Saturday, February 17, 2007

Geek Heaven

These days, there seems to be a lack of distinction in the definitions of the words "dork," "nerd," "geek" and "freak." When I was younger, a "dork" was a clumsy person, a "nerd" was a bookish person, a "geek" was a nerd with strange or obsessive interests, and a "freak" was a geek with extremely strange, very obsessive, usually offensive interests.

The lines that used to separate those definitions have been blurring over the decades, to the point where the word "dork" is now used as a term of endearment. Today I experienced an event where I was privileged to see the point in the universe where all of these terms became meaningless. I went to MegaCon.

MegaCon is a convention for comic book fans, Japanese animation fans, collectible action figure fans, fantasy film fans and sci-fi film and television fans. In other words, it's a convention for dorks, nerds, geeks and freaks. People wait all year in breathless anticipation of this show, where like-minded people can come together in a celebration of their social misfit status. The only reason I was there was because my wife scored free tickets.

I dropped my wife, my daughter and her friends off at the entrance, then I parked the car. I had to walk a long distance across a pedestrian footbridge to get to the convention hall, and as I did, I found myself following a young man carrying a sword. A sizeable percentage of the attendees show up in costume, dressed as their favorite character or superhero. This particular guy was wearing woven straw sandals that were tied to his feet with coarse twine. Authentic, yes. Uncomfortable and impractical, definitely.

Swords were everywhere. People carried wooden swords, foam swords, plastic swords. There were several vendors selling real swords if you wanted one. There was even an arena set up where people could fight with foam swords. The guy in the kilt is the referee:


There were all kinds of exhibits: Comic-book dealers, DVD vendors, toy and game dealers, costume shops, even a company selling reproductions of famous film and TV robots.




The place was packed, and as I wheeled my wife around in her wheelchair, I realized that the vendors who had paid hundreds of dollars for exhibit space weren't the show. The crowd was the show.







Lines of tables featured comic book artists who would sign their work or execute commissioned drawings. On the other side of the hall was a "celebrity" area, where Noelle Neill (who played Lois Lane in the Superman TV series) and Margot Kidder (who played Lois Lane in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies) were signing autographs along with lots of other minor celebrities and sub-minor celebrities.

There was a crazy energy pervading the exhibit hall, a palpable sense of belonging, as though I had gained entrance to an exclusive country club that only opens its doors once a year. This is where fantasy becomes reality.


burton said...

OK - I loved the people pictures. I loved the first girl. I found her fascinating in a strangely attractive way. I guess that makes me a freak. I really liked the Gamorean (sp?)guard the best. I guess that makes me a geek.

It took me 3 tries to leave this comment - making me a dork. The fact that I check this blog often for updates contributes to my nerd-like qualities.

Kim said...

OK, what's with the guy in the white dress and bad wig with his leg lifted?

Tim Clark said...

Kim, I can only guess that he is dressed as a character from some Anime cartoon or some video game of which I am unaware. Or, he's a transvestite. Either explanation is possible, but the Anime cartoon character is probable.

bruce e-baby said...

hey, doesn't the x-man wolverine look like ...yes..I think it is..

Chris said...

That dude don't look like me. Besides, I was at hanging out with all the cool people at the Star Trek convention. Nyah!!!