I'm staying here. One year my girl suggested we attend Comic Con. "Are there any bald superheroes who customarily wear T-shirts from Mexican fishing villages with cargo shorts as their costume?" I asked.
"Not that I know of," she replied.
"Well, I'm already dressed for the day, so I'll pass." I said. I didn't tell her that superheroes are a painful topic for me. I grew up on a steady diet of comic books and once thought, in my earliest youth, that being a superhero was a realistic career option. I longed to be irradiated by cosmic rays or bitten by radioactive bugs or inducted by extraterrestrials into some secret, powerful order, since these were all legitimate ways to achieve superhero status. In the third grade, when it was discovered I needed glasses to see the blackboard I cried bitter tears, not because I knew schoolyard bullies would would call me "dork" and "four-eyes," but because Superman didn't wear glasses.
Clark Kent wore glasses. Later on, when I started to suffer from male pattern baldness, I was well over the fantasy that achieving superherohood was possible, which was good, because there were very few bald superheroes. Bald guys in general were scorned on TV and in movies back then. A bald character on any kind of show was usually weak, cowardly or stupid, or all three, and was customarily killed off in the episode's first skirmish. Nowadays we bald guys have been liberated. We can be heroes. But not superheros. They still tend to have really nice heads of hair. None have better hair than the Wolverine. The Wolverine is possibly the foremost imaginary hero in the world today. He is immortal, because any injury inflicted upon him immediately heals, and he has undergone an operation in which all of his bones have been replaced by titanium alloys, which must have hurt—it's like getting a root canal for your entire body, I expect. His surgeons thoughtfully included a set of razor-sharp blades in his new skeleton, which spring out from between his knuckles when the Wolverine gets agitated.
That's frequently, because the Wolverine is an angsty guy. Everyone he loves dies violently, because that makes a better story than him merely outliving them because he is immortal and they are not, and when they die, the only solution that seems to work for the Wolverine is going out and clawing up a bunch of other people, mainly supervillians.
There are many bald supervillians, a tradition started by Lex Luthor, and I suppose I could go downtown and pretend to be one of them, but what would I tell my family? In comic books, supervillians tend not to have much of a back story—it's just assumed that some people with superpowers would naturally try to use them to pulverize or enslave the entire human race. That is probably the least far-fetched assumption in any comic book plot, but in real life supervillians must have families, anxious fathers who wish they had gone into the family construction business instead of spending all their time building booby-traps for their evil lairs and doting mothers who think they ought to find a nice girl for themselves instead of constantly trying to foment apocalypses.
And supervillians always lose. If I want to lose all the time I've already got the lottery for that. Besides, I know the Wolverine, or at least Comic Con's Wolverine. His picture is in the upper left corner. He's a friend of mine, but does he look like someone you want to mess with?
Like I said, I'm staying home.
For the political aspects of Comic Con, click here