SDCC: Little Earthquakes, by Martha Thomases
It’s nearly a week since Comic-Con ended, but still it haunts my dreams. I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, then the fifth largest city in Ohio (behind Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Akron), yet there were more people in the San Diego convention center.
I think all of them walked by our booth.
If they were any other place, I wouldn’t know about it, because I left the booth only to go to the bathroom and to the Black Panel (for different reasons, as I hope is obvious). The bathroom at the center back of the exhibit hall was usually not crowded and always clean, which is more than I can say for any of the other ladies’ rooms.
The Black Panel was packed. I arrived ten minutes early, which usually allows me my choice of seats, but this time, I was forced to navigate among strangers. Even though this event doesn’t get the hype of the movie panels, or the television shows, or even the video games, it’s really, really fun. There is music and dancing (not by me, you’ll be happy to know, but by people who know how to dance), and lots and lots of laughs. Also, people who have been seriously moved by comics get up and, in the guise of asking questions, testify to the power of graphic story telling.
I also got to leave the booth when my friend, Tiger, who is seven years old and was staying with us so she could read Mars, decided she wanted to find her father, who had a meeting at the Dark Horse booth. This was only about two aisles away, but it took us more than 15 minutes to get there. Not only did we have to stop and look at anything that might potentially be a toy display, buy we had serious problems avoiding backpacks. Now, I understand the appeal of the backpack – you can carry a bunch of stuff, and still have your hands free, and yet, you are not wearing a purse, thereby asserting your manly manliness. And my problem is not with backpacks, per se, but with backpacks that are stuffed so full that you, the wearer, are no longer aware of the dimensions. A backpack that is more than six inches deep is a deadly weapon, especially to those humans who are not yet tall enough to avoid getting whacked in the head by the bottom corner of your stuff.
However, karma is a bitch. If the person you hit is short enough to get hit in the head, she is also short enough to punch you in the balls. Not that Tiger would do that, because she’s well brought up. But I would.
After the show, I went to Los Angeles for a few days to see where my son is living and to hang out with Tiger’s mom. My son, whom I can scarcely believe is able to cross the street without holding my hand, has somehow found himself an apartment, furnished it, and started to make professional contacts. He allowed me to buy him some groceries and a trashcan for his bathroom, but, really, that was just a courtesy.
I hadn’t been to LA for ages, and much has changed. For one thing, they have a subway that takes you places you would like to go. It’s only two stops from Tiger’s place to my son’s, so you can get through six miles in less than ten minutes (that’s 45 minutes in traffic time). We were able to get to the IMAX theater showing The Dark Knight in a thrice. Not even an earthquake could stop us.
Apparently, the earthquake was big news. At first I thought it was just the construction across the street in North Hollywood, where they’re building a soccer court. My son, the more astute of us, leapt up and grabbed his new flat-screen television. Nothing broke and no one was hurt. We didn’t know that it was a big story until we got to the movie theater, and heard stories from our fellow Gothamites.
So, for those of you who may have come here late, here’s the lessons we have learned:
1) Backpacks – don’t overstuff them
2) Subways – good!
3) Home – best of all.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess of ComicMix and Booth Fairy of conventions, is extremely grateful to Mark Wheatley for remembering to bring water.