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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"The Metropolis web site is truly a comic convention every single day! The Detective #27 you sold me was absolutely gorgeous and the terms were just what I needed. Thanks so much! You guys are really the professionals of this hobby. Thanks so much."
- Jerry J., New York



Being my wholly biased and somewhat vulgar look at my first encounter with the overwhelming python of ephemera that is San Diego Comic Con.  Which, God bless the guys who run this thing, I don't know how they do it.

*

I love selling books to the new guys – you know, the younger collectors who only have a few longboxes of modern stuff, maybe a small stack of hand-me-down Silver Age books, what have you.  When guys like this finally get that mid-grade Spidey 1 or AF15 or Flash 105, their eyes light up, their faces beam with an unembarrassed grin, and you can tell that this book has just made their year.  Anyone who collects comics, especially rare or vintage comics, knows that you can never duplicate the rush and sense of accomplishment you get from buying that first “grail”, or the joy of endlessly poring over that first Golden Age comic you ever bought.  I bought my first Golden Age comic when I was 11 or so – a Sensation 27, in crappy condition.  Spine is split, cover is brittle, though the pages are fine and the book is complete – don’t care how battered that book is, it was my first GA book, it’s mine, and it makes me smile every time I see it.  I love selling people their first big book.  A sale like that can make a whole show worthwhile.

 *

If you’re a moderately attractive young woman, and you decide to wear revealing or tight costuming in a large hall full of oversexed, socially awkward shut-ins, you must realize that you will never get a moment's peace.

 *

It is possible to make a grown man choke with tears by showing him a Mile High 9.9 Captain Marvel Jr. 29 with a double cover.

 *

Saturday was crowded and hot.  So crowded and hot that I saw some poor soul dressed as Booster Gold, hysterical and delirious, attempt to eat his own arm.  An overweight Linux programmer in a soiled Meatwad costume lay in the middle of snarling traffic and wept quietly.  Sweatpanted ninjas fought each other with cardboard swords over the last scrap of Carls’ Jr left on the sidewalk.  It may be apocryphal, but I believe Darth Vader was hit by a bus driven by another Darth Vader.  Then, the freebies were distributed, and all was forgiven.



Amazing Fantasy 15 is the miracle book, seriously.  We could have a copy ripped in half, with pages missing, smushed back together with duct tape, and folded in half so firmly that every page has a color break down the center, with chewing gum stuck to the inside back cover, and Sharpie drawings of Bert Convy across the centerfold, and still people would fight each other like a pack of wolves over the chance to buy it.  I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.  Maybe it’s because there’s so many casual collectors, or so many collectors on a budget, who want a copy of this book, that they’re happy to have it any condition at all.  Or maybe, just maybe, Stan Lee is an evil criminal mastermind who secretly hid hypnotic messages inside every copy.  

 *

If you’re dressed as Spiderman, and your girlfriend is dressed as the Black Cat, chances are quite good that no one will notice your Spiderman outfit.  At all.  Sorry.

*

Playing “guess the gender” at a convention is fun until you realize that someone is going to have to verify each guess.  Then, it turns ugly and wrong.

 *

I am quite certain that the PR staff for Snakes on a Plane are in on the joke.  I don’t think the executives are.  I’m damn certain Samuel L. is.



I think at this point you could take pretty much any piece of merchandise – say, a salad shooter, or a busted ballpoint pen – glue a couple of Inuyasha stickers on it and scribble some fake Japanese across the top, and anime nerds would fight each other to the death to pay a 1000% markup for it. 

*

LIGHTNING BOLT!  LIGHTNING BOLT!  LIGHTNING BOLT!

 *

When you have to get from the convention center to your hotel, and you have to take the San Diego trolley, and the nice lady at the ticket booth tells you which train to take to get to your destination, SHE IS LYING.  DO NOT BELIEVE HER CUNNING RUSE!  IT IS A TISSUE OF LIES AND DECEIT CONCOCTED OF MISINFORMATION AND CLEVER SKULLDUGGERY!  Nay, do not heed her ministrations, for if you do, you will find yourself suddenly stuck all the way out by the *&%^ing airport in a three-piece suit in 100 degree heat, and have to walk a mile back to your hotel, and, yeah, sure, there’s a Jack in the Box next to the hotel to ease your pain, but it doesn’t matter, because the TOKEN BOOTH CLERK OF DOOM HAS SEALED YOUR FATE AND LEFT YOU ADRIFT IN A LAND OF HOT CONCRETE AND NO TAXICABS!  Verily did I enter my hotel at last, wondering why I felt the cold, wet snap of rain hitting my shoulders, and only then did I realize that I was sweating so much I was leaving a slick, two-inch-deep puddle of salty misery behind me, like a trail of bread crumbs, sweaty, sweaty bread crumbs.  And, to top it all off, Jack in the Box MESSED UP MY %$*^ING LUNCH ORDER AND DIDN'T GIVE ME A FORK FOR THE FRUIT I ORDERED! 

 *

How in the hell do Goths stay so pale in California?  Seriously, do these people ever leave the house?  And what’s the deal with airline food?



I’ve noticed that the crappier the costume, the more seriously the wearer takes themselves.  Conversely, the better-looking the costume, the more likely the person wearing it has a sense of humor about themselves.  All the stormtroopers, for example, looked fantastic, and seemed to be funny, personable, and having a great time.  On the other hand, many of the Jedis were basically wearing Winnebago curtains and carrying cardboard sabers, and seemed unshakeably convinced that they actually were religious figures of some importance.  Meanwhile, the guy in the amazing Batman costume did a little good-natured Batusi with a 6-year-old boy in a Robin suit.  What does that tell you?

 *

The San Diego convention center snack bars have managed the extraordinary feat of developing foodstuff that taste like nothing.  Truly, their pizza had absolutely no flavor whatsoever.  It’s like a zen snack.  My mouth was moving, a substance was brusquely grazing my taste buds, and yet there was a complete absence of flavor, texture, or even presence.  It was a genuinely transcendent experience.  It was like eating air.  My stomach was faintly aware of this blank, featureless fuel divebombing into my digestive tract like a mute pepperoni kamikaze, and yet my mouth was blissfully unsullied by flavor or any other form of excitement – like a nightclub with all the lights on and the music off, or an abandoned theme park in Winter.  It was the culinary equivalent of a surly, vengeful mime.  I was stunned into awed silence.  Kudos to you, magical mystery foodstuffs!

 *

Since when do Klingons ride scooters?


Working at Comic Con is like being strapped to a bull at a rodeo – you can hear the cheering, you know there are interesting things happening all around you, you see the snapping of flash bulbs, but all you can think about is how to hold on long enough to keep from having your neck snapped.  Eight seconds later, it’s all over, and you realize you’re covered in dust and bruises and wondering how you ended up face first against a wooden plank. 

 *

I was unaware that San Diego Comic Con traditionally closes each convention with a live exhibition featuring Bob Storms wrestling a circus bear.  It was exciting.  Bob won.  Congratulations, Bob!




Frank Cwiklik, Former Sales Exec, Now Unemployed.

 

 
 
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