Back some months ago, by complete coincidence, I happened to get days off at work that allowed me to go to a comicbook convention, something entirely new to me. You see, I'm an anime fanboy. Large eyes, deformed proportions ("wai, wai!"), all the trademark expressions that go along with it...everything.
I admit that back some years ago, in grade and middle school, I liked Superman. Sure, he's a cliché superhero, but I was too young to notice. I mainly got pulled into the comics when he died (great time to start being a fan, ain't it XD ). All the drama followed, the "rise of the Supermen", etc., etc., and I still have that shiny covered comic when he finally comes back "for good", defeats the Cyborg, and saves the day. Since then, I collected a lot of Superman anthologies, like..."Superman vs. Aliens", the story behind Doomsday, and a myriad of comics. And I admit when I went to Six Flags, I wanted to go on their rollercoaster, "the Superman", for nostalgia's sake. ...crud, I sound like such a nerd talking about all this ^_^;
Superman fandom aside, while not a comicbook fan as far as some of my friends go (...egads, Stephanie has a collection! o_O ), I still like comicbooks! I've seen and enjoyed most of the comic-based movies that have come out, I like hearing about the stories, characters, and drama in many series, and I respect people like Stan Lee and other big comic creators. Sure it's not manga, but that doesn't mean I'll hold that fact against it :) So when I heard about Wizard World from a girl at work, of all people, then realized I could go...I wasn't sure if I should at first. Like I said...foremost I'm an anime fan. But...I'm not one to stick my nose up at something because I wasn't into it. I'm really, really more of an open-minded person than some people might give me credit for! I figured I'd have fun! =)
...so of course I dressed up ;D Speedy Cerviche, leader of the Samurai Pizza Cats, might not be "comic book", but dangit, I like that costume.
Thanks to directions from Fini, I rode the train and subway (in costume, boyee!) to Rosemont! And upon entrance to the convention center...I found not very many people decided to go in costume ^_^; A random Star Wars stormtrooper, the Joker, that bald guy with the red and green sunglasses...not too many. I didn't mind, though, being in costume is about enjoying yourself ;D
While there, I saw...well, a lot o_O I picked up a lot of stuff, mostly comic books and free swag (and a Slayers manga! XD). A few articles from "Batman Begins" were there, and a lot of famous comic authors too. A lot of them I didn't know...but a couple I did. Alex Ross was in attendance, and actually I picked up "Kingdom Come" there...though if you expected me to get it signed, you're crazy ^_^; That line was crazy long!! Apparently "Twisted" was there...I think. I just saw people with their faces painted up like Insane Clown Posse at a table, honestly don't know who they were. Also, Frank Miller was there as well. I honestly wanted to and tried to get his autograph for Darrell...but when I tried to get in line, I was told it was for "gold members only", and I needed a special bracelet. ...son of a.... -_- I stopped at View Askew's table, where I grabbed that autographed "Chasing Dogma" comic book for my pal Stephanie, and...yeesh, they had so much merchandise there! o_O Actually...the reason I put off writing about this convention was just because of that :) I didn't want to let Stephanie know I grabbed that book for her birthday (hah!) And though this convention might have been right at the start of August...I think that it deserves an entry. Just keep reading to see why.
Something I was happy about, though, was one of the few anime solaces they had...and surprisingly was getting far fewer attention than I'd have expected! Kelly Sheridan was there, and she's most noteably known for her role as the voice actor of Sango in "Inuyasha". I'm really not an Inuyasha fanboy, though I know plenty about the series because of how much Urd filled me in before x_X But anyways, I got her autograph on a big Inuyasha poster, and made sure she filled it out for my friend Jessica. She's such a huge fan of the series, and can be a bishie fangirl...and actually, I wasn't aware that she loved Sango's character. She was happy. I also told Miss Sheridan I thought Shippo was cool, and she told me she and his voice actor got along pretty nicely. And she also told me my costume was the one she liked best so far! -^_^- Yeeeee~!
I think my most memorable experiences were, as usual, in the Artist Alley. I don't...quite know if that was what it was technically called there, but there were a lot of things there I enjoyed. I picked up a book there called..."Testament", I think. It was a compilation of stories from the Bible done by many a famous comicbook author, and was remarkably done! The only reason I got it in the Artist Alley instead of a table in the main area was because the guy who apparently lead the project, instead of being an author himself, was there. I liked the way he signed it XD "In the beginning was the Word...and now here are the pictures! Enjoy!"
I met someone...well, actually a couple "someones", but a specific someone that I was a huge fan of, and yet nobody else knew him, and he wasn't even a guest! Just a normal attendee who had a friend in the Alley! Well, first I'll tell you all about Sam. The link there will take you to a mini-series comic that was held on Keenspot, though it wasn't drawn by the creator. "Sam" originally belongs to Becky Grutzik, and when I saw the comics sitting on her table, then confirmed she was the artist...I kind of melted XD I thought the mini-series comic was awesome, and actually I remembered being a little disappointed, because there wasn't more Sam out there! Just like Radical Edward, she was a psychotic girl with a gender-challenged name. I think that there were a total of...four or five Sam comics there, and I picked up every one! :)
But you see, the way I originally found "Sam" was because of a webcomic called "Jackie's Fridge" by a guy named B.J. Hiorns ("high-erns"). It was one of the first webcomics I read. While at first I was attracted to the anime style of it on the web button, I quickly fell in love with the art and also the story and humor of it all. He actually was the one who drew the Sam mini-comic I posted above. Because of my affiniation of his work, I was led to JoBeth.net, and found out about such other things out there like "The Nolans" (...stupid broken link), and became LJ compadres with its creator, Josh Nickerson, plus also found a couple other entertaining comics from B.J. and his wife Joey, like "Catball & Clowngirl" and "Tonja Steele". So when Miss Grutzik told me both B.J. and Joey were going to be in attendance, I kind of was dumbfounded for a moment. "...here?" I dumbly asked.
I honestly hope I don't sound like a stalker concerning Mr. Hiorns...and actually I was worried about sounding that way at the con too! ^_^; It's just that I have a huge, big level of respect for his work and the people that he's kept around him that, like I told him, I considered him "big". Sure, he might have just done a webcomic or three on the internet, but maybe, like how people consider Fred "Piro" Gallagher of "Megatokyo" so great, in the fact that it's web-based, you watch the comic update-by-update as it progresses, and it has a more personal feel to it, what with the author being able to talk about whatever along with the comic, maybe that's why I really respected the guy. ...crud, I can ramble o_O B.J. was sitting at Miss Grutzik's table, and when she recognized me in the Pizza Cat armor, she gave him a nudge, and made a small motion for me to come up. She introduced him, and I responded with sticking my hand out for a shake.
"Ah...hi! I'm a fan!"
"Well hi, fan! Do you have a name?"
He was actually a pretty awesome person! Both him and his wife (I actually got to meet them, Josh! XD)! B.J. autographed the Sam mini-comic he did that was getting sold there, and even drew a little sketch on there on his own! I even mentioned knowing Josh Nickerson because of him, and he asked me if I picked up his "Midshift" comic. I also mentioned I didn't know why they weren't on Keenspot yet (if you go from Keenspace to Keenspot...then you've "made it", as far as the internet elites are concerned). They both groaned and told me they didn't like Keenspot that much.... Apparently it kind of has a bad reputation among a lot of artists out there. ...I'm just a comic reader, I don't know this stuff! XD;; Before I left, I made sure to get a picture. Sure, I got a lot of pictures while I was there, including someone in Halo's Spartan armor, the Ghostbusters, Chun Li, Cobra Commander and Destro, Jason Mewes (yes, really him), and even Duffman ("OOH YEAH!!" XD)! But of all those...this one made me feel fulfilled.
I wanted to get Becky Grutzik in there too, she was right there...but I felt I was already asking enough of them (...and am I wrong, but does B.J. have a striking resemblance to this guy?).
One final story before I finish this entry, though. I wrote at the beginning I was at one point in my life a Superman fan, and I think in a small degree, I still am. I think life has a sense of humor sometimes, and will sometimes hit you with something suddenly from behind that you'd never have expected coming...literally.
I was taking a picture of someone in a really freaking tall costume with a lot of electronics in it (someone made a freaking good, creepy Grim Reaper-ish costume o_O ) when I felt a yank from behind. Not on any limbs, mind you, but on my tail. Somebody yanked my tail! I whirled around and saw some lady who looked vaguely familiar. It was one of those points, though, where you sort of recognize someone, but you don't know what to say. They might look like someone you know, they might've been someone you recently saw around, it might be someone with whom you weren't very familiar and hadn't seen in awhile, or it might be your imagination. You're not sure. And that's how this lady was to me. "Ohhh, it's a tail," she said! I tried being polite and kind of gave a smile to her.
Well, later on I ran into her again. She was sitting at a table in a part of the convention area that was actually around Mick Foley and, er...that guy that Bone Saw beat up before he went against Spiderman in the first movie (he's apparently semi-famous! ^_^; ). I talked to her for a little bit, and she asked me exactly what I was. She didn't grab the concept of a Samurai Pizza Cat at first ("Samurai Peace Cat?"). But I talked to her and found her to be actually a really amiable lady. I then noticed the pictures on her table, and suddenly I froze. Many showed her when she was younger, and a lot of them were with Christopher Reeves in his trademark role. Holy snap, she's...
"You're Margot Kidder!"
That's right, Margot Kidder. She was the original Lois Lane in the Superman movies and apparently now has a role in "Smallville". Margot Kidder pulled on my tail.
I stuttered, standing there, not sure what to say. You see, I know this is terrible to say, but I've never watched all the Superman movies...that is to say, the entirety of one. For one reason or another, whenever they were on tv, I watched some of one, then switched to something else for whatever reason. That's not to say they're not good movies, they have high acclaim from so many out there...but I...just...never watched them! I made an idiot out of myself when I then blurted out, "I-I'm...a fan!" I didn't want to tell her I remembered her voice being kind of squeaky sometimes in those movies, nor that I hadn't seen the movies, aside from bits and pieces. I wanted to get an autograph from her...buuuut unfortunately the pictures cost upwards of $20 o_O And when I was forced earlier to resign from buying an autographed Mr. T comicbook signed by Mr. T himself, because I was worried about train fare...yeeee-eahhh....
Going away from the convention, I felt elated. Some photographer even stopped me to get pictures for some newspaper! It was...a great time, and I was glad I went, and I hope to return next year, God willing. I'd like to watch the Superman movies now...at least one of them. I want to see Margot Kidder in the role that she was famous for. I came away from that comicbook convention with so many memories and mementos. Stephanie already said she's intent on going now as well, and we'd like to bring Steve Weiss and his girlfriend, Pauline. Steph's already working on costumes, though she intended them for Halloween. Apparently...she makes a good Batgirl, and I make a good Scarecrow. Tell me...what are you fears?
The moral of this story is that conventions are crazy places, where dreams are both dashed and realized. Make sure...you at least are semi-familiar with the guests at these places too. That's what the internet is there for. ^_^;