Fanfare fun

Oct 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm

This past weekend, the Detroit Fanfare Comic Con took over the Adoba Hotel in Dearborn. Sunday was kids day, which meant that my wife could have a relaxing day by herself while I dressed my two-year-old up as Mike the Knight and took him for a father/son day of geeky joy.

Kudos to the Fanfare people too, for organizing an event that was simultaneously thrilling for toddlers and adults. Upon entering, my kid had a free Sesame Street comic book and candy thrust into his face. Elmo and chocolate – his little face lit up and didn’t darken until I forced him into the car when we eventually left.

He got to meet a mermaid, high-five a storm trooper and see more Batmen and Supermen than his little mind could take in. He was given a ton of trick or treat candy (relative to his size, it seemed like a ton), and I bought him some cheap toys. My boy had a blast. But only had as much fun as me.

Comic book conventions are awesome. They celebrate all that is both awesome and tragic about humanity. Nobody can deny the passion that is on display; these people adore the writing, the art, the costume and everything else about sci-fi, fantasy and capes. The effort that goes in is impressive. On the flip-side, the obsession can get a little over-bearing, particularly when it comes to small details about a dusty episode of a fictional TV show. But that’s ok. It comes with the territory.

The Knightrider KIT car was parked outside, purring away with that red light moving side-to-side. There was even a Hasselhoff mask in the window. I have to be honest – I did get a buzz from that. One dude in a Batman costume had wings that spread right out. Very cool, although it looked like he was taking a dump every time he pulled the lever.

I also discovered the existence of a British comic book character called Brittania. Love it. John Dimaggio, the voice of Bender on Futurama, looked incredibly bored as people asked him to say lines from the show, while actor Dan Fogler looked like he was playing games on his phone.

The whole thing was so much fun though. You need to have a sense of humor about the sheer level of ludicrousness on display, but you can’t help but enjoy it. Just stand for a moment and soak it in. Because these things don’t come along very often, and on Monday everybody’s back in their regular-life clothes.

I took in an excellent, though poorly attended, panel called “Writing Horror: Build Your Wings on the Way Down,” with writers Mort Castle and Jay Bonansinga. Castle (who has an excellent name for a horror writer) wrote Horror Writing: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association as well as countless novels and short stories. Bonansinga writes The Walking Dead novels. Between the two, they covered some fascinating discussion points like “how to deal with writer’s block” and “writer with third-person limited narration.” OK, not fore everyone but as a writer, I was enthralled. Meanwhile, my kid ate candy and read comics.

Roll on next year.