Forget making the annual pilgrimage this weekend to the world's largest geek mecca, San Diego Comic-Con.
This Saturday at Tate's Comics in Lauderhill, owner Tate Ottati is re-creating the majesty of the massive convention at his comic-book shop, handing to fans what pop-culture junkies crave most: swag bags stuffed with loot from San Diego.
"I fly out to San Diego and spend two days here collecting hordes of stuff, then I catch a red-eye back on Saturday morning, all to give the people some awesome swag," says Ottati, whose annual Tate's Not at Comic-Con is the store's parody of and tribute to the West Coast event.
To receive the aforementioned swag, Tate's visitors must first navigate another faithful re-creation of the convention vibe: the interminable lines. In his Line to Nowhere gag, hundreds of South Florida nerds must serpentine through Tate's Comics' many aisles, only to discover that the line terminates … nowhere.
"It's a little like torture," Ottati admits. "But it's a lot less time than waiting three or four hours just to get a button, or to see Ryan Reynolds from far away."
Saturday's Not at Comic-Con will also feature comic-book artists in air-conditioned booths outside the venue, along with an Xtreme Comic Trivia Challenge for more giveaways, and the return of Tate's Cosplayrade, a costume contest for best-dressed geeks. (Info: noon-4 p.m. 4566 N. University Drive. Free. 954-748-0181 or go to TatesComics.com.)
And this year, two other venues are giving South Florida nerds much-closer (and much-cheaper) alternatives to the con.
On Friday, the Young at Art Museum (751 SW 121st Ave., Davie) is hosting its 7th annual Teen Comic Convention, in which the museum is transformed into a small-scale con featuring animated works from Young at Art teens. There are superhero cape- and cartoon flipbook-making workshops. Gaming stations will host video-gaming contests; YAA's resident cartoonist, Rob Cabrera, will stage a digital cartooning demo; and prizes will also go to winners of the venue's Quick Draw Contest and a Cosplay Costume Contest. (Info: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. $12-$13. 954-424-0085 or go to YoungAtArtMuseum.org.)
Those attending the Mini Comic Con at the Mandel Library on July 27 (411 Clematis St., West Palm Beach) may recognize the event's official ambassador: West Palm Beach stuntwoman Cynthia Morrison, whose risky business as the "Great Cindini" has included liberating herself from a straitjacket and handcuffs while underwater and escaping from Ohio State Reformatory (the prison in the "Shawshank Redemption"). Morrison will officiate the costume contest at the event, which also includes giveaways, movie screenings and an anime-drawing contest. (Info: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 561-868-7705 or go to WPBPL.com.)