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Posts Tagged ‘DC comics’

With the onset of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is no longer quite so embarrassing to admit that one was reading comic books all through one’s youth and beyond.* I quit about 20 (!) years ago now, but I still follow the genre (and watch the movies). So it’s not surprising that my mind still goes down those roads on occasion (okay, all the time). And that has lead to the following question:

In that world, with superpowers, mutants, AIs, self-contained battle suits, aliens, time travel, superweapons,  and everything, how does anyone write science fiction? SF consists of stories that extrapolate from known science, or at least scientific theory. But if you know that mutants and superweapons and aliens exist because you can see them fly by your window, what is there to extrapolate? By definition, everything you’re writing is simply “fiction.”**

Does that mean that writers like me would be in Fiction & Literature at your local Barnes & Noble? Would there be a reason for a SFWA to exist–and would I not have to regret the fact that I’m not at Nebula weekend right now?

And what about the liability issues? What if some hulking green guy comes up to you and says you’re defaming him in your latest story–which just happens to have a large, green character? What if he claims you’re appropriating his image? And if you write a story about the Skrulls invading the Earth, will the real Skrulls take umbrage and actually invade the Earth out of pique?

Even if you started with the concept that none of the above existed, and then created an SF story, would anyone read it? Science fiction isn’t supposed to be about a world more boring than your own. The only choice left would be alternate history, and that field would get crowded fast.

What would happen, I think, is that all those writers would migrate to another genre, like romance, or mystery. Mystery would be a fertile field in that world, with questions like: What’s with those capes, anyway? How do those young sidekicks explain all those bruises without social services investigating? And why are there so many super-powered people in the world, anyway? How did they get that way?

Oh, wait, that veers into science fiction. And then we start all over again.

*The same thing happened to science fiction with Star Wars, and fantasy with Lord of the Rings.

**Fantasy writers would have the same problem.

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I hadn’t planned to go to Wondercon today, but events fell out such that I was going to be in the area, and I could get the time off, so we went. When we last visited, three or so years ago, Wondercon was Comic-con’s little brother, colorful but far less intimidating, and far easier to navigate. What a difference three years can make.

Apparently a lot of people have decided that Wondercon might be less stressful, because now they all want to go there. We arrived at the Anaheim convention center area at noon. We actually had our badges before two. Not much before, but still. Yeah, it took two hours to park, shuttle from our parking, and get our badges. And this was with pre-registration. Admittedly, there were times when that was the only fact that kept me in the building (since we’d already paid up).

Finally, though, we got through, and from then on it was everything we hoped for–and less. “Less” as in fewer people, and no more lines (although we had written off trying to see any panels, which might have changed the dynamic). We spent our time in the dealer’s room, a well-stocked and diversified marketplace largely devoted to comic book shops, but also featuring books, clothing, jewelry, and a seller of custom furniture designed specifically for gamers(!). And of course there was the people-watching.

Odd as it may be for a writer, people-watching is not my favorite pastime. But today–cosplay has come a long way in the past several years. I saw some very good character impersonations today, most notably Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn.* Many of the most ambitious costumes were apparently manga and anime characters, with which I am not familiar, but they were impressive.

One of the most pleasant (and disappointing) aspects was inspecting the used comic book vendors’ wares and pointing to various items: “I’ve got that,” was good; “I used to have that, and now it’s worth–oh, don’t tell me!” was not so good. There was more of the latter than the former. Who knew they were going to start making X-Men movies when we were kids?

Perhaps the high point was seeing Nichelle Nicholls greeting fans, and at the moment we walked by, she was being approached by two small girls (maybe ten years old) wearing classic Star Trek uniforms. The looks on their faces as they met this iconic woman were priceless. I doubt they will ever forget what they did today.

I won’t forget it soon, either, because by the end of the day I could hardly walk. That’s one big exhibit hall! Will I go again? Probably, but I want to be a guest next time and avoid the lines. Or become a superhero and fly over them…

 

*I know what you’re thinking, and get your mind out of the gutter. I can’t help it if women make better cosplayers. There were a couple of remarkably good Jack Sparrows, too.

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