There's something unnerving about a place where people who write or draw really cool, widely loved things are just milling randomly about in a crowd of several thousand cosplayers and variously odoured boys and girls. This struck me as I turned a corner on the main floor and found myself a few steps from Neil Gaiman, who immediately begun speaking to a little girl he called Zoey.
I hung around a little with some vague idea of telling him he kicks ass, but, as he continued talking to Zoey, I walked away as I had begun to feel like a filthy stalker. I went upstairs thinking about how such an encounter first stuns, then depresses me with its fleeting, insubstantial quality. That's really why, I think, I don't have very much interest in waiting in line for autographs.
So I was thinking this, walking along in corridors between the rooms upstairs, when I turned another corner to find four or five people having a conversation with Stan Lee. Or someone I was dead sure was Stan Lee, though I couldn't find his name in the programme. In any case, it was enough to make me start feeling a little faint, so I took myself to the deadest hallway I could find and just stood around for a while.
One of the most extraordinary and wonderful things about the Comic-Con is that, even though there're thousands of people there, there're still plenty of cool, air-conditioned quiet spots. And none of the security people seem to mind if you just set yourself down on the floor, anywhere.
I suppose air-conditioning is important when you insist on wearing as much black leather as some of the people (including Neil Gaiman) insist on wearing. I saw voluminous and heavy leather being put to use in a large assortment of nice costumes; a very perfect Jack Sparrow costume that I saw posing in front of a life size X-Wing with Boba Fett, a very decent Vampire Hunter D costume worn by a young woman, and of course any other shape or configuration of leather you could imagine (okay, maybe not every). There were also a large number of people dressed as members of the Crazy 88s, two Links from Legend of Zelda, and a female Sephiroth.
This time out, the only person who came with me to the Con is my friend Tim. When I met up with him after my persistent, accidental celebrity encounters, we made our way to one of the anime screening rooms and watched a decent episode of Ranma 1/2 from its seventh season (a better episode than many of the ones I remember from the fourth season), and a classic episode of Urusei Yatsura. And then from there we went to the Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean panel devoted to discussion of Mirrormask. Clips were shown and it looks like an incredibly beautiful movie. And Gaiman revealed that the Death and the High Cost of Living movie is now under the jurisdiction of New Line, which provoked an awful lot of applause. And I felt almost inexplicably happy about it, too.
And now I'm debating whether or not it's a good idea to go back to-morrow, with only around forty dollars left . . .