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Sex, Drugs and Superheroes at Comic-Con International: San Diego

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David Reddish knows superheroes. And sex. And drugs. So much so that he wrote a book a few years ago called Sex, Drugs and Superheroes: A Savage Journey Into a Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy, which, since its publication, has served as a de facto gay guide to the world's biggest comic book convention: Comic-Con International: San Diego. On the eve of this year's Con, I spoke to David about what he loves, what he hates and what to do if you visit.

What's been your fave SDCC experience?

You know, it's interesting: Outside of my author experiences, which are always incredible, I remember seeing footage from Superman Returns for the first time and the incredible ovation it invited. People cheered and screamed for what felt like forever. I saw grown men jumping up and down on their chairs, crying. I've never seen anything like that before or since. Now, if only the finished movie had been that inspiring!

Your worst?

Oh, Lord, I don't like to think about it. The crowding, on the whole, has gotten out of control, and it doesn't seem like CCI does much to handle it. The "industry" element has also expanded to the point of utter bloating; instead of fans and enthusiasts excited about comics or film, we get social climbers in business who have only disdain for the convention and the people who love it, and they manage to get preferential treatment and block normal convention goers from getting hotel rooms. It makes me very angry.

What's the best party to attend?

The private parties are always great, intimate, where people can enjoy really getting to know each other. Otherwise, I'm partial to the Heroes and Villains party at Rich's in Hillcrest. It's usually on Friday or Saturday night, and it's full of hot guys in costume. That's always fun.

Where's the best place to stay?

Anywhere in the Gaslamp district, or anywhere on the trolley line. Getting to and from the convention by car is next to impossible in the daytime, and having a place close-by offers a convenience should you need a break, or should you buy too much stuff to carry around the Con. Hotels have gotten outrageous-expensive and next to impossible to find, in particular the major chains. There are a few off-the-map, European-style or independent hotels that still offer competitive rates in a great area. The City Concierge can usually help find them.

Where can you meet the hottest guys?

Depends on your taste, but the afterparties or the Saturday Gay Mixer are great ways to make a connection. Men and women at Con tend to be very approachable as well, so if you were to compliment that guy dressed as a soldier from 300 on his abs, he'll probably love the attention.

Where can you see the best cosplay?

Anywhere. Just open your eyes! Cosplay of different varieties, especially sexy cosplay, is always a highlight of the convention. It's part of the atmosphere and can be seen anywhere in the neighborhood. For people watchers, finding a bench in the GardenWalk just outside the Con is a great way to get a great view.

What are you looking forward to the most this year?

Signing my new novel, The Passion of Sergius and Bacchus! Besides that, for me the draw is the people. I love to make new friends and hear awesome Con stories, and there's an awesome feeling of fraternity and camaraderie for those of us who attend. It just feels like being home.

What do you think of the the slate of DCU TV shows being shown this year (e.g., Gotham, The Flash, and Constanine)?

I think it's quite ambitious. I've little personal interest in the shows; I've no desire to see a Batman-less Batman show or a softcore CW porn version of The Flash. Constantine is a great character, but doing away with the character's bisexuality and cynical edge robs him of some of his distinctiveness. I'd love to see a more ambitious adaptation of a comic that really tries to explore the themes without pandering to a general audience which might only watch shows for pretty people or insipid, tired stories.

Marvel or DC?

That's choosing between my children, man! [Laughs.] Batman is my favorite, but I identify more with Magneto of the X-Men stories. So I guess I'm just slutty when it comes to my comic publishers!

What's the one thing you would tell someone who thinks comics aren't cool?

At Comic-Con? I'd tell the bastard to get the hell out of our Con! It's too crowded even without the haters!

Which superhero is the biggest jerk?

This is a trap waiting to happen! I've never much cared for Wolverine, actually. I find him a nuisance. I've met Len Wein, his creator, several times, and he's a charming man, but Wolverine never did much for me.

Who has the coolest costume? And the worst?

The costumes change all the time, but I'm partial to Magneto. He gets a helmet, armor and a cape and still looks bad-ass! The worst costume? Poor Wonder Woman looks fairly ridiculous in her Amazon bikini. It's iconic, yes, but nobody who beats criminals to a pulp would wear that out of the house. I know, I know, a group of little gay boys just took out a hit on my life. Wouldn't be the first time.

What's been your strangest Comic-Con experience?

Interesting. If I can be self-indulgent for a moment, the year my novel Sex, Drugs and Superheroes came out, I got to meet Carrie Fisher [Princess Leia from Star Wars]. I love Star Wars, and I love her writing, which had a great effect on my own. She was darling: warm, friendly, kind and very funny. We had to excuse ourselves, as we both had to go sign autographs, and she asked me about my novel and congratulated me. As I walked to my booth to sign, I had an odd realization of, "That happened." That was pretty weird.

If you were going to do cosplay, who would you dress up as?

I dress like a lunatic all the time. Can't I just go as myself?

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