A comic shop Christmas
The Hulk is no humbug at Coliseum of Comics in Kissimmee, Florida.
December 13th, 2011
03:28 PM ET

A comic shop Christmas

Editor's note: Erika D. Peterman is a Florida-based writer and editor, and the co-creator of the comics blog Girls-Gone-Geek.com.

In some ways, a local comic shop looks no different from any other store this time of year. Business is up, the halls are decked, and customers new and old are on the hunt for the perfect gifts for loved ones.

But while any store can put up a Christmas tree and generic holiday decor, some comics shops mark the season with geeky flair.

At Austin Books & Comics in Austin, Texas, the tree is outfitted with Funco plushies, Dr. Who knicknacks and, of course, a Superman tree-topper. Walk into the Kissimmee, Florida, Coliseum of Comics branch, and you’ll be greeted by a 9-foot fiberglass Red Hulk statue wearing a Santa cap. The Man of Steel is the Christmas tree-topper there as well.

Another sign of the gifting season at the comics shop? The newbies. Some shop owners and managers say there’s a definite spike in traffic in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and it’s not just the faithful who make the weekly pilgrimage to collect their new books. This time of year, there are more novices coming in to find the right gift for the comic book and gaming lovers in their lives.

A comics veteran can walk into any shop and quickly find his or her way around. But someone entering that world for the first time might feel adrift in a sea of graphic novels and role-playing games. Brandon Zern, general manager of Austin Books & Comics, can usually spot the uninitiated right away. FULL POST

Putting the 'con' back in Santacon
BatSanta and his trusted side-Santa, Robin.
December 13th, 2011
12:49 PM ET

Putting the 'con' back in Santacon

Editor's note: Aaron Sagers is a New York-based entertainment writer and nationally syndicated pop-culture columnist. He has specialty knowledge in 'paranormal pop culture,' has lectured at conventions across the country on the topic and is a media pundit on supernatural entertainment. He covers pop culture daily at paranormalpopculture.com and can be found on Twitter @aaronsagers.

Santacon may have started off using “con” ironically, but at this counter culture, mischief-making costume party the nerds are making themselves known.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the tradition – initially dubbed “Santarchy” – began in San Francisco in 1994 by The Suicide Club, “a collection of people dedicated to urban adventure and pranks.” When the Suicide Club disbanded, former members formed the Cacophony Society, a San Francisco anarchic performance art group which carried on the Santa antics.

Since then, cities across the world have launched their own variation of the event. Santacon NYC seems to be the best-organized of the gatherings – or as organized as an event can be that is “non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical” and “occurs once a year for absolutely no reason,” according to the event's website. The Santacon mob roams the city supporting charities, spreading cheer, singing naughty carols, consuming copious amounts of holiday spirits and even visiting one strip club.

It is impossible to ignore the irony present in an event initially started to stir up the mainstream by causing mischief – all the while subverting the character of Santa. The origin story of Santacon is just the sort of performance mob art hipsters and hippies alike dig into. This is not the description of a nerdy event.

And yet, at 10 a.m. last Saturday at Manhattan’s North Cove Marina, among the thousands of people dressed as Santa Clauses, elves, reindeer, Jesuses and more, were Santa Neo from “The Matrix,” Incredible Hulk Grinch, a trio of Run-D.M.C. Santas, S.W.A.T. elves, Santa Batman, Victorian Father Christmas, Kurt Cobain Claus, and more sexy variations of holiday tropes than one could shake a candy cane at.

Have the nerds and superfans crashed Santacon? Yes and no. FULL POST

Posted by
Filed under: Fandom