Comic-Con Reconsidered (Or, The Triumph Of The Nerds)

Batman @ Comic-ConPrevailing wisdom about San Diego’s Comic-Con is that it’s an assembly of misfits, nerds, freaks and geeks salivating over B-listers, back issues, and collectibles.

In fact, I traded in that very same simplistic, diminishing description as recently as just last night.

Tonight, though, I counter with a new thesis.

Comic-Con is an inspirational gathering of apparently disparate peoples: young and old, physically capable and challenged, thin and not-so. It is a safe space for difference, where the one’s unique offering is rewarded and relished. Better still, it is a place where difference embraces difference.

I saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles talking with Ghost Busters, Sleestacks laughing with Crazy 88s, and Care Bears kvetching with Jokers.

I spied Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Destro, Shrek and Skeletor, Cylons, Watchmen, Boogie Men, and Storm Troopers all cohabitating in peace.

I rode the escalator next to a full-on, latex-and-horse hair Davy Jones (the one from “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” not The Monkees) — barnacles and all. And while I felt a little embarrassed to be standing near him (especially in my blue blazer) everyone else ate it up.

Comic-Con International began in 1970 as gathering of just 300 comic book illustrators, publishers, and fans in the basement of the U. S. Grant Hotel.

Thirty-eight years later, more than 100,000 crowd the San Diego Convention Center’s 1.7 million square feet of exhibition space. From ABC to Warner Bros., wvery major motion picture studio and television network is accounted for.

It’s the Triumph of the Nerds.

It’s a place rabid with enthusiasm. Still, everyone is polite, everyone is engaged, and everyone is a fan of something. And if you can love something, you can love anything.

Frankly, the world would be a better place if we all tore a page from Comic-Con’s playbook.

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