“Excuse me. Your shirt, what is that?” she asked.
Again with the damn shirts. My shirts always manage to elicit questions, mirth, distain and confusion. It’s my own fault though, I do wear them after all.
Here I am at the SuperNoVa ComiCon, or something to that effect. Though I personally have never found Northern Virginia (or any part of Virginia) to be super in the slightest. But here I am, at a low-rent comic book convention in the back of a fire station (seriously*). Meaning I should have known better than to wear a shirt with a drawing on it. These comic book types would probably think I was one of them.
“Umm. It’s just a black lion. Maybe a Voltron reference? I don’t know really,” I stammered.
“Okay. It just seems like a very distinctive and familiar drawing style,” the lady behind the table said.
I smiled weakly. Not knowing how to continue this unwanted pregnancy of a conversation, I did my best to shuffle off and get lost in the crowd of… seven, eight, thirteen people? Is that a good turnout for these things?
Moving on from her booth, I did my best to take in the entire majestic scene at once. The “con” had about a dozen tables, with racks behind them. Each rack had an assortment of old, faded comic books featuring superheroes currently viewable on movie screens for twenty bucks and your left kidney. Spider-Man, Ironman, ManMan, ManWoman, Professor Lord and, of course, Bert. On each table was a collection of white cardboard boxes filled with more comics and signs advertising three comics for a dollar and other low prices for undesirable titles. This is where one could find such titles as Little Lulu, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, Weatherbee: Archie’s Principal, Mr. Brooks’ Wild Ride and The Further Adventures of Frazzle, the Hobo With AIDS and Severe Depression. Also, anything by Todd MacFarlane.
Behind each table there was one of two kinds of guys: fat guys with ponytails and thin guys with ponytails. It was like a series of weight-loss before and after pictures. One guy had… (Okay, let’s have a sidebar for a minute. We have a lot of fun here, right? I tell jokes, we share a laugh, friendships are forged and lives changed. But what I have to say next is no joke. It’s a thing that happened. It’s real and we all need to accept that and try to rebuild our now shattered lives.) one guy was wearing socks with the Batman logo on them. Adorable.
Until he turned around and I noticed that his Batman socks had capes on them.
Go back and reread that sentence. Picture, in your head, an image of a man in his fifties or so. He’s white, he’s nondescript. Wearing glasses, slight paunch, thinning hair, regular, out-of-touch old people clothes. If you saw him out in public, you wouldn’t think twice about how average he is. If he had been living on your street and you found out that he’d been kidnapping and licking mannequins, you’d be that neighbor who tells the reporters “he always seemed like a regular guy, I never would have guessed he was a sicko!” Anyway, picture that guy wearing socks with capes. Hell, picture anybody wearing socks with capes. You can’t, because it’s stupid. I don’t even know what’s worse, the fact that a guy would buy them or that somebody made them, (unless he made them himself, in which case, be on the lookout for any missing mannequins in your neighborhood.)
Besides comic books, these (let’s call them… people) were selling pieces of art that they had drawn/painted themselves (they were artists after all). Oddly enough, many of those pieces of art involved random animals dressed as The Avengers, or Luke Skywalker or Doctor Who or Janet Reno. I guess people really like to combine their favorite superheroes, sci-fi or fantasy characters with stuffed animals. Not my thing, but a striving industry nonetheless.
I purchased a poster of Cobra Commander imploring people to join his terrorist organization. That poster will look quite well on my wall and will surely be a “chick-magnet.” Quick comment: Cobra Commander is a really lazy name for the guy in charge of Cobra. We don’t call the president “America Boss.” That’d be silly.
The con kind of petered out as the day came to a close. But for me, the highlight was and always will be the fact that the men’s room of the fire station had potpourri by the sink. That’s so random.