Devourer of Words 047: Time Enough at Last

Toucan reading a comic
Marc Bernardin

Whether we are ready or not, Comic Con International is upon us. Not that it’s a sneaky stretch on the calendar—we all know the third week of July is coming, and what that means—but a month out is as good a time as any to start planning.

I’m not talking about planning what to see and when; without the actual daily schedule from the CCI organizers, it’s too early to start building your hour-by-hour to do list. No, I mean some larger ideas about the convention you want to have.

We’ve talked before about choosing for yourself the kind of con experience you want. Do you want it to be a panel-riffic endeavor, plotting and scheming how to squeeze in as many Hall H and Ballroom 20 visits, hitting everything possible in between? Will it be a social con, where it’s all about reconnecting with old friends and welcoming new members into the tribe?

Looking to fill out that sketchbook from comic pros in Artist Alley and those signing at publisher booths? Wanna buy classic books, original art, memorabilia? Prefer to play a card game or an RPG with some friends in one of the Games rooms?

Have you been spending all year constructing the perfect costume to hit the Masquerade? Pre-registration as a contestant is closed, but you can still go see the show, if you have a badge good for Saturday.

Any of those convention experiences are open to you, as well as a dozen others, should you choose them. I do, however, believe that you can’t do all of them. You will have to make some choices that, like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, will wall off other options.

Whatever you choose, I would ask you to factor in something, something which, the older I get, comes to mind more often than it used to: It is entirely possible that for some convention special guests, this con will be their last con. Not to be the Grim Reaper, but on the heels of losing Adam West and Stephen Furst just this past week, it will behoove all of us to remember that SDCC brings us access to icons we might never ordinarily have access to. And too many of us—myself definitely included— take that for granted.

I could’ve gotten Adam West’s autograph a dozen times over the years and never did, thinking to myself “I’ll hit him next time.” Now, there won’t be a next time. And there are dozens of pop culture legends like that, stalking the corridors of the San Diego Convention Center every year. Comics artists who wrote or drew your favorites runs, actors who were fixtures in your living room while you were growing up, writers and directors who set the tempo and tenor of your storytelling sensibilities … you could say hello, thank them for what they mean to you. You should.

We are running out of legends at a faster pace than we are creating new ones. Whatever else you do in San Diego this July, make some time to pay homage.

You’ll kick yourself if you don’t.

Devourer of Words by Marc Bernardin appears the third Tuesday of every month here on Toucan. (Except next month, when we’re taking some time off.)

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