Saturday, July 2, 2011

Did you just call it the Con?

Dude--I went to the Con.  The Comic-Con that is.

Comic-Con Paris: L'évènement Geek de l'année.
For the record, I went because my sisters insisted--Nicole outright threatened to disown me if I didn't go.  Off the record--ok, it's the Comic-Con, it's in Paris, there were still tickets . . . . why not?  I've been overdosing on high art since I got here, so why not some art of a different color?  Had there been a 19th-century Comic-Con, I am certain Gustave Courbet would have been there, and he would have been dressed as a Jedi.  Now I am wishing this was the case, so that way we could have the self-portrait "Courbet as Jedi" hanging at the d'Orsay (would that I had the PhotoShop skills...).

I don't often take the Metro, so when I do, I double and triple check to make sure that I am hopping on the train heading in the right direction.  This morning, there was no need, as I was sure that the train at the platform populated by people brandishing swords, shields, wigs, and mushroom hats was going my way.  After a near-getting-crushed-and/or-trampled incident, I ended up standing in the packed train next to a furtive, antsy little dude who jumped up from his seat at every stop, as if he was about to get off.  As I hovered vulture-like over his seat, I grew to hate him with an unrelenting, unmitigated fury.  He got off at the Con.  Dude--when the train empties and all the guys wielding katanas get off--you know it's your stop.  Chill.
One of many queues.
There is a lot of waiting in lines at the Con.  People wait to buy tickets, they wait to get into the building, they wait again to get further into the building, they wait to for the chance to find out if they can wait again to get autographs, they wait for food, for the bathrooms, to play games, to take pictures, etc. etc. etc.  As I was waiting to find out that I would not be able to wait again for some autographs (le sigh),  I passed the time by checking out what constitutes much of the enjoyment of the Con--the attendees themselves who take the idea of "dressing for the occasion" to spectacular levels.  I felt a bit out of place, actually, as I came to Paris unprepared to dress for the Con.  I should have, at least, put on some cat ears.  As it turns out, girls can wear cat ears with anything and it constitutes dressing up.  I am now convinced that one should always travel with cat ears lest you unsuspectingly have a Con to attend.  Do I have my passport?  Check.  Contact lenses?  Check.  Cat ears?  Check.  Allons-y!

Reno!!  From FF7!!!!!!!
Nicole pointed out that the Con represented the perfect situation to dress as Quistis Trepe.  I must admit I was a bit disappointed to let the opportunity pass me by, as I bear more than a passing resemblance to the Final Fantasy VIII character.  Quistis is the perfect choice, because not only is she my digital doppelganger (digiganger? no? ok.), but she also represents my only plausible connection to the world of the Con--Final Fantasy.  I sufficiently geeked out at the Square Enix booth, and was (almost) tempted to leave my queue so I could grab a picture of the guy on the right.  That's all the cred I got.

Square Enix was technically not located at the Con, but rather at the Japan Expo.  While Comic-Con Paris is only in its third year, the Japan Expo has a longer history--reflecting, it seems, a more entrenched French affection for manga and anime.  Wandering seamlessly between the two areas meant that I could barely differentiate from the two.   Brighter colors and absolutely no elbow room signified the Japan Expo, whereas slightly more elbow room and a preponderance of Jedi meant you were back at the Con.   I was always happy to see the Jedi--my lack of current pop culture means that I was most excited for the old favorites.
Of course there is still sculpture in this post.
The Legend of Zelda, for example, turns 25 this year (!), so the Con had a great little exhibit celebrating every incarnation of Zelda in the past quarter-century.  There is, of course, no better way to celebrate your twenty-fifth birthday than by having an equestrian sculpture made of yourself.

The main draw for the Con though, and why my family insisted on my attendance, was actually not the old favorites, but rather Merlin. We've all fallen in love with the show, so it was expected that I should check out the Merlin stars appearing at the Con, snap some blurry pictures, ideally steal an article of clothing, and report back.  Without further ado, I give you:

Morgan James as Merlin.  Very adorable and very shy.  In real life, his ears are almost close to normal size.

Katie McGrath as Morgana.  Beautiful, bubbly, and can rock a ponytail like nobody's business.

Bradley James as Arthur.  Yes--just as hot in real life.  And you can cut silk scarves on his cheekbones.

My favorite quote came courtesy of Bradley James, in discussing his character's growth in Season 3:  "Merlin's magic, Morgana's evilness.  Arthur's oblivious to all of it.  Makes life much easier."  During the panel, Morgana was chatty, vivacious and charming while Merlin, hidden under a baseball cap, was shy and reticent--preferring to speak little and let his co-stars field most of the questions.  Arthur has perfected the stern, serious stare--often peering out into the audience as if he is focusing on maintaining the appropriate level of chisel for the jaw. 

I am the once and future king.
At one point, Arthur looked out into the audience and noticed a girl wearing, I kid you not, cat ears.  "I like the ears," he says, "very nice."  Frak me.  I knew I should have packed the cat ears.

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