On Friday, I went down to the convention center to check out Wizard World Los Angeles. It was only my second real trip out of the house -- all by myself, in my big boy pants and everything -- in almost two months, so I was very excited.
It's the first Wizard World I've been to, but I understand from people who've been going for years that this one was very small compared to past conventions. Personally, I thought it was very small compared to just about anything. Seriously, the entire con floor felt smaller than the room they had the Futurama panel in at Comicon last year.
The small size of the thing, however, worked to my advantage. I'm still working my way up to full strength, so I was able to take my time and see all the nerdy stuff I wanted to see without feeling like I was going to miss anything. Or, actually, missing anything at all.
I saw some cool toys, decided that I don't have the "fuck you money" for any of the Transformers I wanted, and was surprisingly restrained in my spending. I bought a few comics and a couple of T-shirts for myself, a T-shirt for Nolan, and was -- finally -- able to support one of my favorite comics in the universe when I met David Malki !, creator of Wondermark, and traded him shiny gold rocks for a book and a T-shirt. He was very humble and gracious, and I hope I didn't slime him too much with my effusive praise. (For those of you keeping score, I just need to meet Jeph Jacques from Questionable Content and Randal Munroe from xkcd to complete the list of awesome people I want to give shiny gold rocks to and slime with effusive praise one day.)
I fell like a name-dropping dick, but I was really happy to finally meet Ariana Osborne and Matt Fraction in person. Warren Ellis introduced me to them last year, and though we've spent lots of time talking on the Internets, I've never been in the same physical place as them until Friday. I spent most of my day at Wizard World getting to know Matt, because it turns out we have a lot in common. Ariana was working with Avatar Press, so she could only break away for a few minutes to have coffee with us, but Matt grabbed a hawesome picture of us both to prove that we were all in the same place at the same time.
The best moment of the entire day for me happened about thirty minutes after I went inside.
I thought that it would be quick and easy to buy my badge at the door, because it was Friday and there wouldn't be that many people there. Apparently, about 300 other people thought the same thing, and we all got to spend about 40 minutes waiting in various queues while a group of Stormtroopers formed a thin white line which separated all of us nerds from certain chaos. After I paid cash for my badge (much shorter line than plastic) I met up with Matt and we headed in.
Matt had an exhibitor badge, and when he attempted to show it to the security guard who was checking badges at the gate, she freaked out at him for not having it in a holder. I waited while Matt went to get a plastic holder, and she freaked out twice as hard at me for holding up her line (I wasn't. We con-going nerds are skilled in the ways of navigating around the guy who has stopped for a few seconds for one reason or another.)
Matt came back with his badge in a plastic holder, which he attached to his clothes to meet the security guard's satisfacton, and we went inside.
About thirty minutes later, we met up with Ariana, and the three of us decided to head off the con floor to grab coffee at a nearby Starbucks. When we were about eight steps past the officious security guard, I reached up for my badge, which I'd pinned to my T-shirt's collar, so I could write my name on it.
It wasn't there.
I looked all around my jacket, checked all of my pockets several times, and had to accept that it had fallen off somewhere inside the con floor. Because I'd paid cash, I had no receipt. Because I hadn't written my name on it, yet, I had no way of proving that I'd lost anything.
I sheepishly revealed all of this to Matt and Ariana while I was whirling around like a dervish, patting my pockets and shaking out my jacket, looking like that guy down the hallway in Jacob's Ladder.
We decided that we would just use The Force on the security lady when it was time to go back in. If she stopped us and didn't accept my explaination about losing my badge, I'd just go buy another one and chalk the expense up to me being stupid.
Although, I have to say: what the fuck is Wizard World thinking giving attendees little plastic sleeves with a safety pin attached to hold their badges? Was the thousand year-old tradition of putting badges on lanyards around your fucking neck just not time-tested enough for them? Maybe next year they'll party like it's 1979 and spring for something a little more durable.
So, we'd sat down and talked for a little bit, we headed back into the con together. We walked in an inverted phalanx, Matt and Ariana flanking me. We walked with purpose. We walked like we had somewhere to be, and didn't have time to waste on the quaint practice of flashing our plastic-sheathed badges.
I don't know how, but we pulled it off. Security Lady even smiled at us as we passed.
Badges? Badges!? We don't need no stinking badges!
I'm glad I went, and I had a really good time. I don't know why it's so much smaller this year than it's been in the past, but we've already lost GenCon SoCal to mismanagement, and I sure hope Wizard World Los Angeles grows in the future and is successful enough to afford lanyards for attendees.