The Enchanted City
July 27, 2009

Once upon a time in the very corner of a large kingdom there was a city, and in that city a convention castle, and in that convention castle a fan. This is the tale of one traveler’s adventure to an event so fantastic that mere words and photographs struggle to convey its wonder. Yes, noble reader, here follows a story of amazing creatures, heroic friends battling immense odds, rare and valuable treasures and a town electrified with magic.

Chapter One – An Enchanted Town

Leaving his parched homeland hours before the sun broke the horizon the traveler pointed his trusty steed westward in an attempt to cross the wide desert before the midday sun would make temperatures unbearable for open air travel. Glancing many times at his thermometer over the course of six hours the traveler grew accustomed to seeing the figure "100". So when, after traversing a peculiar mountain, he noticed the temperature gauge read 80 and then 78 and then 75 the traveler knew he was closing in on his destination. Yes, he could sense the the ocean was near. Sweaty and tired he found the inn where he would stay for the next seven days and climbed his way to the roof. Gazing south the traveler caught site of the fabled convention castle.


As he spent a few days resting and relaxing in this welcoming city our traveler couldn’t help but notice an ever increasing electricity which climaxed on the far side of the week’s middle day. Almost without thought he grabbed his rucksack and camera, donned a shirt bearing his allegiance insignia and walked down the Avenue Fifth. It was the fabled "Night of Previews."

Chapter Two – All Creatures Great and Small

Over the course of the next several days the traveler glimpsed countless creatures and monsters and people of races before unseen. There were people who looked like robots and robots that looked like people. Some were scary and some were quite the opposite.


Many of these strange folk seemed, to our traveler, to be vaguely familiar.

Chapter Three – Promise of Things to Come

As the traveler roamed the Floor of Exhibits certain trinkets cased in glass caused his heart to leap. For these trifles represented none other than "Promises of Things to Come." For a man unduly concerned with events that took place in a cantina a long, long time ago several curios commanded specific attention. Also of note were the articulated statues of heroes rendered in the style of a storyteller much admired by our traveler.


Chapter Four – Where there is Good there is Evil

Laughter and frivolity and excitement were tempered by chaos and crowds and disappointment. An event this magical does not go unnoticed. Our traveler found himself exploring with well over 100,000 companions. Yes, the convention castle is unfathomably large but the crowd is always a little bit larger. And, as expected, most wanted to acquire the very same knickknacks our traveler set out to capture. Rather than squander the precious time he had to explore this magical place the traveler decided against queueing for inordinate amounts of time. Yes, there was a risk, but also an accepted resignation. For some treasure hunts involved standing in a line to receive a ticket which allowed you to stand in yet another line. Our traveler wavered: "Is the 25th Anniversary G1 Soundwave worth it?" Nay.

Our traveler did pay a price for this decision. Before he could exchange silver for them the Blue Monkey went extinct and the Eternian Hero was no more. However, thanks to the heroics of his brave allies SpyMagician and Airmax the traveler was able to add these treasures to his plunder.

The Floor of Exhibits is populated in such a way that the biggest and most popular exhibitors are found in "The Middle".  Should one need to traverse this section of floor in a timely fashion they will need to grow wings. Legend has it that some have entered "The Middle" never to be heard from again. The term "convention floor shuffle" is familiar in the local vernacular.


Chapter Five – Folks of Renown

Although he did not go out of his way to consort with attendees of prominence our traveler did stumble on a few random encounters. Upon exiting a panel discussion he was enveloped in a small crowd exiting the neighboring room. A double take assured the traveler that he had just laid eyes upon the most recent representative of the planet Krypton, one Brandon Routh. Walking back to his cottage that evening our traveler came upon a crowd surrounding a theatre. Moments later a man (Robert Pattinson) known to be a vampire, and a quite popular one at that, dashed to a waiting vehicle. Ah, and speaking of vampires, the residents of Bon Temps, LA found themselves greeting the crowds in "The Middle" of the Floor of Exhibits. The traveler’s most curious encounter came when again walking the Avenue Fifth. A step ahead of him walked a man with his family. When this man turned his head sideways our traveler gasped: "Richard!" "Richard" nodded. Yes, the traveler recognized this man from a popular contemporary story called "LOST". "Richard" was kind enough to take a photograph with the overwhelmed traveler.


Chapter Six – Allies New and Old

Traveling to this festival of wonders held the promise of rendezvousing with friends of old, discovering new friends of common purpose, and verifying the reality of ner before seen cyberallies. Our traveler was happy to see for the first time since moving to the city in the desert his old pal Nick from the New Jersey Star Wars Collector’s Club. It goes without saying that all members of the scattered AFi tribe rejoice when they come together. An exciting event transpired when our traveler accompanied AFi’s chief to the Booth of Mattel at the end of Friday’s activities. Julius Marx almost forgot to check to see if his raffle ticket was the lucky one chosen in the day’s Anti-Monitor contest. In this enchanted land dreams do come true. That very same evening while eating dinner with friends the traveler was pleased to be joined by Justin Aclin, editor of the periodical Toyfare.


Chapter Seven – At the Fair

What more, you may ask, could this fine event offer? Our traveler attended numerous discussion panels lined with talented craftsm

en from the Little Plastic People trades. Representatives of endeavors big and small conveyed lore and secrets that captivated their audiences. AFi’s Julius Marx conducted 2 fantastic panels whose topics generated much lively discussion amongst the panelists and audience.

The Floor of Exhibits offers countless entertaining distractions and our traveler was helplessly sucked into many. A futuristic device that allows a participant’s brain waves to "use the force" was particularly captivating. Our traveler found that he was quite in tune with "the force" and was asked by the presenter what he was concentrating on. He smirked. The presenter quipped: "So you don’t want to tell us?" The traveler demurred.


Seeing an opportunity to prove his own heroics, bravery and skill in battle the traveler jumped at an opportunity to duel "The Master." Perhaps overconfident he fell to "The Master" in short order. As he exited the arena he was heard muttering: "I’ll get you next time!"


Ever the sucker for freebies, in particular personalized freebies, the traveler took advantage of most opportunities that involved cameras and didn’t involve long lines.

The glitter of small and unique treasure proved too alluring for our traveler to resist. Although his steed is small he none-the-less found a way to pack a good deal of booty. All the way home he wondered: "How will I explain this to my fair maiden?"

With pixie dust swirling in his head our traveler found himself the night before his departure wondering how he will readjust to a life mundane. But the next day as he rode into the blazing sun the magic that is Comic-Con began to dissipate and the realities of a world not magical reasserted themselves. "Ah, but there is next year!" he thought with a faint twinkle in his eye.

The End

Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann
Action figure anthropologist, Professor Cantina Dan Neumann has been a scholastic contributor to the online community studying the complex world of parumplasticus populus {little plastic people} since the turn of this millenium. His primary focus is the visual cataloging of species exhibits through photo-journalism.
Read other articles by Danny "CantinaDan" Neumann.





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