I’m still operating at 40% power, but writing this post is an alternative to staring at throngs of travelers as they drag their overloaded backpacks, duffel bags, cardboard boxes, laundry baskets, strollers and various other makeshift suitcases through the lobby.
And besides, I’m only operating at 60% power on a good day anyway, so what the hell?
The Niagara region’s version of Nerdvana, otherwise known as Niagara Falls Comic Con, begins tomorrow, and so I figured this would be a good time to share some of my favorite things about my hometown gathering of
the-no-longer-considered-the-lunatic-fringe comic fans and cons in general.
10) The epic scale: There’s something very liberating about becoming lost in a crowd of like-minded individuals. Overall, I’m a pretty well-adjusted guy but even The Hook needs to stop being The Hook for a while. (Shut up, Ned Hickson, I can practically hear you rolling your eyes at my use of the term “well-adjusted”.)
I love the idea of just wandering the convention floor and letting my senses drink in the sights, sounds, smells and the general vibe of fandom at its purest.
9) The pretty girls: I’m happily married, but I’m also a man and the man in me doesn’t mind seeing a pretty girl or two, especially if they’ve gone out of their way to squeeze themselves into some spandex and layered on several ounces of make-up for my benefit.
8) The effect pretty girls have on some of my fellow nerds: If you haven’t seen a grown man in an ill-fitting Batman costume pee himself when surrounded by a bevy of ridiculously attractive cosplayers dressed as slutty versions of their favorite superheroes, I highly recommend it.
It was the best fifty bucks I ever spent.
7) These guys:
You can’t buy this kind of entertainment, kids. Humans are at their best when they believe themselves to be invincible. At a con, anything goes, and that’s the way the world should work every day.
6) If I’m at a con, I’m not working: Don’t get me wrong, I love my role as the World’s Most Honest/Blunt Bellman, but a day off doesn’t suck, friends. When I’m Robert Hookey, a not-so-mild-mannered citizen, I can relax and turn off my super powers of observation and snark. I still encounter the wackiest beings the universe has ever produced, but I can approach each encounter differently.
No one can fire me when I’m a civilian.
5) SHATNER!! If you don’t know the name, you’re not worth my time. Even his critics – of which there are literally billions – respect at least one hundred of his thousands of accomplishments/credits. Somewhere along the line we’ve all forgotten that the Shat -Man is a classically-trained stage actor.
He’s been to space. He’s been Denny Crane. He’s killed music. He’s written several books that I’ve read and they all rock. He is no longer a man but rather, an institution unto himself. And Sunday, for a few brief hours, he belongs to the nerds of Niagara Falls.
“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE SHAT, HOOK!”
4) Bacon: There will be bacon at the convention and bacon makes everything better. If William Shatner smelled like bacon he’d be the most popular actor in the history of the profession. (Told you I wasn’t operating on all thrusters.)
3) The faces behind the pages: Neal Adams. Kevin Eastman. Leonard Kirk. Dan Parent. These names may not mean much to you – but I’ll let it pass.. this time. All of these men are legendary artists/writers and they’ll be joined by several of their brethren throughout the weekend.. Collectively, these creators have influenced my life on a scale I cannot articulate.
2) Comics: With all the hype and attention we pay to the celebrities, the free swag, the video games, the horror movies and everything else going on at a con, we tend to forget about the comic book component of a comic book convention.
1) I get to be a kid again: You know that sense of wonder that most people sacrifice when they cross the threshold to “adulthood”? They infuse it back into you when you set foot on a convention floor – whether you like it or not. Fortunately, I’ve never been an adult, although I do play one in the so-called real world. Still, attending a con allows me to truly geek out with best of them.
That having been said, there are no geeks at a con, only fans. There are no freaks, only devoted acolytes. If Jonah Hill called anyone a faggot at a con, he’d be dead in fifteen seconds flat, most likely from a proliferation of phasers to the rectum.
A con is a safe zone for the world’s outcasts. A con is a place where dreamers gather to marvel at the beauty, complexity and diversity of dreams. Period.
And that’s all I have to say about that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need some aspirin and and some rest before I embark on The Hook’s Great Adventure.
See you in the lobby – and the convention floor, kids.