San Diego Comic Con … and … Muzzle Discipline


I don’t do con roundups.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I *did* do con roundups, but then I real­ized that I pretty much livetweet cons anyway and there’s not a whole lot of new infor­ma­tion in a blog post roundup.

But this was San Diego f$#king Comic Con.

SDCC is a vortex of all things nerd. The biggest con of its kind, it attracts pros from TV, film, comics and prose pub­lishing, as well as legions of fans from all over the world. I grew up in fandom hearing about SDCC, never being able to jus­tify the expense of going, but always imag­ining I could see the glow all the way from the East Coast each July.

On the “Locked and Loaded” panel next to Taylor Anderson

So now, after all these years, I finally get to go, and as a pro.

This past year and a half has been one of checking off bucket list items. Speaking at San Diego Comic Con ranks up there some­where between “Tea with the Queen of Eng­land” and “Defeating Storm Shadow in Unarmed Combat to Win the Heart of Felicia Day.”

I checked off that box as part of the “Locked and Loaded” mil­i­tary spec­u­la­tive fic­tion panel, along with heavy hit­ters like Taylor Anderson, Jack Camp­bell and Harry Tur­tle­dove. The panel went well, to include rec­og­nizing the Navy’s Cap­tain Russel Schilling (from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — DARPA) in the audi­ence. When you’re a writer, you groove on who you’re reaching, and knowing that the mil­i­tary writ large is lis­tening was an enor­mous inspi­ra­tion. DARPA’s whole job is to look at the wack­iest crap out there and make sure the country is ready for it, so I know Cap­tain Schilling appre­ci­ated my preparing him for the even­tual reawak­ening of magic into the universe.

SDCC is known for all the famous film/TV types in atten­dance, and while I wasn’t invited to the Enter­tain­ment Weekly party, I did get to hang out and chat with Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz. They’ve written some movies. Per­haps you’ve heard of them. One is called Thor. Another one is called X-Men: First Class.

When I first started out seri­ously writing, I was also heavily into gaming, and began to follow a fairly new web comic called Penny Arcade. Back then, the writer/artist duo of Tycho and Gabe hadn’t hit the big time yet, and I remember online gaming with Tycho and an old friend of his who went by the handle of Safety Monkey. Now, years later, Penny Arcade is an insti­tu­tion in fandom and I finally got to meet Tycho and Gabe in person. They had no clue who I was, of course, but I man­aged to keep the creepy to a min­imum, and they didn’t call secu­rity, so I’d say it was a win all around.

Tycho and Gabe from Penny Arcade!

The rest of the con was spent mostly geeking out over the giant Optimus Prime, the Lego Hulk, the Hobbit and Walking Dead booths, and about a thou­sand other things that have been amply cov­ered in the larger press.

I did want to draw atten­tion to my one unique con­tri­bu­tion to the con. When you work around guns as much as I do, you get kind of … twitchy … at having them pointed at you, even when you know they’re not real. There are 4 basic rules of firearm safety that every pro­fes­sional knows, but the most impor­tant of them are muzzle and trigger dis­ci­pline (which is a short way of saying — “Finger off the trigger. Point your muzzle at the deck.”) It wasn’t fair of me to expect cos­players to know that, but after 4 days of seeing a gun swinging my way out of my periph­eral vision, I finally lost it.

Sorry, dude.

It’s what I do folks — har­ness my irra­tional anx­i­eties to make your con going expe­ri­ence safer. Sort of.

Anyway, incred­ible time. If I die tomorrow, I did this. A very big “this” indeed.

Next up, London to pro­mote the UK edi­tion of CONTROL POINT! More details on that very soon!

  • http://twitter.com/PrinceJvstin Paul Weimer

    He does not look like he is taking kindly to your gentle cor­rec­tive approach, Myke.  

    This does remind me of a time I was in Cabelas with my friends. I’ve never fired a gun, never.  So when I fool­ishly picked up a gun off the rack that looked shiny and raised it in the direc­tion of my friend, he got cross. Very cross. He gave me the hunter’s ver­sion of your mil­i­tary ethos on firearm safety.

  • cmdrsue

    Any self-respecting nerd should WANT to know how to do it right. It’s part of what makes us nerds.

  • John Zeleznik

    I am jealous that I didn’t get to go, but I had a con­ver­sa­tion with the missus about maybe next year if things go well with my book. Per­haps we can nerd out together, brother.

  • Drew

    Very funny.  I can under­stand how watching civil­ians wield those things like ama­teurs could get to you.
    I had to make due with watching the SDCC footage on G4.  I hope to make out there someday.