All right. Here I go to Comic Con. I’m going to blend in. I just want to evaporate into a place without attachment or expectation. I won’t have a costume, but I won’t wear anything else that really much identifies my interests or who I am. I debated whether or not to even bring my Giants cap, but I’m stupidly sentimental. I can’t ever travel without it.
Remember the never-to-be-sent where I wrote about how I don’t like watching the news anymore? It has suddenly dawned on me to also no longer like comics very much — not that I was ever a comics fan. When I was a kid, I did not do many “boyish” things like play sports, and only in college did I start reading comics that were not in the Sunday newspaper. The reason why I don’t like comics anymore is for the same fact of inescapable nature behind the news. As news reduces people into subjects and stories into sensation, in comics the men are perfectly chiseled and the women have huge tits and hardly any clothes. Recently I’ve experienced a low-grade distaste for comics strong enough to persist into distraction. I can’t pay attention to the story without thinking, Why is he so muscular? and Does her back hurt?
If anyone unearthed this never-to-be-sent without understanding the context of where I’m coming from — that I am, in fact, a geek and that I do appreciate and adore the medium of comics — they might get offended. Maybe I’m getting cynical. Maybe this is the natural progression of aging. Certainly, the 22-year old me would not have admitted that a muscular superhero makes no sense. After all, he’s a fucking superhero, right? His physique has to be perfect! But the 22-year old me was also a Buffy fan for many years, and I still am.
The premise of Buffy is simple: an everyday high school teenage girl with average strength for her build and materialistic interests for her youth and narrow scope of experience is imbued with superhuman strength and its accompanying scope of vast experience. But her physique never changes. Her superhuman enemies often underestimate her; and her human villains look at her disbelieving that she can overpower them. In the Buffy musical episode “Once More With Feeling,” Buffy quips about wearing “stylish yet affordable boots.” (It’s an even better admission once you realize that in the season that episode aired, Buffy was struggling to make ends meet and was forced to take a job at a fast food joint. Imagine! The girl who saved the world a lot has a tough time living in the world!) I have yet to see one of those muscular comic book heroes make the kind of earthly admission that True Blood’s Joe Manganiello made when he said that the reason why he looks as hot as he does is only because it is the demand of his job as an actor and that he doesn’t get to eat what he wants. I bet that if he had his way, he would just eat hamburgers and drink beer all the time.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite superhero of all time.
Most folks — probably guys — would disagree — probably violently — with calling her a superhero.
I like Buffy because she’s not a stylized or idealized vision of anything. No, in real life we do not get imbued with superhuman strength the way she does; the point that I’m trying to make is that her power is beside the point. She is my favorite superhero because she comes across as the most heroically human.
And on that insanely geeky (and characteristically lengthy) note, I am off to San Diego to check out from reality for a few days. Unless you’re sending me a polite form letter saying that you thank me for my fandom without mentioning these never-to-be-sents and attaching it with a pre-autographed photo — or, maybe, you’re calling to ask me out on a date — then I am not thinking about much of anything from my daily life. As with all the previous years I have attended, I am going to Comic Con to escape into worlds that cannot possibly exist, and to envision that I can become a better person: if not as a superhero, then maybe at least as a storyteller.