Comic-Con Round-Up Exclamation Mark

I almost never take photos these days. I don’t photograph my friends, because, y’know, they’re my friends. If I find myself wondering what my friends look like I can pick up a phone and say, “Hey, are you busy today?” If the answer is no, it’s usually less than an hour before we’re in each other’s company getting ready to go bowling or some shit. As the door opens and I see their grim visage, my concerns are abated. Yes, my mind says. He does still look like that.

Most notably, taking photos cheapens a moment for me. It impinges on the memory of an event to have to stop, and pose, and contort my face into some grim position so as to make sure that my photo, or indeed someone else’s photo, doesn’t look like photographic evidence of some harrowing tea party populated by the damned.

So it’s a little odd that I woke up this morning at just after 10am, having arrived back in Los Angeles from my single day in San Diego for their annual comic’d con, saddened by my lack of photographic evidence of the event. No photos of myself and Lar, talking and laughing about some manner of bullshit for upwards of thirty solid minutes. No pictures of my casually implying to the wonderful, wonderful people at the Blank Label Comics booth that Kris Straub may (or may not!) be offering blowjobs. No pictures of Kris Straub, for obvious reasons.

I have no photos. Instead, all I have is memories. For the first time, that doesn’t quite feel like enough.

I was only able to attend Comic-Con for one day this year, but I had the greatest convention experience of my life. Actually it may more accurately be described as the greatest convention experiences, being as it was made up of small (but important!) experiences that all add up to one whole.

My personal favourite, though? My good friend Ray, who will be marrying his equally good girlfriend Michelle next year, asked me to be his Best Man. I have crippling self-esteem issues, and consider myself to be the worst man pretty much all year ’round, but I can tolerate being the best for a single day. My body can take it.

What follows is five paragraphs about Penny Arcade. You may not like them. Or maybe you will! That’s not really my call.

I spent rather a lot of time talking to the P’Arc’s Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik (mostly to Jerry) about a number of subjects, to the extent that casual observers might have thought us close acquaintances. I spoke to Jerry about how his writing, both in the comic and elsewhere, fires me up. It does. It inspires me. Over the last thirteen-or-so years he’s found his voice, and it is enchanting. I hope some day to find mine, and I hope it’s even half as brilliant as his.

Jerry and Mike get a second bullet-point, because we spoke briefly about the Discovery. I raised a question at their Q&A (which I did not attend on purpose, but whatevs) about how the gaming press and PR machines, which are often one in the same, bombard us with pre-release information, generating false hype for games that, really, don’t deserve them. It is the job of PR people to get us excited for the shit their clients excrete, and game journalists appear to have taken part of that responsibility on themselves. Consequently, as people constantly buy into the hype, that sense of Discovery that we have playing new games as kids – coming home to find our parents have bought us some new thing to try on our computer boxes – is gone. Even in my teens I bought games I thought looked cool, ignoring magazines entirely.

I wondered if the Discovery had died, and I was very happy to learn that not only did Jerry and Mike share my thoughts on the Discovery, but that Mike has been actively trying to restore (or rediscover) it by ignoring pre-release materials and promotional bullshit. It was nice having my opinions vindicated and even shared by the guys who last year employed a man who disagrees with my stance on literally every goddamn thing relating to the gaming press to run their gaming news operation.

On the subject of their Kickstarter… look, I was pissed off on Day One. I tweeted about it a lot from my GameJournos account. Day two, which I think was Thursday, I woke up and realized I didn’t actually give anything even vaguely resembling a shit. I’m excited about the new content that Jerry and Mike want to get (as a huge, huge fan of their prohibition-era scifi setting Automata, the idea of getting more of that is positively appetite-whetting) and their Strip Search webseries looks like it may not be terrible either.

Some seem to believe that replacing a serviceable revenue stream that has a noted, diminished impact on their personal creative output with another that lets them run riot is, in some way, counter to the very purpose for which Kickstarter was intended. I propose that Kickstarter could not have been designed for anything else.

A few other Comic-Con points of interest:

  • MC Frontalot is earnest, approachable, and will listen to his fans ramblings. Specifically my ramblings. He was very polite.
  • My friend Heather’s Post-Apocalyptic Snow White costume looked incredible. I’d seen it when she was working on it, but that’s rather like looking at a souffle before it’s had a chance to rise. It looked incredible. I realize I have already typed those exact words, but they remain relevant.
  • I bumped into a short, round Asian man dressed as Catwoman. I was dressed as a Gotham City Impostors Batman. We had an awkward moment, then spent two minutes talking about our secret love for each other. That, too, was awkward, but fun. So that’s something.
  • My dad charged me with a sacred purpose – procure one of the Comic-Con exclusive The Hobbit posters. I failed, mostly because The Hobbit had, I don’t know, sixteen bloody booths at the con. That’s an exaggeration obviously (even a blind moron with severe developmental issues could see that!!), but finding the location to procure such a poster, if they were even still available, was not a task I was able to complete. Sorry, dad.
  • QMx have some incredible stuff on display, and I feel very privileged to have been working in the office as much of this stuff was in development. Two of the things they have that I didn’t get to see before the show, though, are the 1:6 scale TARDIS replica, and the model of the Enterprise-D from TNG, which looked positively lickable. (Andy, if you’re reading this, I did not lick the Enterprise-D.)
  • I regret every decision I’ve ever made in my life that led me to the purchase of a $5 convention center hot dog.

Thus concludes this. I’ll be back to regular blogging next week, because that’s a thing I do now.

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