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On Comic-Con, Transformations, and Ludacris

Outside the convention hall during Comic-Con, 2008.
Angela Carone
Outside the convention hall during Comic-Con, 2008.

In these few days of calm before the storm that is Comic-Con, the world's largest popular arts convention held here in San Diego, I'm thinking of transformations and Ludacris.

I lived in Atlanta, GA for many years and during the early part of my tenure there, a weekend event called Freaknik took place downtown. It was a convention/party/job fair for the African-American college crowd, with Atlanta being ideal because of its hub of historic black colleges like Morehouse and Spelman. Freaknik had it's own controversies and politicians were never warm and fuzzy about it, but I used to love the way it energized the city. Sure, traffic was a pain and there were problems (some major) commensurate with an unstructured gathering of its size. But the majority of it was fun and a unique shot of adrenaline directly into the pulse of the city. The fine Southern scribe Ludacris once wrote a song called Welcome to Atlanta and in the remix version, Jermaine Dupri rhymes, "I don't know 'bout you but I miss the Freaknik, 'cuz that's when my city used to be real sick."

Well, this turn of phrase works for San Diego during Comic-Con, 'cuz that's when our city gets real sick (my tongue is sort of in cheek here, and sort of not…plus, it's not everyday I can work a Jermaine Dupri lyric into a post and make a tenuous connection - seizing the day). Instead of street cred, we have geek cred. The button down shirts and pleated khaki-pant-wearing conventioneers of our downtown routine are replaced by t-shirts and converse, along with costumed superheroes, and legions of storm troopers. The hub of America's "finest city" is transformed into a fantasy world where Battlestar Galactica, Batman, and vampires are the cultural currency.


Over the years, Comic-Con attendees have been easy targets for eye rolling and jokes, but you have to admit, the city gets a MAJOR kick in the pants from Comic-Con. Personally, I love seeing a Klingon, Wonder Woman or Iron Man walking down Fifth Ave. with bag full of swag and a latte. It makes me feel like I'm on a little vacation from life.

I'll be covering the Con this weekend so check back for updates and follow me on Twitter! There will be lots of pics as well as updates on Dexter, True Blood, Weeds, steampunkers, and artists like Isabel Samaras.