Hail to the King, Baby – The Ashman Cometh

Hey, Fuck You! – Episode 1: “You Know You Want It, Look How You’re Dressed”

It was Winston Churchill who wisely noted, “San Diego Comic-Con is the worst of the comic book conventions, except for all those others that have been tried.”

Of course, that was 1947 and a lot of things have changed since then. For example, SyFy was called Sci-Fi back when Churchill was Prime Minister, and before that SFC and before that the Sci-Fi Channel. Marketing departments hadn’t been invented yet, so you’ll have to forgive the quaint way in which they made their identity clear.

I’m pretty sure I’m thinking about what the Sci-Fi Channel calls itself lately because I watched “Mansquito” off the TiVo again, and damn if Mansquito isn’t the best name ever. I’m thinking about Winston Churchill because I had a baby two weeks ago, and damn if little Mansquito doesn’t look exactly like him. And I’m thinking about San Diego Comic-Con because damn if it didn’t happen more or less without me for the first time in almost a decade.

Okay, so it’s time for a confession: I’m not really an industry professional. Industry professionals are too cool for Comic-Con. I know this because I talk to them all the time, sometimes even in the Green Room at the San Diego Convention Center. They say things like “I’m too cool for Comic-Con”, which is what people in the biz call subtext. What they really mean is “where is the bar?” So when they tell me they’re too cool for Comic-Con, I direct them to the Marriott next door.

I suspect I am not a fan either, because fans are also too cool for Comic-Con. I know this because I hear them say things like “Comic-Con isn’t cool”, which is subtext for “where is Hall H?”

I guess what I’m really trying to say is every summer, several hundred thousand people who hate Comic-Con congregate in San Diego, California for Comic-Con. They brave the heat, the smell, the lines and the chaos and they hate it. Hate, hate, hate. They are hot, smelly, anarchic haters.

Okay. Well there’s something all the haters need to hear. And by “the” I mean “you”, dear reader. You need to hear this from me, because I say it with love and I say it for your own good: Fuck you. Fuck you in your stupid ass.

I will forgive you if you’re wondering when I’m going to reveal the subtext, but there is no subtext to be revealed. This is all very on-the-nose. I’m calling you out.

You, the Industry Professional in Bruno Maglis with the martini in your hand, three panels to attend and a hooker waiting in your hotel room… You, the guy in the Green Lantern t-shirt with the SDCC exclusive Hellboy action figure, ogling the Playboy bunnies and booth babes… You, the girl dressed up like Bella from “Twilight” or some fucking thing, sleeping outside Hall H for two nights because you might get a chance to squint back at Robert Pattinson… All of you. You’re all full of shit.

You love this. You want this. Look how you’re dressed.

You’re making a fashion statement devoid of subtext: “I am spending upwards of a thousand dollars and three to four days of my life here (not counting preview night) because it’s fucking awesome.” And it is. Where else can you possibly bang a hooker, buy an exclusive action figure, meet a Playboy bunny who will not laugh at your Green Lantern t-shirt and squint at Robert Pattinson all in the space of 24 hours? Nowhere. You know it. It’s why you’re here.

Hey, I’m not judging. I’m just saying, look how you’re dressed.


I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been attending conventions for the better part of my life. I’ve been you. I’ve been all of you. Make a list of all the possible “That Guys” you can encounter at a con, and I’ve been That Guy. Okay, so maybe I never secretly hoped some dude from Twilight would sign my tits, but Shatner is close enough.

The point is, I missed it. I missed the lines, and the crowds and the smells. I missed the guests, and the stars and the panels. I missed the extra-super-secret surprise footage of Derek Jarman’s upcoming “Swamp Thing” remake. I missed friends and fans and drinks and babes. I missed it all. And by “missed” I do not mean that I was not present, although I wasn’t (except in the virtual sense). I mean I missed it. In the sense you miss an old friend who’s come into town.

Baby Mansquito is sitting next to me as I type this. We’re watching “Big Trouble in Little China” together, and thrilling to all those Chinese hells in 1080p. Someday, I will show him the custom-made Dragon of The Black Pool jacket I ordered from the Wing Kong Exchange. Someday, I will show him the Jack Burton action figure I found on the SDCC trade floor. Someday, he will understand these things and why they are important.

This will not be next year, or the year after next. Oh, we’re going to Comic-Con together, and with him I will plunge back into the unrelenting fabulousness of it all. We will do this every year on his birthday, and I will probably dress him up because I plan to be one of those dads and complete my “That Guy” checklist. I will never miss Comic-Con again. But he will not understand my love of Jack Burton until he has a Jack Burton of his own to love.

When that happens, I won’t take him to Comic-Con anymore. He’ll take me. And he’ll love it – I know he will. I mean… look how he’s dressed.


Ashley Edward Miller is a mildly insane, delightfully crude writer who has worked in the realms of such science fiction features as Twilight Zone, Andromeda, and Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles. Next he will be working on the upcoming second season of Fringe. You can enjoy more geek depravity in his weekly guest column here, or the constant barrage of awesomeness that is his Twitter feed.

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