The thing about Comic Con is that, underneath all the geeky costumes and all that other fanboy bullshit, it's still very much a convention. It takes place in a nondescript convention hall that's roughly the size of the Pentagon. The panels take place in big depressing conference rooms that look very much like the kind of place where you'd have to endure some bullshit corporate marketing meeting. And everyone is wearing a lanyard, just like the good folks at your neighborhood office park. There are thousands upon thousands of booths in the exhibition halls, and many people are there not for pleasure, but to make money. They have small businesses, and they hope that the convention does for them, albeit on a smaller scale, what the convention will do for some big summer movie like Cowboys & Aliens. So you feel at times like you're at a standard business offsite. Only everyone is dressed like a lunatic.

This was Thor. I don't know why he went to the trouble to make this costume and then completely abandoned any effort with the hair. He's Thor all over until you get to his head, when he suddenly turns into Saul Rubinek.

On my way to the Con, the cabbie told me that this aircraft carrier was the same aircraft carrier that bin Laden's body was dumped from. And if you're gonna have your corpse tossed off a seafaring vessel, this one seems like a pretty solid one to go with.

This is one of the pavilions on the top floor of the convention hall, where people stand in line for various panels or to get someone's autograph (the lines extend far outside the convention center). And the hilarious thing about Comic Con is that every sternly-worded sign around the convention is written in Comic Sans font. It's appropriate, of course, given that this is a comic book convention. But it's still funny to see signs telling you NO ENTRY WITHOUT PROPER CREDENTIALS written in Dan Gilbert's favorite angry lettering. Many of the security officials and cops surrounding the event could get quite testy if you were going somewhere you weren't supposed to go (and I always found myself going places I apparently wasn't supposed to go). You could just tell they were pissed about having to spend a weekend making sure these nerds didn't walk into Hall H without a proper badge. I was walking on a sidewalk outside the convention and the cop directing traffic started screaming at everyone before they even had a chance to jaywalk. Then he bellowed, "HAVEN'T GIVEN A $383 TICKET IN A LONG TIME. NEARLY GAVE OUT THREE RIGHT THERE!" Cops are fucking assholes.

Halo guy here wasn't immune from having to display his badge at all times, which I really think did a disservice to his uniform. Also, note that he went to the trouble to create a slot in his armor to accommodate his iPhone. What used to be a smartphone for hipster pussies now totally looks like the thing the Predator used to punch in the alien code to blow himself up. Everyone should have a badass robo-iPhone thingie.


Halo guy was one of many people nice enough to stop and take a picture when I asked. That happens a lot at Comic Con. People in good costumes are asked to take photos, and they oblige because that's why they came in the first place. To get attention. The Con is their little chance to walk around like a celebrity for a day. And if you put enough time and care into your outfit, I dare say you've earned that adulation. There were a lot of people in costumes at the convention, but a lot of those costumes were ASS. Like they went to the Dollar store and just glued a bunch of shit together. Not Halo guy. Halo guy put real craftsmanship into his thing.

On the main floor of Hall B, there was a giant display of meticulously crafted figurines, like this one of the Terminator exoendoskeleton. These things are extremely expensive, the kind of mega-novelty item that was created specifically for Shaquille O'Neal to purchase. If I were a filthy rich asshole, I'd buy 100 of these and put them outside my front door, then call for Chinese delivery and see how the guy on the bike reacted to Skynet's army ready to mow his ass down.

The spiders on Indy's back were a nice touch. I can't begin to tell you how sad I was that they didn't hand out free candy at the convention. If they had given me a small plastic pumpkin filled to the brim with Reese's miniatures, I would have been the happiest man alive.

This Back to the Future DeLorean did indeed have a glowing flux capacitor in the back. And even though they never explained what the flux capacitor was in the movie or how it worked (probably because it didn't), it still made the time machine feel that much more legitimate, didn't it? That's the beauty of science fiction. Even if it's complete bullshit, you can still suspend your disbelief so long as it SOUNDS like it works. There's not a day that goes by when I don't wish my car didn't have wheels that could suddenly turn flat and then blast my ass into the future.

A sand person. If he had raised his staff over his head and begun shouting in a guttural language of unknown origin, I would have been frightened. This was one of many Star Wars costumes at the convention, and one of the fun things was getting to the Con early in the morning and seeing some of the fanboys still putting on their gear. I saw a couple of Darth Vaders over in one corner by the shitter, helping each other with their stuff, like they were getting ready for a football game. It was kind of a touching moment, until they started tonguing each other. (NOTE: They didn't actually do this.) One guy in a Vader costume was being tended to by his woman outside the hotel. He looked very regal, as if he were already in character. I saw one guy getting on a lot of Klingon makeup and I asked if I could take his picture. He asked me to wait until the costume was complete, and right then I felt like I had made an unreasonable request. This man felt NAKED without his full Klingon makeup on, so I had to oblige him. He also assured me he would be joined by many Klingons later on, which I found reassuring.

This was the best costume I saw when I was walking around. The guy actually had a voicebox inside the uniform that mimicked precisely how a Storm Trooper's voice box sounded in the movie. The pitch, the static… it was all there. And you can see he took great care to weather his outfit, so that it looked like real Strom Trooper work had been done in it – marchin' and killin' younglings and what not. It wasn't just some shiny piece of shit plastic. The guy was probably up every night touching it up so it looked just right. I admire that kind of dedication. Also, I wonder if the costume had a little slot for his peepee.

I'm not sure who this guy was supposed to be. Some sort of early 1900's outer space safari guy. Nice gun, though. The molester beard is a real pity. You never want a molester beard. A molester beard and molester glasses will ruin you.

Here's Magneto and Mystique and what appears to be their diabolical little Filipino henchmen. YOU DON'T FOOL ME, FILIPINO MUTANTS. BEHIND YOUR SMILES THERE IS EVILDOING AFOOT.

You can't quite tell from the photo, but Michael Jackson here was walking around with a long furry tail. Why Michael Jackson with a tail? No one knows. It's like the guy threw on his Jacko outfit and then was like, "It needs something more. Something with a little pop. I GOT IT. FUCKING TAIL BITCHES." Kids do love animals with tails.

A headless R2D2. But no Kenny Baker inside, which I found disappointing. But that's sort of the beauty of Comic Con. You get to see fanboyism in virtually every stage. You might think of fanboys as horribly awkward people with no social skills. But I saw plenty of people yapping and laughing and having a good time. That's the surprising thing about the event. For all its trappings, it's shockingly normal. Reassuringly so. Except for that Michael Jackson guy with a tail. He was fucked.