It’s 1 a.m. on Saturday and the hotel lobby is full of people.
Correction: The hotel lobby is full of characters.
Aliens and monsters, heroes and zombies. Everyone is in costume as a character from TV, film, comic books and video games. It’s like an emergency meeting of the Justice League… if Mario, the Predator, Darth Vader and Pikachu were members.
Even the lobby music is not the usual ambient stuff – they’re playing the theme from Star Wars.
Welcome to Phoenix Comicom 2011…
Outside the Phoenix Hyatt, a couple of pointy-eared Vulcans are having a smoke. And parked nearby is a blue motorcycle with a futuristic siren and the letters T.A.R.D. stenciled on the side (it’s actually T.A.R.D.I.S., I realize later). “From Dr. Who,” Keith tells me. “Who?” I ask. “Exactly,” he says.
Everyone is constantly posing for pictures. There’s a Jedi mugging with a Spartan. A Ghostbuster giving a thumbs-up to the Joker. I’m reminded of a family reunion – as if all of the pop culture characters from page and screen decide to get together once a year to take family photos.
A few Tweets after dinner confirm that we did indeed just see Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer shuffle by in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms, scratching his ass just as plain as you please. And is that Wil Wheaton?
By day three, none of this seems weird to me anymore. The word “weird” isn’t even in the lexicon at this point. For the few days of Comicon, you come to accept a new normal, where zombies walk the streets, where heroes and villains exist and where you can get your picture taken with Walter Peck from Ghostbusters for ten bucks a snap. And you accept all of this gladly.