Schwag magic is always at work in Comic-Cons. All the free goodies: posters, flyers, buttons, books, DVD’s, and anything you don’t have to pay for. It’s like the all-you-can eat buffet, where things momentarily are cool because you’re not paying much for them. There’s also the story behind them – you got them at Comic-Con. This year, they even issued ridiculously large bags to collect all this stuff – 2 x 3 feet with 2-4 inches of depth. I felt dwarfed by it and I’m pretty close to 6 feet tall. With the humongous bag, it is easy to stuff things in, even when you’re not a fan of the things you grabbed from the promoters. In the photo above, a young man found a creative use for for all the junk he collected over the past few days. Resistance is futile – he will assimilate stuff. He has some duct tape to help complete his mission and his ensemble will no doubt grow exponentially by Sunday. Everyone else is collecting free stuff, but it will all wind up in clutter or e-Bay. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve decided not to go overboard on the schwag. After Comic-Con is over, I’m stuck with all kinds of things I didn’t want to begin with. Then there’s the saying that nothing is truly for free. This was evident with the San Diego Union-Tribune stand near the Gaslamp Quarter/Convention Center Trolley Station. They offered something utterly irresistible: free Peanuts comics-themed umbrellas. I definitely love umbrellas and I find something with Snoopy on it hard to pass up, but the catch was to sign up for a month’s subscription to that newspaper. I didn’t want to get stuck with all those newspapers. It can get to the point where I feel I really have to catch up on reading them. Also, they clutter. But the bottom line is that I’d be subscribing to a really badly done newspaper, and I didn’t want to do that. However, I opted for different kinds of schwag this year. I’ve been fortunate to attend some panels. I wish I could be at several places at once and attend more. I missed the Caprica panel, which I really wanted to see. But I was working in the morning and would get to Con shortly after getting off work, so no big deal. I got to see the Being Human panel and the cast were witty, funny, and even showed some moments of “being human.” I’ll get to see the new episode this Saturday, but seeing them talk about the show was something Comic-Con offered more exclusively. And it was covered in the price of admission. I’ve continued with my tradition of getting pictures of people in costumes. Yesterday, I caught a whole bunch of people in Dr. Who outfits – some really embodied the Doctors and his companions, while some didn’t quite get it right. This year, as pointed out in a New York Times write-up, the costumed participants seem to be less than before. There are still plenty of people dressed as their favorite characters, but not as much or as the past few years. I’ve had to be more alert and ready to get some pictures. With some people, there is no shortage of creativity, showing of skin, or both. Also, some, like the guy who made his costume from all the schwag, were creative on a shoe string budget. Most creative way to come into Comic-Con nekkid. Legally, she’s covered in all the right places. And a scantily clothed woman upstages a moody rock star-like man any day.
Then I encountered the guy who lost his shirt on schwag. This is what can happen when you blow all your money. He said he would dance for schwag. Gotta love that he actually found use for the ginormous bag. For the past few years, there were the “free hugs” people. One guy took it one step further and offered “free sex.” These bikini-clad Princess Leias were everywhere. They all seemed to work for Gentle Giant LTD, but enough of them were set loose on Comic-Con. I came across them posing with some weird “cute” creature. Something is very wrong with this juxtapostion. As for male skin, there have been a group of half-naked warrior men wandering Con yesterday and today, but I haven’t been able to stop them for a good photo. Perhaps on Saturday I might be lucky. Boba Fett and Darth Vader pimping it. So wrong it works. Who says you really need to go all out on your costume? Is it really necessary to spend all that time getting yardage and materials, sewing, wigs, prosthetics, and try to look as realistic as possible? What does this mean for guys who can’t afford to be unpaid character impersonators. With construction paper, paper plates, Coke boxes, and plastic buckets, all this is needed is some imagination and earnestness. They sell it for sure. Fortunately, I have less clutter. Though my day is definitely cluttered tomorrow. But the umbrella would have been nice.