Convention trek little too much for me

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, August 1, 2010

Thousands of fans last weekend invaded San Diego for Comic ConInternational, annually the largest gathering of enthusiasts ofcomic books, movies and other interests from the fantasy realm. Iwas not among them.

The event featured panel discussions with actors and othersinvolved with upcoming popular movies, exclusive toys and othermemorabilia items and many fans dressed in all kinds of regalia todemonstrate their love of all things fantasy. I read some newsreports of people camping out overnight in order to be present whenpreviews of the new “Green Lantern” and “Harry Potter” movies wereshown.

While I would not have minded seeing the trailers for andhearing the actors discuss the new “Thor,” “Captain America” and”Avengers” movie projects, I wasn’t traveling hundreds of miles todo so and neither was I going to be camping out. I haven’t donethat for anything, although I have been to a midnight premiere ortwo of a movie I really wanted to see.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I can count on one hand the number of “cons” I’ve been to. A fewhave been memorable, for different reasons.

On the way to my first “Star Trek” convention as a teenager, Iwas pulled over for speeding by a Clinton police officer onInterstate 20. Apparently since I was only traveling around Warp 1,he let me off with a warning.

Once there, and thinking I knew something about “Star Trek,” Isat in on a little trivia contest. Let’s just say it didn’t gowell; I think I got one answer right.

Several years later, shortly after coming to work for thenewspaper, I had a chance to cover a Trek-O-Rama in Jackson.

At the con, I met and interviewed Mark Lenard, who playedSpock’s father Sarek in the “Trek” series. I’ll never forget hisresponse when I asked a typical reporter question about hisage.

“Actors don’t have ages. We have ranges,” he said, referring tothe kinds of roles they can reasonably play and not appear too oldor too young.

As an amateur actor myself, I think I’ve been testing the upperlimits of my range with the last couple of roles I’d had on stageat Brookhaven Little Theatre.

I played a grandfather in “You Can’t Take It With You,” UncleHenry in “Wizard of Oz,” and a father with a balky knee in “DearlyBeloved.” I hope I was at least somewhat convincing in all ofthem.

Cons in bigger cities like San Diego, Chicago and Philadelphiadraw huge crowds each year, but smaller fantasy-oriented cons likethose in New Orleans and Jackson appear to be growing inreputation. I’ve thought about going to the ones closer by, but Ihaven’t made the time.

As for the larger cons with the memorabilia that can only bepurchased there, one reason I haven’t seriously thought aboutattending is I don’t have the patience to stand in the long linesto get in. Thanks to someone else’s entrepreneurial spirit, alittle patience and a good bid on eBay will get me anything I justhave to have.

Another reason I’ve tended to avoid cons is that, invariably, Iencounter someone who’s just a little, shall we say, tooenthusiastic about their interests. And that brings me to thefashion segment of my con column.

Guys, if you look like a solar object after putting on yourhomemade version of Capt. Kirk’s gold tunic from the original “StarTrek,” you can’t wear it. And please, no more raiding the kitchenof pots, pans and aluminum foil so you can come as a Borg, aspecies of biomechanical beings featured in the later “Trek”series.

Like gatherings for fans of various other hobbies, conventionsare a good way for people to discuss and share their interests. Butas far as actually going to the cons, I’m still not much of apro.

That’s all for now.

Write to Matt Coleman at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602, orsend e-mail to