September 12, 2011

The challenges of the Comic Con quiz

Now that I have caught my post–Ladies' Night breath, I prepare to launch back into the quiz maelstrom. The BQT is coming into a busy season here: Boston this Monday, L.A. Thursday, parties for Google and other fine organizations, various top-secret projects, and we're back on the biweekly schedule in NYC. My life. But one particular event stands out: New York Comic Con.


On Saturday, October 15, the Big Quiz Thing is presenting a special one-hour event at Comic Con, at the Javits Center, all about the fun stuff that people go to Comic Con for. Comic books, certainly, but everything else that appeals to overgrown nerds like me (and quite possibly you).

This will be a challenge, despite my supposed expertise in all things geeky. In two respects:

Challenge No. 1: Fact checking, fact checking, fact checking…
You can say a lot of things about the kind of person who goes to Comic Con—a lot of things. But nonetheless, the past ten years have seen an evolution of the comic nerd, and most of the old-guard stereotypes just aren't true. I mean, I'd put serious money on most of the attendees at the Javits Center having known the touch of a woman (or a man). But one conception that ain't a mis is that they are among the nit-pickiest people on the planet.

Mostly false

Fine, okay, this is something I deal with routinely with the BQT, but I think I'm going to need an extra dollop of careful for this shindig. To wit: an incident at Ladies' Night, when we presented this entry in the Suffragette City four-parter.

In case you're completely confused here, that's a famous suffragette's head on the body of a comic-book superheroine, with the suffragette's name rendered as an anagram. Players had to guess both the suffragette and the superheroine. And I received a point-of-order question from the audience:

"Is part of the superheroine's costume not shown?"

I was confused. You mean her hair? Nope, that's not what she (yes, she) meant. It took genius Steve of the Fantastic Fournicators, approaching the stage with two fishnet-wearing superheroines' names written on a piece of paper, for me to realize the source of confusion:
There's a pleasant thought…

A-ha. How, how could I forget about Zatanna's fishnets? So I announced, "There is no hat involved. I did not eliminate a hat from the picture." (BTW, the suffragette was her.) Problem solved, but it was a close one. It's not that it's easier to make mistakes on comic-booky topics than other ones, but you know that if you do, the geeks will call you on it (as well they should, BTW). There's a reason the longest Wikipedia pages are about Star Wars characters and Marvel supervillains. I'm always pretty exacting about getting things right at the BQT, but I'm going to give these Comic Con questions an extra go-through, over, under, sideways and around.

Challenge No. 2: Covering all the bases. But what was most alarming about the Ladies' Night lapse is that this was on my supposed strongest Comic Con–related topic: superheroes. Not just superheroes, but DC superheroes—dude, I can basically give you a blow-by-blow rundown of the Crisis on Infinite Earths (I was never a Marvel Zombie). This should be a topic about which I never make mistakes, even in my sleep.

So what about the other topics? Not just other-than-DC comics, but all the multitude of non-comics mediums and genres represented by the ultimately misleadingly named Comic Con? You got science fiction, manga, comedy, gaming, LARPing, etc., etc. (indeed, etc.). I know a fair amount about…some of that, and I can research anything, often do. But what are the bases I have to cover. Do I really having to cover LARPing?.

Not for me. Though I get it.

This has not be so much of a challenge at past subject-specific Big Quiz Things: I know insane amounts about Presidents, Jews, and The Simpsons. And ladies, of course. That shit came easy to me.

Thus, to deal with both of these challenges, I've assembled what I call the Geek Council: eight or ten of my geekiest friends (including BQT videographer William Scurry), to advise me and help me fact-check the whole thing. We're meeting in a couple weeks to hash out ideas and topics, and eat pizza, after which I'll go out there and design the perfect nerd-satisfying game. Then, I will turn to them as an extra layer of fact-checking. I ain't getting nothing wrong here.

But what about you? What topics do you think I should cover? Or not cover? Personally, I haven't even been to a comic convention in 20 years, so any advice is useful. Let me know.

12 comments:

Jason said...

You really don't have to worry about LARPing — no one group is big enough to capture the consciousness of the crowd.

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will you be there all 3 days?

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