erik lundegaard

Lust and Wil Wheaton at the 2012 Emerald City Comic Convention

The 10th annual Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) at the Convention Center in downtown Seattle on Saturday was my first comic convention in 35 years. I don't know what I expected. But the last thing I expected was to get turned on. Hopelessly, adolescently turned on.

It's not just that more women attend comic conventions now. (Up from about zero in 1975.) It's not just that they wear skimpier outfits. It's that they tend to wear the skimpier outfits of my first sexual fantasies: Star Trek mini-skirts and Batgirl costumes and Catwoman costumes. For every fat Capt. Kirk there was a svelte Black Widow. Some of these women were obviously nerds. Others looked like models. I was reminded of an early “Kung Fu” episode:

SCENE: Young Caine (Radames Pera) sits in the audience of a burlseque show with Master Kan (Philip Ahn). His face looks both amazed and stricken as he watches a woman performing on the stage.

Master Kan: How do you feel, Grasshopper?
Young Caine: (long pause) Uncomfortable, Master.

The place was packed. Packed. I've never seen the Convention Center so crowded for anything—and I pass by it almost every day. It was a relief, after four hours, to come up for air.

I didn't expect Wil Wheaton to be so entertaining, either. Friends and I sat through his 90-minute show and he did recent bits from his blog: a humorous take on spam email; a “Robocop as bad '80s sitcom” script; a STFU PSA ad. All easy targets, and, save for the PSA ad, all posts I would've ignored after 15 seconds. But he performs them well. Then he did a bit from a post called “life imitates art (or: I don't know much about brain scans, but I'll help you fix your computer),” in which—true story—fellow “Star Trek” cast member Jonthan Frakes' email was compromised, Wheaton, the tech-nerd, helped him fix it, and, during the back and forth, Wheaton and Frakes used the language of the show: “I'm giving it all I can, Captain!” and “Run a level-five diagnostic” and the like. Wheaton concluded with this:

This was funny to me, because we're two Star Trek guys (with magnificent beards), making contextually-relevant Star Trek jokes with each other. More significantly, though, is that we did this using handheld computers which were inspired by the show we were on twenty-five years ago.

Wheaton was even better during the Q&A:

Fan 1, recounting her childhood: When I was growing up, liking science wasn't cool.
Wheaton: Welcome to America.

Fan 2, recounting an early affiliation with the early “Star Trek--The Next Generation” episodes: At that age, I wasn't able to recognize bad writing in the episodes.
Wheaton: Neither were the writers.

My other great adolescent lust was for the comic books. Thirty-eight years ago, at the Dykman Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, I bought a dog-eared copy of “Fantastic Four #2” for $10 and was ecstatic for years. Now the dealers seem an afterthought, relegated to the back of the main hall. Even so, seeing a huge wall with nothing but polybagged, Silver Age, Marvel comics on it—early “Spider-Man” and “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four”s—was like seeing a woman dressed as Batgirl. All I could think was: I want, I want, I want. I wound up buying three '70s-era Captain America comics, numbers 153-155, the ones with the crazy, McCarthyite Captain America from the 1950s returning to take America back. That Captain America never really goes away, does he? He'd be on FOX-News now. He'd be running for office on the Tea Party ticket. He'd be asking for Pres. Obama's birth certificate.

The front of the hall is for newer books and strips and artists. They're remaking “Peanuts.” Did you know that? They've hired new writers and artists to keep it going, as they hired new writers to keep James Bond going. The artist creates into popularity and the corporation recreates into oblivion.

To be honest, I didn't recognize half the outfits folks were wearing. I didn't recognize the names of the shows, either. It's not my world anymore. But it was nice to visit. Nice and ... uncomfortable.

The crowds at the Emerald City Comic Convention 2012

The crowds at the ECCC 2012...

The Angel from "Dr Who" at the Emerald City Comic Convention 2012

... were enough to make you cry ...

The Dark Knight, Batman, at the ECCC 2012

... or call for help.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted at 08:56 AM on Sun. Apr 01, 2012 in category Superheroes  


Wylde Bill wrote:

Fine report, Eric. Personally I find plump nerd girls extremely attractive, so the scene was indeed... highly uncomfortable.

I read the first three issues of the new Peanuts comic book. In a word, it stinks. I foresee no popularity for it whatsoever. I can't deny that if it were good, I'd be intrigued. As for the daily Peanuts strip, I recall reading Schulz made absolutely legally sure that no one else would ever draw it after he was gone.

Comment posted on Sun. Apr 01, 2012 at 07:54 PM

Tim wrote:

Sunday was far less claustrophobic, as expected. Less stuff on the schedule, too, though. Eddie Olmos was very good today — Mr. B wasn't expecting political stuff form him, not knowing his rep as an activist, but we got some good liberal stuff on the need to be vigilant against those who would trample on our rights and steal our money, and on the injustice of no Wall Streeters in prison. (And some requisite comments on Blade Runner and Battlestar.)

Wil has become the highlight of these shows, every time. Previous years he's performed more finished, refined stuff than he did this time, but I like that he wanted to change it up some. If you have not heard this from my earlier posting of it, I recommend this reading of “Blue Light Special.”

Comment posted on Sun. Apr 01, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Mister B wrote:

I thought Wil was referring to the Kardashians (and their curious — maybe not-so-curious these days, though — popularity, not the Cardassians.

If you liked Wil's takes on the early TNG episodes, you should buy his “Memories of the Future” books. He used to write posts on the TV Squad website, but I guess he was too busy with his other projects and stopped writing them. Then they became those books. His takes on what we saw in those eps and what we didn't see is — to me, anyway — very entertaining.

When I first started going to ECCC just four years ago, Wil's Awesome Hour was a much smaller room on the second floor of the Convention Center. Now he packs 'em in in the big room and I could listen to him speak all day.

I was even planning to attend a 3 PM panel about role-playing games (even though I haven't played any for decades) just to hear him talk about it, but like the cool guy he is, he skipped out on the panel because his autograph line (his second of the day and 7th of the three-day convention) was so long and he wanted to make sure as many people as possible got to say hi and get an autograph.

And he's the only one there giving out free ones.

I guess he wasn't as cool to the people who went to the panel, but I hope they understood.

Comment posted on Mon. Apr 02, 2012 at 02:51 PM
« Movie Review: Wrath of the Titans (2012)   |   Home   |   Quote of the Day »
 RSS    Facebook

Twitter: @ErikLundegaard