Key Art Banner

Last Call: Comic-Con Relief

Meeting superheroes often requires powerful beverages.
Posted on Jul 16, 2018 | 06:00am
By Stanley Bing

I knew something strange was going on when the nurse in the miniskirt stumbled into me outside the San Diego Convention Center. She had a hatchet sticking out of her forehead and rivulets of blood streaming down her cheeks.

"Hey!" she said, very perky. "I can't believe I'm seeing you here!" Turns out it was this young woman I know from the office. I guess I could be excused for not recognizing her right away. First of all, she usually dresses in gray business suits. Also, it was the first time I'd seen her with some of her brain falling out. 

"Kathy!" I exclaimed, regaining my composure. "You look awesome!" She smiled through her gore. "Thanks!" she replied. "I'm a zombie nurse!" We chatted while we waited to get into the hall. It was very hot, San Diego hot, even though it was early.

Then the doors opened, and we were swept up together in a giant scrum of mutants, superheroes, fanboys, and entertainment executives, thousands of them, all trying to fit through a tight cordon of security that was there to... what... make sure that nobody weird got in?

Inside, it was pretty close to a soccer stadium trampling situation. I had to be sort of rude to Iron Man just to get on the escalator. I don't really believe it was Iron Man, though. Iron Man doesn't have a droopy gut and horn-rimmed glasses.

Inside, it was bedlam. I was headed for a platform featuring the stars of a popular CBS comedy. You can't really have a successful movie or TV show on any platform without conquering Comic-Con at this point. I took my time.

Now that I was inside, there was some room to breathe a little, and it was cool just to stroll around among so many joyous, crazy people. Around me there were the usual gang of quasi-recognizable characters, of course—lots of Wonder Womans, Batmans, Black Panthers, and Ant-Mans, but also plenty of more inventive types who were inspired to roll their own.

Remember the Star Wars bar? Now imagine half a million square feet of space like that. And if your project lights a fire under that crowd? You're golden, baby.

I got to the elevated booth where our stars were waving down at the screaming multitudes, many of whom appeared to be normal human beings in traditional street garb. "Hey, man," said a security guy at the foot of the stairs leading up to the platform. "Don't even think about going up there. It's already so crowded that one more body could make the whole thing come crashing down."

I looked up and noticed that the structure was wobbling a bit. I decided to stay on the floor. Nothing required my help, or even my presence, anyway. It was a classic boondoggle.

So I simply walked around and, like many there who didn't have spandex booty huggers, papier-mâché powerpacks, or antennaed headgear, wondered what the heck I was doing there anyhow. Then I decided to go get a drink. Elsewhere.

On my way out I stumbled across a little area that was quieter than the rest. A bunch of tables were set up. People were drawing at them, and I looked over their shoulders for a while. You know what they were doing? Making comics. Some of the artists were quite famous. It wasn't that crowded over there for some reason. I had plenty of room to watch them work.

Then I went out to a bar and hoisted a few with a noisy gang of Batmans and Spider-Mans and a bunch of their pals. It was fun. Those superheroes really know how to get a party started. Protecting humanity must be thirsty work, but hey, I suppose somebody's gotta do it.

Illustration by Michael Byers | Originally published in Watch! Magazine, July-August 2018.