I believe we arrived too late for.
What did eat up a lot of our time and was possibly my favorite part of the show was the marketplace. We're talking seemingly miles of comics, trades, novels, art, crafts, games, toys, all kinds of goodies. Some of this stuff was at surprisingly good prices too. All in all I brought home a couple of Marvel Essentials collections, Defenders, and Daredevil that feature plenty of issues by Steve Gerber. I also grabbed the hardcover collection of Spider-Man Graphic novels which I can easily see getting a couple blog posts out of. My best deal was at a game store that was selling stuff twenty percent off the MSRP. Found a copy of Ticket to Ride Nederland and walked away with it for twenty bucks. Consider if you will that this expansion has been slowly disappearing from stores and frequently retails in the upper thirties and forties online. You can imagine my pride.
There was no way I could leave without getting something from the many artists who gathered to sell their wares. I saw a few stands with work I liked, even perused Jim Cheung's booth for a bit though he seemed preoccupied with something at the time. On the farthest wall of the building I came across Mike Maydak who applies a graffiti style to classic comic and sci-fi material. I liked it a lot and almost bought a full canvas until I decided to save some money just in case (don't make much above minimum wage you know) and went with a print that will fit perfectly on the wedge wall above my light switch
So that was my first real convention experience. Overall, I'm a little mixed on it. I like the marketplace, the odd sights and occasional interaction with fellow oddballs. At the same time, the constant battle for space and air can get overwhelming and some of it can come across as bit skeezy. It's like watching a movie with tons of potential that only turns out to be pretty good. I'm not against the notion of visiting some more and that's what really counts. Just think I need something a little more focused like a horror convention.
Sadly, I have to return to the real world and get some sleep. Got awful work to do in the morning. At least I get a new paycheck this week so I can afford some new distractions. Night everyone.