I'm at the San Diego ComicCon, where, each July, thousands upon thousands of eager comics fans descend on this city* with a hearty WHUMP, splattering face paint everywhere and causing seismic activity as far away as Phoenix. Yes-sir-ree, they are a “breed apart,” these hordes of Popular Arts enthusiasts. They are “wacky,” they are “kooky,” they are “off the wall.” And now, they’re here once again, to show the world just how wacky and kooky and off-the-wall they are by means of basically all dressing up as the same licensed mass-market characters as everybody else.
(Interesting side note: a little while ago, my father observed a guy in intense sci-fi getup – highly elaborate alien costume, menacing props, bodily makeup worth more than the gross national product of Luxembourg,** etc. – pick up his cell phone and say, with a perfectly hangdog expression and no hint of self-awareness, “Yeh? … Naw, naw, I can’t do that, ‘cause I gotta go to … ” as his advanced weaponry clanked forgotten by his side. It was an odd juxtaposition, the kind that brings you right back “down to earth,” or would if you didn’t already notice the scads and scads of nametags, eyeglasses, Hasbro collectibles, paunches, etc.)
And speaking of collectibles: say what you will of the ComicCon, but it is here I have learned of the dangers of Pony Rot. I am dead serious here. I visited a collectibles counter run by a lady dealer who takes her collectibles-selling very, very, very seriously. Seriously enough that we had the following exchange:
ME: So do you actually get this much for your My Little Ponies? I mean, I sell them on eBay, but I only get about half this much.
HER: Oh, yes. See, in a place like this, people can touch them, and that’s what makes the difference. (Pause.) It’s very sexual, you know? Very sexual.
I smiled at her in what I hope was a nonchalant manner, but she might not have noticed on account of I had suddenly relocated across town. However, we did eventually continue talking, and that was when she filled me in on Pony Rot. I swear. She said – in the same tone of voice she might have used to introduce to her teenage daughter the notion of Personal Freshness – “Have you had to deal with Pony Rot?” I said I couldn’t say I had. She explained: it’s a condition the old My Little Pony dolls get wherein they develop rings around their various little pony parts, causing all the other collectibles to ostracize them, not breathe in near them, spread whispered rumors that they sleep around with the Care Bears, etc. I asked what you do about Pony Rot, but – and you have no doubt guessed this already – there is no cure. Thus it is very, very important that you be aware of its dangers before you ever get to this stage. If I have helped one person today, I sincerely hope that person and I shall never meet.
Other notable sights seen at the Con:
- Jewelry for sale called “Geek Bling”
- A guy loping through the crowd holding up a sign reading, quote, “I NEED TO PEE” (this sign was shaped like a yellow blotch)
- Another guy with a T-shirt that said: GONE TO HAPPY PLACE – BACK SOON.
- A genuine handcrafted statue of Marilyn Monroe with – this is true – Mickey Mouse boobs. Of course you can be sure this was highly historically inaccurate; in real life, her boobs looked like Goofy.
- At this same booth, a statue of Barney the Dinosaur with a skull in his mouth. This is just a little disconcerting, because when you were little, weren’t you just a little afraid that sometimes Barney, while taping a show alongside his cute little human co-stars, got hungry, and, you know, ATE one of his cute little human co-stars, like maybe Min the little Filipino girl? Well, obviously, I never thought about this.
- The people hanging around outside the Con informing us that the CIA is evil.
And with that, I’m off to another day of merrymaking at the Con. If you’re there, you should definitely stop by and say hi.*** Have fun, be safe, watch out for light sabers anywhere near your personal eyeballs, and – whatever you do – do it with protection, and don’t, don’t, DON’T contract Pony Rot. Know the dangers now, for yourself and for future generations.
* Los Angeles.
** Estimated at 13 euros, a button and half a chicken sandwich. But still.
*** Try and find me.
(c) 2010 Nicola McEldowney