Now... a portion of my psyche is actually relieved by this. I am, in fact, too old for such irrelevant horseshit. My first con attendance was at the tender age of 21. I ran around getting my myriad books signed, commissioning sketches of the X-Man "Rogue" without her costume (how the HELL am I bold enough to admit the publicly?) and slavishly adoring my geek heroes.
At the time, Jack Kirby was still alive. I never liked him, but it's a fair point of reference to note that I was in the same building with the King of Comic Books on at least two occasions. Some five years later I'd make my pilgrimage to worship at the feet of the REAL king of comics, Will Eisner who is, for the uninitiated, one of the most significant illustrators in history. If you don't read his works, you are the poorer.
(OMG, he's getting emotional! fuck, just ignore it. Dude's already vying for "most pathetic" honors with 10,000 fans of Family Guy. Just keep moving.)
And about two years after my first con, I met Terry Moore, one of the most kind and human people one could ever hope to meet. I am... with no SMALL measure of pride, now a hug and smooch presence at Terry's table each year with he, his unREAL wife, Robyn and his sister-in-law Terry. The Abstract Studios table at San Diego is the most certain of my yearly destinations and one I WILL I promise you, miss with intensity this Summer...
I'm going to miss Con. This is the most recent in the series of sacrifices made to the upkeep of my grandmother. She has stolen my youth, my money, my dignity and finally even my geekhood. There's only my actual breath left to take from me at this stage.
...and as I mentioned a bit ago, part of me is okay with that. At 21, I could lust after the costume girls and the booth babes with impunity. On the cusp of 40, I am a pervert and a wastrel, clinging to a vestige of a childhood long since departed.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways. Now we see only an indistinct image in a mirror, but then we will be face to face. Now what I know is incomplete, but then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Right now three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Showing that even the wisdom of those we do not honor as our own tribe can be just and valid...
And so, a part of me... who feels perverse and ill-bread for lusting after the young costumed girls, and sadly anachronistic for getting in line to get a book signed by a man half my age and a third as wise is relieved.
But a part of my vibrant and passionate soul dies as well. My FIRST. And I mean VERY first memory of walking in to the San Diego Convention Center is of seeing the impossibly tall figure of Jim Shooter, writer, editor and in his own way, -legend- RIGHT IN FUCKING FRONT OF ME, signing copies of the books I most treasured in all the world. I stepped in the door, and before my eyes was Mozart, Harley Earl, and Einstein in the form of a 6'9" gangly mass of comic geek who thought he could change the world with nothing but a story.
....and I have stepped into that convention hall every year since, even if for only a single day to breath the same air, and feel the same electricity.
In 1999, I tarried far beyond my welcome. I did not want to leave. Four consecutive days was not enough. I wandered the convention floors while security guards rousted out the stragglers, and vendors packed up their wares and the staff rolled up the very floors upon which we walked. But I did NOT want to leave. It was too much to let go of. And yet... WHY? What draws me? What force entices me down? The unwashed geeks? The underpaid bimbos? The hungry new creators? The overpriced trinkets? What the FUCK was it???
So a small part of me is happy. I'm too old to go there anymore. Too old to leer and want to touch the fresh and sweet geek girls and their trim, young bodies. too old to value in any REAL way the mass-produced and throw away stories of the comic book universe.
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
But, oh, fucking GOD! I don't want to get old! I don't WANT to abandon that which I was! I WANT to wallow in the un-self-conscious geekdom that is a comic-book fan! I want to wander the aisles and press my nose against the glass and lust as only a teenager can.
I will miss Terry and Robyn Moore VERY much. I will miss the fans. I will miss the very atmosphere. I am now old. And I am poor. And the world doesn't give half a fuck about who you are or where you've been. You don't get to go to parties that you're not invited to.
And so it ends.
G'Bye San Diego.