Day One: Batman bathrobes and Hawkeye ear rings
The first Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con opened Friday afternoon. It was a three-day affair and I wasn’t sure about going the first day. The event started at 3 p.m. and I wouldn’t be able to get there until 6 p.m. or so.
And the schedule for Day 1 wasn’t terribly interesting for me — a panel on Doctor Who (which I don’t watch), one on steampunk (I’m not sure what that is), and something called “Turkish Rip-offs and Foreign Remakes.”
Still, the lure was great and I figured maybe I should scout the joint out before the big day on Saturday. Comic Con was taking place in the America’s Center convention hall downtown. I’m not big on downtown St. Louis. All the streets are one way going the wrong way, streets are often torn up, one wrong turn and you’re somewhere you don’t want to be.
The Wife works downtown and gave me what seemed like simple directions (exit on Cole Street, left on 10th, left on Olive and then into her parking garage where I could use her key card and avoid paying for parking). The garage is about a block from the convention center.
I head down Interstate 70. I see the convention center. I see a sign “Convention Center Exit.” I see no sign for Cole Street. I’m about to leave Missouri. I do not want to leave Missouri. I do not want to end up in East St. Louis, Illinois, at night. I get off on Pine Street, as I vaguely recall that’s near The Wife’s office. I get her on the phone and she guides me to the garage.
I had never been in America’s Center before. Nice. I go to the desk for media and get my 3-day press pass. The nice thing about the press pass is you don’t have to deal with lines. The bad thing is you don’t get the free swag that paid attendees get. (The big one was a limited-edition Walking Dead comic. I didn’t really want it, but a lot of the vendors were trading stuff to get one, so I wouldn’t have minded having one if I could get something good with it.) Such are the pay-offs of life.
I go into the main hall and drink it all in. T-shirts stacked to the ceiling; long boxes of comics as far as the eye could see. Posters and toys and statues and trading cards — Captain America’s motorcycle! Comic Con is like going to a big craft fair, only instead of quilts and stuffed bears and candles and junk, they sell things you really want to buy.
I hadn’t been there long when I decided to check out the one panel that seemed interesting for the day — “Comic Art 101” by a quartet of comic artists. It was interesting but the lure of the main hall kept calling to me. When they started talking about who likes cats, I left.
Back at the main hall I wandered through the merchandise booths and past the artists alley and over to the celebrity corner where I caught a glimpse of Lou Ferrigno, James Hong and John Shea. Then it was back to the goodies.
So many T-shirts. How many comic book T-shirts should one man own? I only have three pairs of shoes, so surely I can make up the difference in T-shirts, right? Next to the T-shirt skyscraper was a collection of bathrobes. Polar Fleece bathrobes. Those are the warmest kind you can get, as they are made from the skin of polar bear and sheep hybrids. They had a really nice Batman one. I really wanted it, until that nagging thing in my head reminded me that I don’t wear bathrobes. I have two at home that I never wear. Why do I need a third? Stupid nagging thing in my head.
Then I stopped by a jewelry booth that had a whole section devoted to Hawkeye (He’s quite popular with the ladies these days). Hawkeye charms, pendants, ear rings. I don’t wear ear rings nor do I have a charm bracelet, so I left them there hanging. I found a couple of Hawkeye statues, but I don’t really need any more Hawkeye statues. Stupid nagging thing in my head.
The evening ended with a Drink and Draw event at the Flamingo Bowl. I don’t know what a Drink and Draw is, nor did I want to drive around looking for the Flamingo Bowl, so I headed home, where I once again almost got lost as there was no sign at the Cole Street/11th Street intersection to tell me I was at Cole Street. I had to call The Wife again. She’s better than GPS.