No longer does the comic-book reader have to apologize for his (or her!) fondness for tales starring caped crusaders; no longer must we skulk into comics shops like trench-coat pervs trolling for porn in adult book shops. The medium's all grown up now and worth a fortune, especially to movie studios that use the much-maligned comic convention to peddle their wares. Hence the appearance at WizardWorld Texas this weekend of Blade: Trinitywriter-director David Goyer, bringing with him stars Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds; the latter's appearance will even bring out my missus, since Van Wilder drives her, well, wild. Goyer, who also penned the new Batmanwith Bateman (American Psycho's Patrick, that is, meaning Christian Bale), is sure to be adored amongst the con-goers. Just be sure to ask him about writing that Nick FuryTV movie with David Hasselhoff and call him Stanley Tucci, too, just for grins. Then go find Jason Mewes, Jay to Kevin Smith's Silent Bob, and give him a "snoochie boochies," because he just lovesit when people do that.
But the stars of this con are the comics guys, especially artists Jim Lee (currently illustrating Brian Azzarello's Supermanstories) and John Cassady (who's drawing Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men, which actually lives up to its billing) and writer Mark Waid, whose Kingdom Comeranks among the best post-Dark Knight Returns, post-mod, deconstructionist tales ever told. Ultimately, that's what makes an event like this so special. WizardWorld isn't just a place where comic companies and movie studios push product, but where storytellers are celebrated, adored, begged for autographs, told how much their work means to people for whom comics are still places for mythmaking and risk-taking. Mock them all you want--the conventions, the people who go to them, the stuff they buy and panels they attend and costumes they wear--but only people who know no better would dare poke fun. This is serious stuff merely dolled up like spandex nonsense; there's no better read on the planet at the moment than DC's Identity Crisisor indie fave Craig Thompson's Blankets or anything made by Chris Ware. Go, take the kids, but leave with something for yourself--an autograph if you must, but at least one great book to read and re-read. And then, if you must (and I must, I must), go tell Erin Gray how much you love her.