The Funnies Ain't So Funny Anymore

By Omri 

Issue #4 

      Hello everyone, and sorry for the delay.  Iíve just gone through a hectic last couple of weeks, and the NY comicon stuck in the middle did not help much.  So, this issue, as a small change of pace, will be about the convention itself as it is still fresh in my mind, and the topic of today: fanboys!  The Around Comics podcast had a great discussion about fanboys a couple of months ago, going through the different stereotypes and what defines them, so anything in here that might resemble their discussion is not plagiarism, but more of a tribute. 

      So, if youíve read the CBR columns lately, you might have come across the term they coined: NYerdCon.  And this convention was exactly that: a gathering of nerds, geeks, crazy people and inner kids at its greatest.  And please donít take this as an insult, I was there too so I should fit into one of those categories myself.  These terms are obviously gross stereotypes, but the mere existence of this convention brings this out of its attendants, even if they never before acted as such.  As I was standing in line Saturday morning, trying to get into the convention center, we saw through the window a bunch of people having lightsaber classes, really acting it out and truly getting into the moment.  As a bald, tanned Jedi rolled away from a frontal cut by some unidentifiable alien, the people just in front of me in line commented on how these people, as geeky as they may seem through the opaque window on this weekend morning, most probably had just gone through a huge transformation.  During a regular weekday, that Jedi could very easily be a respected, suit-wearing broker down in Wall Street.  But convention season can have a strange effect on people.  ďWhen in Rome, act as a Roman would.Ē  When surrounded by fellow fanboys, people tend to let loose their inner self that would usually never escape given normal circumstances.  Iím sure the goofy Hulk I ran across is not that careless and crazy as he was that day.  There is something about these events that lets people act out fantasies and be as reckless as they want, and no one will call them on it.  Is that the result of a repressed fanboy who does not have other outlets for his passion? 

      Another type of fanboy I saw, and count myself among, is the completist.  Going from booth to booth, table to table, sometimes even more than once, hunting for a single issue missing from the storyarc.  Yeah, that was a drag. Iím sure some of the sellers also got annoyed at me too.  But the way I see it, if Iím not serious about my hobbies, why am I doing them in the first place?  This fanboyís convention experience mainly consists of booth hunting, buying, buying, comparing, calculating, buying some more, and then going up to artist alley to get as many books signed as possible.  No eBay profit involved, but simply part of a greater experience of enjoying the ďcompletenessĒ of your longbox.  Yeah, I did feel like an outsider after a while. 

      So, who else goes to these conventions?  I ran into several people who, at Saturday afternoon, still had not hit the main floor or walked around the place.  For them, this event is for a complete different purpose: to meet up with fellow readers they only know from forums.  Itís about meeting people, talking about anything and everything, and to simply be surrounded by other people who like the same thing as they do.  Sean hinted at being one of these, but with the addition of talking to creators too.  So that got me thinking, and by late afternoon I decided to switch things around a bit.  I knew no one in there except the raging bullets crew, but that didnít stop me from just walking up to random people and starting up conversation.  What would you have in common with random strangers? Well, youíre both at the con, arenít you?  Iíve got to thank this hobby then, for making me less shy. 

      Oh yeah, one more thing fanboys are crazy about: useless trinkets or expensive things.  I saw the biggest wastes of money being spent for such common objects (well, ďwasteĒ is a relative term, but that exactly is my point).  I saw so many people go crazy about getting DCís limited edition Darkseid pin.  Yeah, I wanted one too.  Boo-hoo. Iím still annoyed at not getting it, even though I had all 4 pins and the coupon, but itís just a pin.  Or is it?  Just like I am a completist for books, some people feel the need for getting paraphernalia, and I just canít in my right mind condemn them without casting doubt on my own habits. 

      So this convention was more than just a gathering of geeks for me.  I had fun.  Lots of it.  But I also learned from it.  Itís not about the kind of fanboy you are, or how extreme you are about it, but rather that you are not ashamed of it.  Itís about release, and feeling right at home.  Itís about forming a community, and a tight one at that.  So thank you DC for countless hours of enjoyment, thank you raging bullets for letting me know that this does not have to be a private hobby, and thank you everyone else, for forming this community and accepting me into it. 

      Until next time,