From what I observed on Saturday, only a deluded curmudgeon could describe Boston Comic Con 2015 as anything other than a rousing success. This piece is not intended to slam the con, in which an army of noble nerds from across the nation reveled throughout the Seaport World Trade Center. That would be silly. Most people there—and there were a lot—looked like they were having a blast.
But between wondering why Black Cat cosplayers outnumbered Harley Quinns and flogging myself for not attending on Friday when I could’ve caught the Billie Piper Q&A, I had an epiphany: I am over Boston Comic Con. In fact, I don’t think Boston Comic Con is really designed for me.
My dabblings in comic book journalism should indicate that I’d feel at home whilst immersed in its culture. ‘Tis not so. Herein, I rattle off five reasons why I shall take a pass on next year’s BCC unless somebody pays me to be there.
1. The Comics Industry Isn’t as Interesting or Cool as the Books It Produces
I figured I’d find something meaty to write about if I sat in on the Marvel Universe panel. I think I kind of did? According to moderator and Marvel Team Manager Rickey Purdin, the publisher’s far from finished announcing All-New All-Different titles to debut in the fall and throughout the winter, so no one need panic if his or her favorite character hasn’t been assigned something to do after Secret Wars wraps.
Aside from that, the audience Q&A with eight prominent writers and artists played out as an innocuous, amusing fanboy lark until a girl named Jason, who couldn’t have been older than 10 years old, redeemed the entire 45 minutes when she asked, “What’s the character you felt worst about killing?”
Red Skull writer Joshua Williamson feels guilty about slaughtering an entire team of unlikely heroes in Red Skull #1. Gerry Duggan had a rough time burning Deadpool alive in issue #250 of his run on the book. Frank Tieri admitted he caught a lot of grief when the villainous Mister X put a puppy in a microwave during one of his Wolverine jaunts—drawing gasps from the crowd.
“You can kill as many people as you want, but one puppy, and that’s it!” he remarked.
Later, Tieri and legendary artist Frank Brunner confessed to a mutual, burning desire to kill off Gambit. Evidently, they both harbor an irrational hatred for Gambit.
So that’s Saturday’s big scoop: Someday Gambit will die.
This dispatch from MassLive doesn’t paint a much juicier picture of the following day’s DC Comics panel, except for somebody in the crowd asking the DC reps to explain the illogic of Damian Wayne’s ethnicity.
2. I Already Have Too Much Stuff I Don’t Need
The first floor of Boston Comic Con is basically a flash mall, with more than 150 vendors peddling comics, crafts, prints, toys and various other genre-related trinkets. I imagine the sight drives denizens of suburbs or underburbs with no comic stores within easy traveling distance to swoon. (I realize you can buy anything you’re specifically looking for online, but let us never underestimate the joy of aimless browsing.)
I happen to live within a 15-minute walk of three reputable comic shops—meaning I have more superhero-related cool crap in my apartment than I know what to do with.
I took a picture of these pretty rad x-men cosplayers before I realized taking pictures of cosplayers is redundant and occasionally pervvy.
3. The Voyeurism Surrounding Cosplay Creeps Me Out
I started taking pictures of cosplayers, then stopped upon remembering Paste’s recent, pretty kickass cosplay gallery from San Diego and Paste hates redundancy. In addition, every single other media outlet covering this thing either has or will post a cosplay gallery. You know who needs more pictures of cosplayers? Other cosplayers. The rest of us already have way, way more than we ever needed.
Also—pretty sure we can safely say the fetitization of women in superhero outfits became obviously problematic when the notoriously skeevy SuicideGirls pinup site hopped on the bandwagon last year in San Diego. Moreover, the fact that the Cosplay Is Not Consent campaign (which was highly visible at BCC) became necessary—especially when a sizable fraction of the cosplay community hasn’t lived long enough to get a learner’s permit—speaks poorly of the geekdom community itself. I figure we should all just let ‘em have fun playing dress up and leave well enough alone.
4. Celebrity Autographs and Photo-Ops are Too Expensive, and It’s eBay’s Fault
I understand Stan Lee doesn’t believe he deserves to be paid $100 for writing his name. Billie Piper knows the task of holding a pen and moving her hand around a little doesn’t warrant $60. Same goes for Hayley Atwell and Robin Lord Taylor, and all the other famous types who dropped in for meet and greets over the weekend. If they thought otherwise, they would be locked in a mental institution and unable to attend events such as BCC. But we can assume maybe half of the items media guests tag with their John Hancock wind up on eBay by the end of the day. In other words, the high price of autographs doesn’t exploit fans, it protects celebrities from being exploited by non-fans.
That said, there were more than 200 creators signing stuff for free in Artists Alley, because they are not as famous as television and movie stars, and their signatures have far less resale value. During our brief interaction, Babs Tarr scanned as miraculously friendly, despite being trapped in a booth for three days.
There are too many people at this con.
5. I have crippling crowd-related anxiety
Self-explanatory. Staggering masses of human strangers—regardless of whether they’re ostensibly nonthreatening and/or in jubilant spirits – make me want to find a dark corner in which to chain smoke (which is forbidden at the Seaport Center) and wait until it’s time to go home.