In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
Imagine one of your favorite comic book characters at a comic book convention . . . How would they react?
Well, I expect most would be disturbed. Especially Dick Grayson. Have you ever seen a male cosplay Nightwing? But pushing that aside, one of my favorites I can imagine at a convention is Carol Danvers — promoting her novels.
If you didn’t know, Carol took some time off from superheroing to write semi-autobiographical science fiction novels about an astronaut/superhero called Binary. So she’d fit right into the comic con scene (look, she even has the hat!). She’d be a Special Guest. But not as Special as, say, Joss Whedon. She’d be a Second Tier Special Guest and she’d resent it. And sulk. And then Jessica Jones would show up, with Starbucks (not Starbuck, though, if Katee Sackhoff wanted to join them, that’d be okay, too), and they’d ditch the table and walk around the con making snarky comments about everything and everyone. Then Carol would buy some overpriced Han Solo merchandise and they’d call it a day.
If I could transport any fictional character to a present-day comics convention, it would be Vic Sage, the original Question, if only as an excuse to use these panels from The Question #17:
To unwrap the layers of meta-commentary here, The Question was a Steve Ditko-created Charlton Comics character who provided the model for Rorschach in Watchmen. In Denny O’Neil’s series The Question, which was being published at the same time, Vic is briefly seduced by Rorschach’s ultraviolent, monosyllabic, solitary approach to crimefighting, but quickly discovers it’s not for him.
As developed by O’Neil and later writers (mostly Greg Rucka), Vic is actually pretty lousy at being a loner. He talks a good game. . .and talks and talks and talks, which is the rub. It’s no fun being a serial pontificator if there’s no one to listen to your rants. In other words, he’d fit in great in comics fandom. I’m imagining him now, pulling Rorschach cosplayers aside and using impenetrable Zen metaphors to ask if they’ve really thought about whether that’s who they want to be. And the questions he’d pose at panels? The mind reels.
You know what comics have a lot of? Artists. And by “artists,” I don’t mean the people who actually draw the comics. I mean the characters inside the comics, who happen to also be artists. Just as novelists love to create stories about writers, comic book creators seem to love to project their passion for visual arts on the characters they write. Just to name a few, there’s Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, the X-Men’s Colossus, and, of course, my beloved Captain America, Steve Rogers.
So if I’m picturing a comic book convention with comic book characters, I’m picturing one where these three characters have tables in Artists Alley. I’m picturing naive Piotr being absolutely bewildered by some of the fan activity, but taking it all in stride. I’m picturing Steve, in a very meta moment, drawing Captain America commissions, since he was (canonically!) the artist on an in-universe Captain America comic. I’m picturing Kyle — despite being the most professional of the three — continually being sidetracked by long, geeky debates with fans as he sketches in green pencil. And I’m picturing all of them being absolutely flattered by the attentions of people who, for once, aren’t fawning over them because they can throw someone across a room, but because they’re pouring their hearts and souls into the creation of art.
I think it would be a nice change of pace.
Rachel Grey sighed, blowing her long, red bangs off her face as the last grinning, sweaty-palmed fan walked away from the table. He was already texting a message to his friends. He’s probably Tweeting, she thought. I hope he’s not sending pictures of my chest to the internet. If the stray thoughts she’d picked up over the last two hours were any indication, that’s probably exactly what the man was doing. Despite her best efforts Rachel had inadvertently spent the morning telepathically eavesdropping on the mass of humanity filling the convention hall. The people that came to the table in front of her were particularly hard to screen out. Luckily, they weren’t here to see her. No, they were here for her best friend, sitting next to her and surreptitiously wiping her hands with antibacterial rinse under the edge of the table. Kitty turned to face Rachel with the endearing smile that had smote legions of fanboys all morning.
“That’s it for now, I think,” Kitty said.
Rachel stood and stretched, rolling her eyes at the thoughts of the clump of boys nearby who stared at her body. “Lunchtime,” she said flatly. “Ideally lunchtime somewhere quiet. Like the moon.” She eyed Kitty consideringly. “I’m pretty sure I could get us to the moon. What do you think?”
Kitty’s face squinched up in distaste. “I never really enjoy my times on the moon, y’know? How about we fly across town to Cal’s for some burgers?”
“Oh, sure,” Rachel said. She smiled. “I fly, you buy?”
So what about you? Imagine one of your favorite comic book characters at a comic book convention . . . How would they react?