The 2012 incarnation of C2E2 has come and gone from spacious McCormick Center in downtown Chicago, leaving many of us to wonder: Can I take a piss without having to wait in line for this panel again?
The answer to this question, and many others: apparently not. I should let you know that I didn’t let a trivial thing such as a ruptured bladder stop me from my usual quest to find the holiest of convention grails: The Single Worst Thing For Sale™. It just means that instead of wearing jeans and a t-shirt, I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt covered in a combination of my own piss and blood. Which is to say I fit right in with all the individuals that decided it was a good idea to finally get that Savage Dragon tattoo in a crowded convetion center, herding unwashed con-goers through not unlike a cattle drive from Denver to Santa Fe. The only exception being that mine wasn’t a staph infection waiting to happen.
Before I get to TSWTFS™ at C2E2 2012, I’d like to touch on something that bothered me as I made my way around the merch floor (in the super effective spiral pattern). Comic conventions follow a pretty specific template. You are allowed to have that one booth that has a castle-like keep, reaching to the rafters covered in t-shirts that say funny stuff like: ‘Please, for the love of god, have sex with me. I have money.’, ‘My other shirt is something really fucking stupid’ and ‘My mom thinks my type-2 diabetes is sexy!’. The other con mainstay is the booth selling more illegal weapons than a backroom Russian arms dealer. The fate on our nation could very well depend on the legion of sixteen year olds that have blunted samurai swords in their closet. Finally you have the triple headed monster of bootleg DVD booths, actual comic book vendors, and those weird non-profits that think it’s a great idea to drop a grand on exposure for their cause of making sure all the worlds dolphins are taught to read.
Once you’ve checked all these boxes off on the template, you are left with all the merch tables that fall through the cracks. Which is great. These are the booths that I love going to. They usually balance along that delicate edge of: crazy/cool, completely fish out of water, or Dot Com from 30 Rock. The problem I had with this year’s C2E2 was that the cracks were filled with vendors that did nothing for me. These booths were sterile environments to purchase shit I could have bought on a website to begin with. They brought nothing to the table that a decently run website couldn’t have afforded me. Cons should be unpredictable. I like the guys trying to swindle me into buying a childs Star Wars toothbrush from 1979 (sorry buddy, I still have mine and I use that shit every weekday and every other weekend). Comic cons need that element of a nerd flea market more than they need the element of the nerd mall.
That being said, there was still plenty of bullshit people were trying to sell.
This time I actually had several items that were terrible enough (in my mind) to grab on to The Single Worst Thing For Sale™. Here are the nominees:
I can finally flesh out my Sea Quest DSV run and in turn complete my collection of Jonathan Brandis and Roy Scheider action figures.
I just like this one because I can’t imagine anyone ever desiring a John Lithgow bobblehead. I keep envisioning the brainstorming session where the marketing team is trying to come up with some merch to sell along with Dexter and one of the interns throws out ‘John Lithgow’ jokingly and the room gets silent. They all look at each other wide eyed as this is the best idea they have ever had collectively. Someone wispers ‘I love you’ in the intern’s ear and gently caresses the outside edge of the ear canal with the tip of his tongue. Wait. What? It can be yours for 15 bucks.
I like this one because it has a lot going for it. It’s not just a Spice Girls doll, it’s their ‘tour’ edition. She also comes with a smaller version of another spice girls toy, which is visually neat in an MC Escher kind of way. It’s also marked down by 66%! What a steal! But we aren’t quite there just yet. We need something a little more esoteric.
Oh man. I know a winner when I see one. Obscure 80s cartoon that was broadcast for less than six months: check. Kids meal packaging: check. Not the actual kids meal toy: double check. Insane value proposition: check.
SilverHawks Burger King kids meal boxes, you are the illustrious winner of The Single Worst Thing For Sale™ C2E2 2012!