If you're headed to Comic Con this weekend, you may worry that you won't get into the best panels, or humiliate yourself in front of a movie star. But it could be much worse, as 15 classic tales have proved.
Galaxy Quest: Granted, the worst thing that happened at the actual convention celebrating the long-cancelled (and nonexistent) TV show Galaxy Quest was its star getting wasted and telling off a fan. But a long ways away, the Thermians were experiencing the minor crisis of genocidal war. For them, the convention is a bit of a salvation, as it puts them in touch with the actor they mistakenly believe to be the heroic Capitain Peter Taggart.
Futurama "Where No Fan Has Gone Before": Yes, the slaughter of all Star Trek fans (whose conventions had evolved into religious ceremonies) was pretty horrible, but the cast of the original Star Trek series seemed more miffed by the actions of noncorporeal fanboy Melllvar, who stages the most annoying Star Trek convention ever, and forces them to battle the crew of Planet Express.
Family Guy "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven": After watching the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation field a litany of irrelevant fan questions, a frustrated Stewie builds a transporter and kidnaps the actors to stage his own personal Star Trek convention (taking a page, it seems, from Futurama's Melllvar). And, in the spirit of the show, he kills off Denise Crosby early on.
CSI "A Space Oddity" and "Fur and Loathing": Some fans will take drastic measures to keep their favorite shows from getting remade. In "A Space Oddity," a filmmaker looking to remake the cult TV show Astro Quest turns up murdered. As if that weren't a sufficiently obvious reference to Battlestar Galactica, Grace Park, Kate Vernon, Rekha Sharma, and Ron D. Moore all have cameos.
Perhaps more notorious is the episode "Fur and Loathing," where a dead murder victim is found wearing a raccoon fursuit, leading the CSI team to a furry convention. But it's portrayed as less a fan convention than an opportunity for costumed attendees to "yiff" one another.
Mr. Monk in Outer Space by Lee Goldberg: How do you get away with murdering a science fiction creator? Dress as one of the show's most popular characters and escape into the convention. That's the set-up for the fifth Monk novel, where Monk must investigate the creator of the fictional scifi drama Beyond Earth, and rely on his agoraphobic fanboy brother to help identify the killer.
Bones "The Princess and the Pear": When a booth babe from a science fiction and fantasy convention is found decomposing in a nearby sewer pipe, her fellow convention-goers seem less concerned for her well-being than for the fate of a sword she owned, a prop from an early fantasy film. The otherwise geeky team is out of their element here, relying on gloomy intern Colin Fisher and wunderkind psychologist Lance Sweets (who, amusingly enough, dons a redshirt Star Trek uniform) to infiltrate the con.
Numb3rs "Graphic": Admittedly, this episode of Numb3rs has occupies a soft spot in my heart, and not for the theft-of-priceless-comic-book-ends-in-murder primary plotline. It's because in addition to Numb3rs star David "Mr. Universe" Krumholt, it features Wil Wheaton as a douchebag collector.
Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb: Sharyn McCrumb's novel is an object lesson for all crotchety creators. Appin Dungannon is a fantasy author whose temper is so legendary that his fans attend conventions just to watch him throw furniture. When the small-statured author winds up dead, a hard science fiction author (implausibly named James O. Mega) has to figure out if one of Dungannon's fans took his insults to heart.
Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones: Jones' novel brings the entire multiverse down on an unsuspecting scifi and fantasy convention. Rupert is a Magid, a sort of magical lobbyist aiming to make Earth more magic-friendly. When his mentor dies, Rupert must take on an apprentice, and he gathers all the likely candidates at science fiction convention. Naturally, when things go awry, all multiverse breaks loose, leaving the convention vulnerable to rampant centaurs and assassins.
Atomic Betty "Cosmic Comicon": Conventions just wouldn't be the same without the occasional supervillain attack. When Atomic Betty's pal Noah publishes Atomic Chick a comic book based on her adventures, Dr. Cerebral becomes confused by a fan cosplaying "Dr. Brainy," and launches an attack on the convention. But, fortunately, a group of cosplayers portraying Atomic Chick make short work of him.
Sandman "The Doll's House": The "cereal convention" described in the second arc of Neil Gaiman's epic comic series isn't precisely a fan convention, but it's too weird and disturbing to ignore. Like any other group of professionals, serial killers apparently need to meet, hold panels, and swap trade secrets. But woe unto any tourist who inadvertently wanders into panels titled, "Women in Serial Killing" or "There is No Sanity Clause."
Power Rangers: Dino Thunder "Drawn into Danger": Who knew that Artists' Alley could be weaponized? The Power Rangers run into typical trouble at a comic convention, where their nemesis/high school principal hands a famous comic book artist a magical pen that traps the Rangers in a superpowered battle with the latest monster of the week, Fridgia.
Roswell "The Convention": It's no surprise that the city of Roswell, New Mexico, would attract the occasional alien enthusiast convention. And, given that Jonathan Frakes numbers among Roswell's executive producers, it's hardly shocking that Commander Riker would make a guest appearance. What couldn't be anticipated is the bloodshed that ensues when a conspiracy theorist meets up with an actual alien.
The Simpsons "Mayored to the Mob": Generally, the worst thing to hit Springfield fan conventions is the Comic Book Guy and his perpetually superior attitude. But during one ""Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con," a riot sparks, threatening to kill Star Wars actor Mark Hamill. And in, a first for celebrity guest stars on The Simpsons, Hamill finds Homer Jay Simpson is his only hope.