What the Political Conventions Can Learn from Comic-Con

ALTEveryone on the nightly news, the Internet, and, most importantly, your Twitter and Facebook accounts is talking about the Republican National Convention in Tampa. And after that, the Democrats do their dog and donkey show in Charlotte and the media takeover will start anew. It’s all that’s happening right now — but, still, it is boring. There, I said it. It’s boring. It’s worse than a lecture on oral hygiene that you had to sit through in fifth grade. Dull dull dull dull dull. And, even worse, we’re going to have to relive some of these moments ad nauseum… and they won’t get any more exciting.

Let’s consider political conventions for a minute. They last for several days, create huge news, are full of thousands of rabid fans, and are relentlessly covered by the media, despite the fact that only a select portion of the population caring about them deeply. Looking at that description, it seems political conventions have their own entertainment-fueled cousin: Comic-Con! Both of these conventions share notable similarities with the one difference being that I care about one and not the other. So, what can the political conventions learn from Comic-Con to jazz things up a little? We’re here to help, politics.

More Costumes: During the first few days of Comic-Con, entertainment websites across the Internet launch galleries of the crazy cos play people in their extremely elaborate Slave Princess Leia and Batman get-ups. Those fans definitely garner attention, so why not dress up a little bit, delegates? (And I’m not talking dress shirts and pantsuits.) May we suggest that each delegate wear a costume based on where they’re from? A farmer costume from Kansas, cowboy duds from Texas, a prep school uniform from Connecticut. (Just like Drop Dead Gorgeous!) Or maybe they should dress up like their favorite characters: George Washington, Betsy Ross, or every GOPers favorite, Ronald Reagan. C’mon, the tea party has embraced this — why can’t every other party follow (bat)suit?

Celebrities: Yes, famous commentators from Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow will be attending the conventions, as will the politically outspoken Clooneys and the Kelsey Grammers. Arnold Schwarzenegger used to get invited too and then blew it all with a scandal. (“I’ll be back,” apparently also applies to his attending future Republican conventions.) But let’s get some other ones there just to glitz up the show. Just random ones. Oh look, there is Megan Fox talking policy with Dick Cheney. Can you believe that Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lopez are posing for pictures with Michelle Obama? Who knew that Ashton Kutcher is as tall as Mitt Romney? See how much fun that was, and it was fake!

Question and Answer Period: The one thing that separates Comic-Con panels from the conventions is that, when it comes to the former, the fans get the opportunity to converse with the big names. Fans get to grill writers, directors, producers, and actors about just how they’re going to handle their favorite fictional properties. Why shouldn’t the delegates be allowed the chance to ask Mitt Romney and Barack Obama some questions? Won’t that add some spontaneity? These are going to be very hospitable audiences. If there was a time for the “town hall” format to flourish, this is it.

More Exciting Footage: At Comic-Con this year, fans were rewarded with footage of the new Hobbit movie. That’s awesome. What are we going to get at the convention this year? A skit of Donald Trump telling Barack Obama, “You’re fired.” Snoozeville. If you’re going to make some clips, at least make them as inventive and exciting as the shows at the Con.

Booth Babes: You know how on the floor of the convention there are all those little signs announcing each state? Why can’t those be held up by girls or guys in skimpy outfits? Seriously, let’s finally give back, candidates.

Endless Swag: The best part about Comic-Con? Free stuff! Attendees can pick up figurines, posters, autographs, and, of course, comic books for no charge. What do you get at the political conventions? A “Barack Obama Hope” pin? A foam Mitt Romney #1 Mitten with a finger pointing in the air? An American flag lapel pins? Sorry, conventions: We would prefer more creative swag like “Cabinet Trading Cards” or “Speaker of the House Masks.”

Make Your Promises Come True: When producers announce they’re prepping a remake at Comic-Con, fans will see said remake in theaters. When a director announces the star of a picture, said actor actually stars in the movie. When we see early footage from a TV show, said footage eventually ends up in the pilot. When we get promises of change, new programs, or promised bipartisanship at a political convention, it never really happens. Sure, release dates can change, but the movie eventually comes out. Maybe if we thought that the things we heard at this big shindig would actually come true, we’d be a little bit more invested in the outcome.

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan

[Photo Credit: AP Photo]


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