Comic-Con 2012: A Blending of Worlds

Never in the history of humankind has there been such a gathering of nerds, dweebs, freaks, geeks, dinks, dorks, techies, trekkies, wookiees, weirdos, waldos, and wonks like the event that is Comic-Con.

Clearly, these were my people.

Shockingly, this was my first time attending. Shockinglier, it will be my last.

If you're not familiar with the annual event, I'm not sure where you've been living. The pop culture phenomenon has exploded over the past few years. What was once a simple gathering where comic book fans could find and exchange rare or sought-after issues of their favorite books is now an epic event of all things nerd-popular: sci-fi and fantasy movies, TV shows, video games, action figures, LEGOs, and pretty much everything else you'd expect someone who looks like me to be into.

And the assumption, of course, is that everyone at this convention does look like me. The reality is radically different. Walking the show floor, I have never, in my life, felt more. . . "normal." It was a bizarre feeling. Seriously, I don't know how you "normals" do it. Inside the show, it's a veritable arms race of nerdiness. An unspoken competition among attendees to out-nerd each other. In this context, the costumes that make this show famous make total sense. I'll see your vintage Superman t-shirt, and raise you some Spock ears. Your Edward Scissorhands is impressive, but how about this full-on Leeloo Dallas costume, replete with skin and orange (dyed, of course) hair. I saw one woman with a perfect Chell, with fully functional spring boots. The variety, the detail, the incredibly intricate homemade costumes were all astonishing.

These are some of the most amazing and creative people in the world. I am in awe.

And yet, I hated every moment of it.

The Invite: LG

Comic-con isn't something we'd normally cover here at S+V. We prefer our media a bit more animated. As the show has gotten more popular - and become a Mecca for all things geek - tech companies have taken notice. These are your A-list consumers, the nerd-buyers, the early adopters, the techies. LG partnered with Legendary Entertainment, showing the latter's content on two LG passive 3D displays, and a sextuplet of smartphones.

It was a smart move for LG, giving passers-by eyes-on for passive HDTV, and a pair of lightweight 3D glasses.

During Wednesday's preview night, Legendary held a press conference at the booth to announce some new comics, and draw attention to the LG TVs and phones. You can see more in the attached gallery.

I am an ungrateful bastard

Preview night, for me, was like discovering a new and as yet unknown level of Hell. Think of the most crowded place you've ever been. People touching you on all sides - that kind of crowded. Now think about the last time you were in a hurry. Really in a hurry. Pee-pee in the pantaloons kind of hurry. Know how when you're in that kind of hurry it seems there's a competition between everyone on the surface of the Earth to get in your way? With 100,000 shocked, awed, and meandering people crammed into a space marginally larger than a closet, my most loathed aspects of E3, CES, and CEDIA were escalated to a level I didn't think possible.

For those of you reading who've been to CES, picture every single person attending CES crammed into South Hall. Now cut the space in half. Oh, and 10% are in costumes.

With everyone trying to be first in line for some piece of show-exclusive poster, comic, t-shirt, or swag, there's a frantic intensity that's creepily close to panicked mob.

And in this tsunami of humanity, I need to get from A to B at a specific time, and get some work done when I'm there.

I quickly went from "I'm not enjoying this" to "get me the frak out of here" in seconds. As soon as my brain made that switch, I was overwhelmed with guilt. Here I was, attending this event millions would give their left tribble for, and all I wanted to do was flee.

Well, so it goes.

The next day I went back, job done, coverage covered. I was able to enjoy the spectacle of it all, and I could see that if I went with a group of friends, it would be quite a blast. But working the event, to try to cover it? Never again. Ever. For me, at least, it's impossible. So behold, the least-normal coverage of Comic-Con ever: Pictures of crowds and TVs.

Well, what did you expect? I don't like comic books.