July 23rd, 2009
11:30 PM ET

Comic-Con: Spandex Everywhere

Today marks the official opening of Comic-Con, the world's largest comic book, movie and pop culture convention.  This year, the San Diego-based event celebrates its 40th anniversary as ground zero of all things new, cool and about to explode on the mainstream.


Comic Con fans wait in line outside Hall H. Some camped overnight.

It's interesting and even a little ironic that I am here because I am not what you would consider a fan of comic culture.  Sure, I have enjoyed the big screen adaptations of the "X-Men" franchise and, of course, was moved by Heath Ledger's performance as "The Joker" in last year's "The Dark Knight," but for the most part I have a working knowledge of comic books on par with your average 65-year-old woman.

I say this to add a bit of context to this blog entry.  Observant, excitable, and curious I am, well-versed in the world of comics, I am not.  What I do know is spandex.

It is estimated that 125-thousand people will circulate through the halls of the San Diego Convention Center during this four-day event.  From what I can tell, about 124-thousand have chosen to decorate their bodies in some form of spandex.  I have a long and checkered history with the stretchy, entirely unforgiving material which we will not go into here.

This early life exposure led me to an acute understanding of the clingy fabric. From what I have seen this familiarity is not entirely shared by the aforementioned 124-thousand "Comic-Conners" in my general vicinity.  For those who care, I would like to share three little guidelines about spandex that I've learned over the years.

(1) Big or small, spandex accentuates everything.  It is a common misperception that spandex is only unflattering on bigger body types.  This is simply not true.  If you have the metabolism of a hummingbird and have to run around in the shower to get wet, chances are you do not have what it takes to give this long chain polymer its necessary "stretch" for maximum appeal.

(2) Spandex is better cast as a "supporting character" than in a "lead role."  One should not feel as though their entire outfit should be made from spandex, simply because it can.  Forearms, hands and the occasional headband are often times "safe" uses of spandex.  Torsos, thighs and derrieres tend to be "danger" areas.

(3) Spandex is a privilege, not a right.  The ability to locate and/or afford spandex does not necessarily mean one should wear spandex.  Let's be clear, it takes a very special kind of body type to make the stuff work and work well.  Chances are your favorite actor or actress worked with a personal trainer for months before earning the privilege of wearing it.  It's just an educated guess, but something tells me The Green Lantern did not stop at KFC on his way to saving the world.

So, my silly lesson in spandex aside, I will say this about what I've seen at Comic-Con so far, there is no shortage of passion.  For many of these fans, they have spent years, if not a lifetime enjoying this art form.  They are here to show how much they care, and that kind of dedication, even set against a spandex backdrop, is impressive.

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. nope

    actually, novadive? JD does have feminine touches in his writing, but is definitely a dude: http://jdcargill.com/about.html

    July 25, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wildjustice23

    JD Cargill is a dude, dude. I think it is a light humor piece, and having worked Comic Conventions and Star Wars Conventions for the last 7 or 8 years, one I can relate too. There will be tons of coverage on the Convention, written by people with more comic book knowledge than a 65-year old woman, but this is what it is a light humor fluff piece that I rather enjoyed.

    July 24, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kristen

    Here in Decatur IL we have a street festival early every August during which the fundamental laws of Spandex are broken. But it is a great time with music, food and crafts. It is the largest, free street festival in Illinois and Decatur is passionate about it. So, I am thinking, maybe the spandex apparel industry should fund a PhD candidate to do research on the correlation of people's passion for an event with the donning of Spandex. As Nacho Libre said "Chancho. When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It's for fun"

    July 24, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. novadive

    You really need to see what's in front of your face. This article is good, and the 'dude' is a 'dudette'. See the way she writes? See the hints? it's a woman writing about spandex, and that's gotta' be good news because a woman would know more about it than most guys.
    She's also not being a killjoy, she's being factual in a funny way, and that's all right.
    You're being the killjoy. Lighten up 'Francis'. Enjoy the ride.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    Hey JD,

    Lighten up dude. Who exactly died and made you the King of Comic-Con? Since when did we need your permission or approval to enjoy a convention geared towards the delightfully unique and acceptably eccentric world of comic and ther fans?

    Stop being such a kill joy dude, and let us have our fun. If a bunch of people in spandex running around loose in Sunny San Diego is the worst you have to report on this week, count yourselves lucky. You COULD be at the next Star Wars Convention surrounded by several thousand Jar Jar Binks wannabes. Now THAT would be something to complain about!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  6. brandon

    Thats was the dumbest article I have ever read. I wish I was a super hero I would warn the entire world not to read this!

    July 24, 2009 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. Leslie

    Spandex is a privilege, not a right. Way to quote Matthew Lillard's character in Hackers.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. OrderedChaos

    Rox, why would the writer mention Depp? This isn't a Convention play-by-play, it's a color piece about spandex in the context of the convention. Yeesh.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. vampirony

    Honestly, I'd expect you'd see less spandex than before as it's turned ever so Hollywood at the 'Con now. Weren't you more bowled over by rabid Twilighters trying to get an eyefull of Robert Pattinson?

    The last year I went Snoop Dog was in the house as well as Triumph the Insult Dog, Samuel L., and a group calling themselves The Tarts hording so-called secret information on Gerard Butler's whereabouts (it had actually already been posted in the daily rag so I had to burst their bubble on that).

    One things for sure, if you're geek, this is a place where everybody knows your name. Unless you're in the Hentai line. Then maybe you don't want that.

    July 24, 2009 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. Rox

    Wheres your mention of Johnny Depp surprising the fans. This was a huge deal at comic-con.

    July 24, 2009 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Whatever

    LOL, repetitive much? It kinda reminds me of the S/M community; if you ever go to an S/M event, EVERYONE and i mean EVERYONE wears black vinyl or latex, and not a single person stands out. Based on what your saying, it seems like nobody has done anything original with their choice of costume...and i agree...just because one can afford and fit into something made of spandex, doesn't mean they should actually wear it....

    July 23, 2009 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |

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