I’ve been to 13 Comic-Cons. And every year I go back, I get this crazy feeling. It’s a combination of exhaustion and déjà vu and girls in costumes that warps me into a headspace where I believe that Comic-Con is my only true existence. The rest of my life – the other 364 days – seem like a dream. What I think of as “Real Life” is only in my mind – a “Matrix,” to coin a phrase. And I unplug from this Matrix but one Saturday a year to breathe actual air and eat actual $5 pretzels in the crazy purgatory futurescape of San Diego.
Now that I’m back at “home,” fully re-immersed in the oppressive banality of the Matrix (delicious steak, though!), I shall now attempt to summarize my 13 years of experience into a cogent Con philosophy.
You must walk.
Just walk. That’s it. Take it in. Float. Be buffeted around like jetsam in an ocean of costumes and subcultures and Lego Snowtroopers. Don’t go to panels, unless you are speaking on them. Who can wait in those lines when the great smelly sea is beckoning? Don’t buy or carry anything – no backpack, no giant free plastic bag advertising a TV show that won’t exist a year from now – nothing should weigh you down. Free yourself from Comic-Con’s materialistic core. Cast off the slave-chains of collectibles. Amble. Listen to the conversations by the urinals. (My favorite, spoken with true anger: ”What is it with you and Voltron?”) On the floor you will encounter many friends, but never try to stay with any one friend too long. Let them go. Don’t fight the waves. Let the storm take you. Observe. Behold. Don’t photograph. Your hard drive doesn’t care if it has a picture of The Penguin having breakfast at the Manchester Hyatt. Why should you? Don’t put breakfast Penguin in a digital cage. These moments are fleeting, and yet infinite. Accept that. You will be back next year.
All you need to do now is walk.