SAN DIEGO—Sources confirmed Tuesday the comic book and sci-fi expo Comic-Con was once again tarnished by the presence of the increasingly popular Bully-Con, a brutal event held simultaneously in the same convention space and attended by some of the nation's most die-hard fans of pummeling nerds.
Now in its fifth year, Bully-Con reportedly drew more than 125,000 tormentors of all stripes to the San Diego Convention Center, many of whom said that for people really into making life miserable for those weaker than themselves, there was nothing quite like the massive four-day gathering.
"I don't necessarily have to travel to San Diego to slap a copy of Spider-Man out of some pussy's hands, but there's something special about coming together with thousands of people who really dig the same sort of cruelty you do," said Houston-area goon Marty Badolato, adding that he quickly made half a dozen new friends while shoving people exiting a Q&A with Tick creator Ben Edlund. "It just blew my mind to be in a single building completely surrounded by so many people making nerds flinch."
"And check out the cool swag," added Badolato, holding up two halves of an autographed photo of Star Trek actress Nichelle Nichols that he had torn up moments after a fan had gotten the signature. "I've got a tote bag filled with stuff like this."
In just a few short years, Bully-Con has grown from a small group of thugs roaming the Comic-Con exhibition halls in search of geeks to harass as they peruse fantasy miniatures into a phenomenon in its own right. This year's installment featured more than 200 breakout sessions, including a workshop on headlock technique, a retrospective look at the history of menacingly whispering "faggot," and a seminar on Japanese ijime bullying, which in the past decade has become tremendously popular in the United States.
The centerpiece of this year's event was an all-star panel discussion in which celebrated bullies past and present offered advice on how to go to the Comic-Con panel on The Walking Dead and absolutely ruin it.
"When we started this, it was just me and a couple of friends who wanted to taunt some Joss Whedon fans," said Bully-Con co-founder Chet Olsen, who told reporters he never imagined he and 300 fellow bullies would one day heckle the host of a Firefly trivia contest to the point of tears, or push writer Matt Fraction down a hill behind the convention center. "It's so much bigger than that now, and while I'm proud of my contribution, a lot of the credit goes to ordinary bullies who travel out here from around the country."
"Well, them and all the dorks," Olsen added. "It wouldn't be any fun without those little shits."
Indeed, over time, Comic-Con has become almost as well-known for the colorful costumes of its attendees as for the scheduled convention events themselves, an element Bully-Con attendees said had become a huge part of the experience for them as well.
"It's fun to sneak up behind people dressed as Boba Fett, rip the helmet off, and leave them standing there with their dumb heads sticking out of body armor," said bully Rod Fitzgerald, adding that his girlfriend was also a bully and loved telling girls dressed like Kate Beckinsale's Underworld character that anyone as fat and disgusting as they were had a lot of nerve wearing skin-tight leather. "I've been coming to Bully-Con since the beginning, and going up to some dweeb in robes and glasses, and twisting his arm until he screams, 'My name is Homo Potter!' just never gets old."
Fitzgerald smiled and added, "Man, I can't wait until October for New York Bully-Con."