Tales from Comic-Con, Day 2 (Friday: Part 1): My Own Personal 8 Mile

I found parking at the Fenton Parkway trolley station and got to Comic-Con at least a half hour earlier than Thursday. As I was walking there, a man with a box of cards handed one to me. It said Top Shelf 2.0, about a new webcomics project. He asked me if I’ve heard of them and I said no. He then explained that Top Shelf is the company featuring Alan Moore as well as other well known graphic novels such as Craig Thompson’s Blankets. I felt stupid because I was thinking webcomics when he asked. Of course I knew about Top Shelf! We kept walking and talking towards the convention center. At one point, a middle-aged man with gray hair and glasses wearing a red shirt under an open flannel walked up and said hi to my companion. They chatted business for a few seconds while I stood by. When they were done, the man continued walking past us. I knew something was strange so I asked if I should know that man. He replied “It’s Scott McCloud.”

Cartoon Scott McCloud
{The man I saw kinda looked like this. (From scottmccloud.com)}

My face went =O. Scott McCloud is pretty famous for his books about comics theory: Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics, and Making Comics. He also invented the 24-hour comic. It’s kind of a big deal to see him, much less walking down the street like anyone else. Well, I’ll know what he looks like in real life for next time.

While the morning had its thrills, I was very excited about the afternoon: Thursday had a Smash Bros. tournament and Friday it was time for Rock Band to take the stage (though there wasn’t actually a stage). The tournament was set up as score duels between two bands at a time. Each duo of bands picked a song to play and then they played the other group’s pick. The score is added and highest wins. Pretty slick way of doing it I think.

Battle of the bands.
{Dueling bands at the Rock Band tournament.}

The clustery Smash Bros. tournament the day before had me worried, but the Rock Band one was well organized. I joined a trio looking for a bass player or vocalist but they booted me at the last minute. I was pissed I didn’t have a band because I really wanted to sing. Luckily one of the bands couldn’t find their fourth when they were called up and I hopped in to offer my services. It was me, pushing 30, with a bunch of 8th and 9th graders. By the time we worked out the band issues the competing band had already picked their song: Buddy Holly. I have a mental list of songs I’m uncommonly good at and I scanned the playlist for one: Celebrity Skin was my choice. No one likes Celebrity Skin, except for Anna and I. We played our hearts out but they beat us completely. Special mention goes out to my competing vocalist, a stocky guy in an orange shirt. He really worked the crowd from his giant yells for overdrive to his clapping and waving to other songs. His band won the tournament, with the prize being a copy of Rock Band 2.

Considering that two months ago I didn’t know I had the capacity to even learn singing, doing vocals in front of a crowd at Comic-Con was huge to me. And it was only 2PM.

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