The Comic Book Convention: An Outsider’s View

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First off, I love my husband, Danny. I have to start off by saying that because I know that members of his family read this blog, and I don’t want to come off sounding like I recent the trip I took with him Saturday. This year, after dragging him to multiple chick-type events with my friends, it was my turn to be dragged to one of his events, HeroCon in Charlotte, North Carolina. I can appreciate the comic book as a form of art, but I myself have never been able to “get into” reading them. I’ve tried, but I’m content with hearing my husband’s explanation of storylines and going to see the movies when they come out.

But yesterday was my day to enter his world. He’s been talking it up for weeks. “Oh, you know, Carla’s going with me to HeroCon tomorrow,” is what he said Friday night to our friends as we sat at the bar at TGIFridays. They all looked at me incredulously. I summoned a smile, and they all said, “Yeah, she looks excited.” To which my husband reiterates how he’s had to suffer through two Ludy Bowl events at Columbia College (long story, will have to explain in another post), a Carolina Cup and a ten-year college reunion.

At 9am Saturday morning, after a quick stop at the drive-through at Hardees for biscuits and a gas tank fill-up, we began on our one-and-a-half-hour-which-eventually-turned-into-two-and-a-half-hour drive. Everything was all sunshine and smiles until we got off I-85. You see, Danny, got directions from Google, a perfectly respectable search engine. These directions told us to take exit 33 and turn right on the Billy Graham Parkway, and after 0.2 miles, turn left on Murray Chapel Road. Then we were supposed to go 0.5 miles and turn left on Wilkinson Boulevard. However, after turning right on Billy Graham Parkway, we traveled more than 2 miles and saw no Murray Chapel Road on the left. When we crossed over I-77, we decided to go back, thinking that perhaps we should have turned left off the exit ramp. When we got back to the bridge at I-85, we saw that we were indeed on Murray Chapel Road, so we start looking for Wilkinson Boulevard. The thing is, Murray Chapel Road was only 0.5 miles long, and it ended at a traffic light where we had to turn left or right on a road that was not Wilkinson.

At this point, Danny has lost his patience, which he doesn’t really have a lot of except when it comes to me. Meanwhile, I looked at the directions and saw that we had to get on 277-North. I remembered that ten years ago when I lived in Rock Hill, which is 30 minutes south of Charlotte (another story for another entry), I worked at a day care center in Charlotte. The center sent me to a child care class that happened to be downtown, and I had to take I-77 to 277. I relayed my idea to Danny, who agreed that it was our best shot at the moment, and luckily, it worked (pat on the back for me).

There we were at the Charlotte Convention Center, walking up to the ticket counter, and I spy a young man dressed as one of the Ghostbusters, complete with blinking red lights on his black backpack. I looked at Danny, who says, “Welcome to HeroCon.” But this boy would not be the only one in costume. I saw GI Joe, Klingons, Batman, Supergirl (whom Danny thoroughly enjoyed), Phoenix and Storm Troopers. That afternoon, I saw a man wearing a suit and sunglasses and being led by someone else. He was tapping a cane in front of him, and I thought, “Why is a blind person at a comic convention?” Not to be mean or anything, but how would he get any other enjoyment out of them other than reading the story? Why put out a braille comic book? Do they actually make braille comic books? An hour or so later, I saw him perusing through books, still wearing sunglasses but with his dress shirt unbuttoned to reveal a Daredevil uniform underneath. Yeah, and we even own the freakin’ Daredevil DVD! (For those of you who are even more illiterate about comics than I am, Matt Murdock, aka Dardevil, is blind)

Other observations of the day included a geeky teenager wearing a T-shirt that read “Models Wanted,” (Yeah, that’s gonna happen.) a guy who looked much younger than 21 wearing a Grey Goose vodka shirt, a nonexistent line in the women’s restroom, grown men carting around luggage racks stacked with short boxes of comic books to be signed by their chosen artist/inker/writer, and the fact that I should be considered for sainthood for giving my husband hallway space to hang his original artwork purchase.

While I did admit to Danny that this probably won’t be something I would want to come to every year, I also said that didn’t totally hate the experience (not that I really thought I would). Besides, the only real problems stemmed from the drive to and from Charlotte. Halfway home we ran over the rubber from a tire shed by a boat one lane over and three car-lengths ahead of us. We saw the smoke, and Danny slowed down. We saw the rubber spinning off the tire, and it slid toward the emergency lane then back across the road and right in front of us. We were surrounded by vehicles, so there was no avoiding it. Who else has this kind of luck? The scene was as if the tire just look around and said “Oh, here’s some lovely green grass. No, wait! There’s a silver Buick. I wanna throw myself underneath it!” Danny pulled over and looked under the car, and he did see something dripping. He was afraid it might be water, so we drove the rest of the way home (about 45 miles or so) with the windows down, At 70 mph, however, there’s enough air coming in to keep cool. Luckily, all the gages were ok for the rest of the trip, and when we arrived home, Danny looked under the car to find that nothing was dripping. So what he saw on the interstate was from the air-conditioner running.

Things definitely could have been worse. I mean, it could have been the whole freakin’ boat that came loose and slid in front of us. So I guess my original post title, “Day Trip from Hell,” isn’t the most accurate term, but my poor feet are seriously pissed at me this morning!

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