Convention-related Links

Very soon, I would like to put the post on Bioshock I’ve been taking occasional notes for, reflect a bit on the dissertation proposal writing process, and discuss how the image of the Jewish male fits into the nerd stereotype (which came up in my proposal defense and when someone from The Jewish Chronicle recently told me about an article he’s writing about nerds, both of which inspired me to find this “nerd vs. nebbish” article from 1998). For now, though, it’s all I can do just to keep up with some links that have been piling up.

Reflections on Comic Con: David Glanzer, director of marketing and public relations for the huge pop culture festival known as Comic Con, has given a couple interviews with The Comics Reporter‘s Tom Spurgeon and Comic Book Resources‘s Jonah Weiland. Apparently the show saw 125,000 this year. I believe it, especially considering how much waiting in line has become a standard feature of the weekend. Some people I spoke with waited in line for hours in the hopes of seeing the trailer for the next Batman movie (i.e., waited in line for a commercial) at the DC panel, but it was not shown. Anyway, there’s a lot of business-oriented stuff in those interviews (which some of you may find more engaging than others), but also some interesting stuff about how conventions function within geek culture, such as when Tom asks about the con’s role to “consummate (in the g-rated sense) on-line friendships,” which leads to increased space for clubs. Actually, even more space seemed needed for that this year, I think; the Browncoats’ (Firefly/Serenity fans’) meeting seemed filled to capacity with regulars, so I had to meet folks through other means, chatting with some fellow Browncoat-curious attendees standing outside.

The Vibe of PAX: Mike (“Gabe”) at Penny Arcade reflects on how the vibe of PAX is so different from other conventions because it really feels by and for the gamers themselves. Having been to PAX three times, this actually sounds pretty accurate and not just touchy-feely, self-congratulatory stuff. While the con hosts plenty of panels and the obligatory exhibitors’ room, much of the space simply hosts tables with tabletop games going, beanbag chairs seating handheld gamers, and TVs and computers for console and PC gamers. People are just there to have fun with friends and strangers, participating in the hobby that brought them all there in the first place. Plus, Mike and Jerry go out of their way to make the visitors feel like they’re the ones in charge, allowing people to come onstage to fulfill silly requests, and fielding every personal question (except who would win in a fight between ninjas and pirates). My first year there (before I was officially there for research), they even let my friend Tony take a photo of my friend Kai pretending to lick Jerry’s head. “You were a good sport about that,” I told him, to which he replied, “I am here for your amusement.” He wandered off, presumably to do something more official. Now that is dedication to your fans.

Update (again): Mike also posts links to PAX desktop wallpapers made by PA designer Kiko. As of now, some of the links seem to not be working, but I expect that will be fixed. (Yes: see the Flickr set on PAX culture in particular. This is fairly representative of what it looks like from the convention floor: a huge line, colorful shirts, and DS’s aplenty.) For now, you can still see a good pic of a giant crowd holding aloft their phones and DS’s—the PAX equivalent of holding up a lighter at a concert.