San Diego Comic-Con has exploded in the last few years, but remains at its core the last true safe haven for nerds and geeks to commune in their natural habitat without fear of persecution from judgmental outsiders.
In fact, those outsiders now flock to this five-day gathering, some even daring to leave the safety of their safari vehicles to take a closer look at the beautiful Nerd in its native environment.
They're late to the party. This marks my 14th straight Comic-Con (that's me on the left, dressed as Spider-Man, riding Robot Chickenwriter Hugh Sterbakov back in 2002), and it's always like coming home again.
Over the years, the craziest thing I've experienced has been my transition from attendee to professional. My friends and I used to wait in long lines to sit in a huge room full of equally stoked fans just to catch a fleeting glimpse of the next big flick, or hear Eastman and Laird explain how the Ninja Turtles aren't selling out by saying "cowabunga." Now I'm a part of those panels, explaining to a room of our supportive fans how we're the same as them and we're making stuff we love.
The best part of Comic-Con is that it presents an opportunity to hang out with like-minded passionate and articulate people. The local bars are full of writers and artists, pros and hopefuls, discussing craft and spitballing new, amazing ideas. We'll get into debates over which movie sucked the hardest (that'd be Catwoman), or who delivered the most iconic performance (Heath as the Joker currently leads that pack). It's weird watching studio types and agents in suits at the con — the only guys in suits on the show floor used to be Men In Black fans — but I don't begrudge anyone the opportunity to witness this spectacle.
Me? I keep coming back every year because I love it, and I'm happy we — Geek Nation — are dragging so many others into our domain. Spider-Man met Barack Obama…what a wonderful world we live in.