When I was a kid, Comic Conventions were places where you could get some rare comics, buy original art, and maybe meet your favorite cartoonist. They would be held in the lobby of some hotel somewhere, and you could walk in, see what you like, and walk out. Like everything in our society, simple things get very distorted, huge and weird. And the same can be said of Comic Book Conventions.
New York Comic Con 2012 at Jacob Javits Center is an assault on your senses, and not always in a good way. The sheer human traffic and noise levels are enough to drive someone like me, (riddled with ADD) to want to sit alone in a small, unoccupied room and, well, read comics…quietly. In fact, I write this post sick in bed. I caught something from some strange masked person that I can't identify. (Damn you, secret identities!)
Our mission there was to exhibit and promote our new DVD “Captain Cornelius Cartoon’s Cartoon Lagoon,” about teeny puppet sailors in a tiny submarine that goes fishing for the best and the worst cartoons ever made. You know, serious stuff. And on that score, “success.” We sold lots of DVD’s, shirts, toys, comics and ephemera. But honestly being a lumberjack seems like it would be easier work.
If you have ever tried to sell anything to anyone, especially something that you have made with your own hands (and sometimes feet), you know that it is not easy. But it is sheer hand-to-hand combat to convince a grown man dressed like Boba Fett to buy a button or a t-shirt from you. We talked to a 13 year-old kid for 15 minutes, answering every one of his questions, when finally he said, “Well, OK, I don’t have any money. I have to go find my Mom.” We never saw him again. (Maybe the “Chainsaw Massacre” table near us wasn’t as patient as we were.)
I’ve decided that this much humanity should not be in one structure together at the same time, and certainly not with such little clothing. “Cosplay,” (Costume Play) is now the rage, where grown men and women go to elaborate lengths to recreate the costumes of their favorite fictional characters. Most drawings of super-heroes are basically naked figures with designs on them. When this aesthetic is translated into reality with real people, you end up with a lot of very provocative outfits. The irony is that most comic book geeks are not always in shape. And most of them are men. That makes the fit and athletic men and women showing up in little to nothing and covered in body paint, strategically placed armor, wigs and contact lenses, a new type of “exhibitionist.” A “Conventionibitist?” Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But like Halloween, adults are taking something meant for kids and making it…weird. I saw a “Batman” in the Men’s Room trying to get his costume back on after using the facilities. It seemed like a lot of work. I have to believe the real Batman would have figured out some way to keep fighting crime while not having to go to such elaborate lengths to tinkle. And by the way, not one of the dozen or so Wonder Women we saw walk by our table had a purse or wallet to buy anything. They were strictly Convenionibitists. And yes I want credit for this term.
But the truth is, that the costumes were pretty cool to see, very impressive on many counts, and so we dispatched our very own Franky Planky to explore the convention, and to report back what he saw. I think he was a little nervous sometimes, and it shows. But he pressed on, like the loyal plank of wood that he is, and gave us the rich photo gallery you see here.