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Superheroes, storm troopers and schoolgirls rule at the 2006 New York Comic-Con.

Scarcely a month after covering the porn awards in Las Vegas, I found myself attending another convention fueled by adolescent fantasy: the first-ever New York Comic-Con.

Despite my leather-clad exterior, I’ve always had a serious geek streak. As a kid, I spent countless hours constructing elaborate adventures for my Star Wars action figures. My interest in comics didn’t really take flight until high school, when I began obsessively collecting Marvel’s horror titles from the ’70s, such as Werewolf By Night, Son of Satan and my all-time favorite, the heavy metal antihero Ghost Rider. In college, I discovered the groundbreaking Swamp Thing series by Alan Moore and everything changed. Since then, I’ve been gobbling up anything by the likes of Warren Ellis, Frank Miller, Grant Morrison or Garth Ennis.

Now here I was, navigating through the city’s vast hordes of dorkdom at Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Center, which was so overcrowded that police had to be called in to manage the crowds. Luckily, my press credentials acted like Kryptonite against the security guards and I was admitted without issue.

I couldn’t have had a more qualified companion for my first “Con” (as it’s referred to by insiders) than our returning managing editor, Zena Tsarfin. A veteran of both Marvel comics and Harris Publications (which publishes Vampirella), as well as numerous San Diego Comic-Cons, Zena knows everybody who’s anybody in the comics industry; the BBD was strong with her.

After a few complimentary maraschino martinis at the Publishers Weekly section, we headed down the aisle and stumbled across the corner booth of Nonstoptoys.com—an online toy retailer owned by former High Timer Keith Chong (no relation to Tommy). We bullshitted for a while, and he hooked me up with a sweet deal on a Darth Vader sculpture. I also ran into another friend of mine, model/actress Satu, who was promoting her latest role as the sexy superheroine Captain Schoolgirl—who, along with her pothead sidekick Dunceboy, battles snotty cheerleaders and devious delinquents.

Other costumed characters in attendance included a Burton-era Batman (sans nipples, thankfully), Boba Fett and a squadron of storm troopers, an unemployed Skeletor and a busty, aging Power Girl. There were also a few Hollywood celebs on hand for signings and lectures—most notably two former High Times cover icons: Milla Jovovich, promoting her Aeon Flux-simile movie UltraViolet, and Kevin Smith, who, aside from helming the many View Askew comedies, is also an award-winning comic book writer and fanboy extraordinaire. Stoner that I am, I arrived too late for their signings, but I did have a chance to chat with Smith’s hetero lifemate, Jason Mewes. As he signed the HT issue whose cover he and Smith adorn, I asked Mewes if either of them would be interested in doing another interview with us when their new film, Clerks 2, comes out in August. But he was reluctant, explaining that he’d recently been through rehab and that he and Smith no longer smoke weed.

 

 

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