July 29 - Wow! I originally may have been depressed when I realized that I could not attend Comic-Con International in San Diego, but, as it turns out, I had a sort of Comic-Conesque weekend! It was so jam-packed with, uh...excitement, that I thought I'd offer this side by side comparison with (what I imagine to have been) the San Diego schedule to show you that I really missed nothing at all...
10:00AM - Comic-Con - Eager nerds from every corner of the Earth swarm the million-square-foot convention floor as doors open. Special passes are required.
10:00AM - WOMP - A sleepy nerd from just one corner of the Earth drives as he and his wife travel to Dubuque, Iowa. Two energy drinks are required.
11:00AM - Comic-Con - The excitement starts early as director Jon Favreau and actors Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Terrence Howard present exclusive preview footage of the much anticipated Iron Man movie. The capacity crowd cheers with wild approval. Some fans even believe that they see a hint of The Mandarin in the trailer.
11:00AM - WOMP - The slightly embarrassed and thoroughly bemused WOMP Staff and I squirm in our seats as a filmed "ghost" introduces us to the history of Dubuque's Old Jail Museum. The subsequent self-guided tour provides us, and about six other tourists, with more interesting insight into the old lock-up and hidden dungeon below. The Staff believes she sees a real ghost in a dark cell.
Noon - Comic-Con - Determined collectors search through miles of long boxes to find that elusive missing issue for their comic book collections. With such a huge selection of back-issues at the Con, most collectors are successful.
Noon - WOMP - For no particular reason other than curiosity, The Staff and I looked for the Lock and Dam at Dubuque. We've visited the three "above" it (L&Ds numbers 8, 9, and 10), and have found them to be both very interesting and surprisingly welcoming. As it turns out, L&D #11 is closed to the public.
12:30PM - Comic-Con - Hungry convention attendees have access to some of the best cuisine of Southern-Californian culinary traditions. The average lunch costs $28.00 per person.
12:30PM - WOMP - Hungry Mundts eat at Los Aztecas Restaurant. The entire cost of lunch, with tip, is $18.00.
1:00PM - Comic-Con - Literally hundreds of comics companies, big and small, promote their upcoming releases with panels, signing events, and exclusive giveaways. It's estimated that convention attendees could take home as much as a staggering thirty-six pounds of free swag!
1:00PM - WOMP - Literally one of the two comic book shops within 100 miles of WOMP Headquarters, Dubuque's Comics World was having an unexpected 40% off cover price sale on comics on the racks. Including some comic book bags and Star Wars toys for The Staff, I took home an unbelievable fifty bucks worth of sale merchandise!
Remainder of the day - Comic-Con - Convention goers are worn out by a sensory overload of costumed fans, exciting displays, famous faces, and the hustle and bustle of the opening day of geekdom's biggest event in ages.
Remainder of the day - WOMP - The Staff and I are worn out by the drive home and, well...age.
Morning - Comic-Con - Long-time goers wonder aloud whether Hollywood has ruined what used to be a great comic book convention. Even so, they revel in the in-person announcements that Heroes star Zachary Quinto will portray Spock, that Harold Perrineau will return as Michael on Lost, and in the brief Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, and Karen Allen conducted live video feed from the set of Indiana Jones and the Unfortunate Ravages of Time (or whatever it'll be called).
Morning - WOMP - Short-time sleeper me wonders whether anything will ever come of spending untold, and unsung, hours drawing oddball logos and designs for T-shirts instead of on creating comic books. Even so, I revel in the gush of ten dollar bills that I earn by lunchtime (both of them).
Afternoon - Comic-Con - Fans seek out their idols at panels, publishers' booths, and Artists Alley. For them, just seeing these artists and superstars is a thrill they will never forget.
Afternoon - WOMP - I seek out the lovely WOMP Staff, who had to go back to work on Friday (she seldom gets more than one odd day off for "vacation"). Seeing her for lunch is a tradition, but still a thrill...which I'd better not forget!
Evening - Comic-Con - Costume contests, movie premieres, and any number of crazy social and promotional events carry on deep into the night. For many attendees, this is why they came.
Evening - WOMP - More strange and inconsequential art work, unhealthy snacking, and decreasingly funny TV shows carry me on deep into the night and through to the next morning. For me, this is why I often weep myself to sleep.
10:00AM to 3:00PM - Comic-Con - Conventioneers use the elaborate map of the ginormous show floor to seek out specific points of personal interest. They are rewarded for their persistence with unique experiences.
10:00AM to 3:00PM - WOMP - The Staff and I use horrible directions in a classified ad to try to find a farmhouse rummage sale advertising "100s of books." The unsuccessful search and wasted time are their own rewards.
3:00PM to 4:00PM - Comic-Con - Each attendee has one of those unexpected, magical moments that could only happen at the San Diego Comic-Con International. Thank goodness for cellphones with cameras!
3:00PM to 4:00PM - WOMP - The WOMP Staff and I attend the sweaty, un-air-conditioned wedding of a co-worker from my dread "real" job. It was unexpectedly magical...and mercifully short. Thank goodness for quick-talking Methodists!
4:00PM to 7:00PM - Comic-Con - Beginning to feel the effects of hours of schlepping through the acres of Pop Culture, Con goers refuel with quick, exotic sandwiches made of healthy, organic ingredients.
4:00PM to 7:00PM - WOMP - Thanks to the fabulous People's Food Co-Op in La Crosse, Wisconsin, The WOMP Staff and I also refueled after hours of schlepping with quick, exotic sandwiches made of healthy, organic ingredients!
7:00PM to 10:00PM - Comic-Con - The race is on to cram in as much of the remaining scheduled events before both funds and energy are completely exhausted.
7:00PM to 10:00PM - WOMP - The races are "on" at La Crosse Speedway, so The Staff and I go to see them! Sitting in the bleachers, watching old-school stock car racing, is fun...yet somehow exhausting.
Comic-Con - The last day of any comic book convention is usually reserved for last chance deal-making, promotional freebie gathering, leisurely revisiting favorite sites discovered over the previous few days, and saying goodbye to friends you only get to see once a year. San Diego Comic-Con International attendees leave at show's end with a sense of having been part of something truly special...and that they must do it all again next year!
WOMP - The last day of a weekend usually means "work at the dumb 'real' job" for me, so The WOMP Staff and I enjoyed our rare mutual time off by watching Tony Stewart win the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, by playing with our cats, and by just being together. Now, at this WOMP-Blog entry's end, I am left with a sense that, considering the "special" few days I've had, it probably wasn't such a big deal that I once again missed Comic-Con...but, next year? Who knows? Here's your Comic Book Editor of The Day - Jenette Kahn!