FLAPJACKS: Man, I never knew there was so much shit I didn’t want.
FLAPJACKS: I assume I wanted most shit. But I don’t want any of this shit. I came here to spend hard-earned money and look at this crap. Who the fuck wants GI Joe Minimates?
ME: People who like GI Joe, but wish it were blockier.
FLAPJACKS: Who the hell are those people?
FLAPJACKS: These are collectibles of collectibles. Look at these things. The giant super-deformed doll things with the enormous round heads.
ME: The Mighty Muggs.
FLAPJACKS: Whatever. You can get the entire cast of Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the whole Marvel universe too. In super-deformed doll form. Who came up with this? Was someone sitting around saying “boy we sure could see more Red Skull toys if only he was shaped kind of like a fatter version of a Troll doll but with no hair?”
ME: Probably, yes. There’s a market for it.
FLAPJACKS: But who?
ME: What is that cosplayer’s costume?
FLAPJACKS: Which one?
ME: The girl in the three-piece suit with the fangs, the weird lock of hair shaped like an upright candy cane, and the ginormous rifle.
FLAPJACKS: She is dressed up as Twistlock, the lead character in Vampire Formalwear Gunfighter.
ME: You know, for a second there, I actually thought you were serious.
FLAPJACKS: Yeah, I’m kidding.
ME: Well, of course.
FLAPJACKS: It’s actually called Vampire Pantyhose Formalwear Gunfighter.
FLAPJACKS: Oh, dude. Is that guy dressed up as Bloodshot?
ME: You mean Valiant comics Bloodshot? Yeah, looks like.
GUY DRESSED UP AS BLOODSHOT: BLOOOOODSHOOOOT! YEEEEEAAAAAH!
ME: So I take it you like Bloodshot.
GUY DRESSED UP AS BLOODSHOT: Valiant comics were the best comics! They were better than DC! Kicked Marvel’s ass! Vertigo was nothing compared to Valiant!
FLAPJACKS: Fuck YOU, Drawn and Quarterly! Did you come up with Dr. Mirage’s second life? I think not!
ME: How about when Valiant got sold to Acclaim?
GUY DRESSED UP AS BLOODSHOT: Fuck Acclaim! They ruined everything! You know what I’m talking about!
(GUY DRESSED UP AS BLOODSHOT exits.)
ME: Well, at least he paused in his hyperbole to recognize how Valiant got fucked over. That’s a real fan.
FLAPJACKS: The sort of real fan who is willing to paint himself all over in white bodypaint except for a big red dot on his chest, and then explain to everybody that he is cosplaying a briefly popular superhero from fifteen years ago.
ME: The sort of real fan who can say with a straight face “yeah, okay, Sandman revolutionized comics storytelling, but did it have a guy with two guns in it shooting mobsters? I think not.”
FLAPJACKS: The sort of real fan who is willing to spend all day explaining that he is not, in fact, dressed up as an alternate-universe Captain Atom.
FLAPJACKS: Do you wanna go to the DC panel?
ME: No, I wanna play boardgames.
FLAPJACKS: But you’re a comics guy.
ME: I like comics. I don’t know that I qualify as a “comics guy.”
FLAPJACKS: Whatever, Mr. I’m Too Good For The DC Comics Panel.
ME: I don’t want to go to the panel. I have better things to do than listen to Dan Didio bullshit for an hour.
FLAPJACKS: The Marvel panel?
ME: …or listen to Joe Quesada bullshit for an hour either. There are two types of people who go to panels like that: the bored and the fanatic. I’m not bored, and I’m not a blind follower.
FLAPJACKS: So you’re saying nerds are blind followers?
ME: What’s the most common costume you’ve seen at this convention?
FLAPJACKS: Imperial Stormtrooper, why?
ME: Exactly. The Imperial Stormtrooper. The rank-and-file bad guy in the Star Wars movies. There’s one guy I’ve seen dressed up as Vader, a couple Jedi, and there’s like a hundred Stormtroopers.
FLAPJACKS: That’s not really a fair comparison. I mean, there are that many Stormtroopers here because there’s a Stormtrooper play-group who are guests.
ME: That doesn’t make it better. Given a chance to assume a role in their favorite movie, all of these people chose, of their own free will and volition, to be the boot stomping on a human face forever.
FLAPJACKS: And possibly missing, because they are Stormtroopers.
ME: That’s disturbing. That’s actually more disturbing than Civil War re-enactors who portray Confederates. At least they’re trying to honor their ancestors or something. The Stormtroopers are honoring what exactly? George Lucas’ taste in flannel shirts?
FLAPJACKS: Oh, man, will you look at that knife?
ME: Wow. It has multiple blades sticking out of the hilt.
FLAPJACKS: Exactly. Someone considered the knife and said, “nice, but I think we can make it even more knifey.”
ME: And then they cut themselves when they tried to hold it.
FLAPJACKS: The Soup Nazi is here!
ME: That just rubs me the wrong way. That guy has made a career out of being the Soup Nazi. He shows up at conventions because he was the Soup Nazi. He does other commercials as the Soup Nazi. He makes appearances on TV shows as “the guy who was the Soup Nazi.” He was in one frigging episode of Seinfeld. He didn’t come up with the catchphrase or the idea. And people want his autograph. That makes no fucking sense at all. At least the other people here signing things have actually done more than, say, five minutes of screentime to make themselves famous.
FLAPJACKS: Hey, he gives away autographed ladles!
FLAPJACKS: So you only came to this convention to play board games?
ME: Pretty much. I’ll do some shopping, but I came to play games.
FLAPJACKS: That’s really stupid.
ME: Why? I like board games. And there’s a prize if I win the tournament.
FLAPJACKS: Are you going to win the tournament?
ME: Probably not.
FLAPJACKS: How much is the prize?
ME: Fifty dollars in store credit at the sponsor’s store.
FLAPJACKS: How much did you pay to get in here?
ME: Fifty dollars.
FLAPJACKS: So even if you won, you would be breaking even.
ME: But I get to have fun playing board games.
FLAPJACKS: Don’t you own most of these board games?
ME: …not all of them.
FLAPJACKS: So you could have stayed home and played board games with friends, for nothing, but instead you paid to come here. That’s quality thinking. I think you need to go apologize to the Stormtroopers.