I had only been to one other convention before I went to Crypticon. It was about investment real estate and covered subjects like property management, calculating return on investment, and laminate flooring. Crypticon, the horror-themed convention held this weekend at the Ramada next to the Mall of America, is about comic books, Freddy Krueger, and other things that make laminate flooring look flat-out boring by comparison. I love it and you should too.

This time I went with my friend Scott, who drove instead of me because we wanted to get there without dying and likely killing other people. We knew we arrived at the right hotel when we parked behind a car with an “Obi Wan Kenobi for President” bumper sticker on it. We got press passes, which are better than the passes that normal people like you get but in ways I won’t endeavor to explain. You just wouldn’t understand.

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Crypticon has a lot going for it. Its sea of booths offer up board games, action figures, comics, art, memorabilia, outrageous knives, movies, and some things that unnerved me. I owed my wife a present so I got her a fridge magnet that looks like the puppet from the Saw movies. In part, Crypticon is like a flea market if it were run by Rob Zombie.

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Crypticon is also place where local writers promote their books. I connected with these guys — too bad they aren’t fortunate enough to write for a publication like 365 Twin Cities, but hey, at least I am. I met Dave Wheeler, author of The Misadventures of Wonderboy, who also teaches kids how to make their own comics with original characters. I met Patrick W. Marsh, whose The Greenland Diaries answered that burning question: what would a Minnesotan bank teller do in the event of a demon apocalypse? I spoke with Stephen Vold, the writer of Zombie B.C., a comic book about cavemen squaring off against zombies during the first zombie outbreak. The jovial Tim Price, who was proudly displaying his theremin and 8mm projector, was also promoting his book Big in Japan wherein American rockstars arm a giant robot to fight Godzilla-type monsters. A “B-movie in print,” he called it. Finally, I was intrigued by MP Johnson, whose book Six Pack depicts a male model whose six abdominal muscles each detach themselves in search of greater adventures. “How do the abs move around?” I asked. “Like silver dollar pancakes rolling around on their sides,” answered Johnson. Of course, how else?

Some celebrities were there signing autographs. We saw Gigi Edgley of Farscape fame, and I couldn’t believe that Doug Jones, who played Abe Sapien in Hellboy, was there in the flesh. Doug was hugging his fans and singing them lullabies. Get this — Doug also played Mac Tonight, the McDonald’s mascot. Can you say that you saw Mac Tonight in person? If your answer’s no then you are wasting your life.

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Good lord.

We saw Kane Hodder, who played Jason in four Friday the 13th movies, tell some anecdotes about his career. These weren’t the kind of anecdotes you hear on Good Morning America, or even the kind you’d read on this website. Hodder has arms like steam engine pistons and sits in that rare and comfortable tough guy niche where he gets to be and act like the toughest guy around and no one is ever going to try to fight him him because he played Jason four times. Great guy.

We looked at the props, lovingly made replicas of movie guns and weapons and things. I wanted to play with the Star Wars blaster but I wasn’t allowed to touch it. We watched someone receive a tattoo for a bit. She was getting, in honor of Doug Jones I imagine, an Abe Sapien on her right arm. She had better never change her mind about Abe Sapien now that he’s indelibly inscribed upon her. We went to Fantasy Gifts’ “Carnival,” a whole room set aside for…how do I say this on a family website…mature distractions? Scott won a pen at their ping pong ball toss game, so it was a red letter day all around.

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We dearly wanted to stay for the Kiss tribute band, but it was getting late and I had had too much fun already. So what’s the verdict? Very positive. Crypticon is the ideal alternative to another bland night of TV and turkey dinners. There were people in costumes, things to buy which before I hadn’t imagined existed, the guy who played Mac Tonight, and just generally an assortment of bizarre things and people that made Scott and I alternately laugh and confused. Even if you aren’t a horror nerd I’d recommend getting out of your comfort zone to see what’s going on out there. You have no excuse whining about getting stuck in a daily routine if you don’t make the effort to go to places like Crypticon and see guys wearing necklaces made out of baby doll heads. A+, would be unsettled by again.

2300 American Blvd E, Bloomington, MN 55425
October 23, 24, and 25th

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