What do a ballerina, cocktail waitress and Wookies have in common? Absolutely nothing. That is, until the annual comic convention rolls into San Diego, and the seaside town is overrun with scantily clad women, young boys whose social hierarchy has nothing to do with how far you get with a girl and middle-aged adults that maintain an air of dignity in their senior knowledge of the evolution of comics.

The cocktail waitress (me), ballerina (my roommate) and Wookies (you should need no explanation here), all found solace and enlightenment at the cultural phenomenon that is Comic-Con.

While some comic experts might call me an uninformed amateur, I like to think of my perspective on the event as a blank slate. I’m a sucker for the fantastical, and anything cult has always appealed to me, so I strapped on my cape marked with an “A” for amateur and headed to San Diego.

People are known to shine when they’re in their own element, surrounded by others with the same passions and in an atmosphere that rewards their particularities. The comic convention serves as just this, but has long since evolved from its stereotypical image of comic fanatics in thick glasses and pocket protectors, exclusively premiering new collector’s items or obscure special edition comics, flexing the rarities of their collections. The stereotype may be the same, but the reality is a whole new ballgame.

Meandering lines, shouting and bargaining, cameras flashing – it was America at its best. With open arms to even the most clueless patrons, Comic-Con now showcases booths representing everyone from big name film companies to specialty clothing brands, skate companies and dominatrix leatherwear.

Maybe it was the sword that stuck out of its holster too far or their face paint that was starting to drip in their eyes, but my repeated collisions with Jedis and Harry Potters wasn’t helped by the overabundance of social awkwardness. Nothing against my fellow Comic-Conners, genius is often indicated by a complete absence of people skills; It made for a very distinct buzz amidst the convention center.

All bad humored jokes aside, Comic-Con really is its own breed of art show. Rows of illustrators sat creating before our very eyes, showcasing portfolios of beautiful, sometimes horrifying, and always intricate sketches.

The Ugly Doll brand was represented with bins of its iconic oddly figured dolls, allowing every purchaser to then decorate their plain white doll any way they saw fit – Build-A-Bear for the eclectic.

The filmic figurines were another favorite, showcasing 3-D icons from the likes of Freddy Krueger holding a detached human head to Chunk (Goonies) holding a snack.

Trying not to rest on my cinema-focused laurels, I stopped at a booth that appeared to be selling sexually charged Anime novelas, complete with cover art that resembled Japan’s take on grocery store romance novels. Painted in whimsical watercolors with titles offering an erotic twist on age-old tales, I finally settled on “Let’s Be Perverts.” This is why Comic-Con is for the common man.

A story of a middle-school boy whose name is actually Perverto, it comes as no big shocker that people often point fingers, calling him a pervert and causing girls to feign disgust. With a father and brother who also have names derived from “pervert” and spend time watching neighbors through a telescope, incoherent but hilarious storylines of coming of age and sexual exploration, punctuated by good old fashioned comic sound words like “powze” are woven together for an entirely unique comic.

Article posted on 8/8/2007
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