So, That Happened -- a Report from the Con
|Posted: 13 August 2018 at 7:59am | IP Logged | 1
• Getting There Isn't Half the Fun
The weekend very quickly developed a theme. My departure gate was as far as physically possible from the entrance at LaGuardia, and at Logan my arrival gate was equally far, if not further, from the exit. There was some confusion about where I was to be met on arrival, forcing me to walk back and forth several times along a very long concourse.
At the hotel, my room was as far from the elevator as it could be.
Walking to the con was literally a mile, even though the building was next door, so the con arranged door to door car service. Once in the con, tho, again the distances between places I was supposed to be were repeated. (At one point I actually surrendered to using a scooter, but the battery almost immediately ran out!)
Pretty much repeated for the trip home -- including a 40 minute weather delay.
• Day One
Only half a day, since the Con did not open until 4pm. I got to my table around 2, and sat chatting with various folk, including Howard Mackie and his wife Deb. Altho Howard and I are best buds and in regular contact, we estimated this was about seven years since we'd actually breathed the same air.
Wandered over to Neal Adams' booth and stood to one side until he noticed me. "JOHN?" Delighted to be recognized after so many years. We shook hands (I tried to sap his talent but was unsuccessful) and chatted for a while.
Made contact with a number of long ago folk, including Bob McLeod, Pat Broderick, Jae Lee, Amanda Connor & Jimmy Palmiotto.
Made a few new contacts, including Greg Capullo, David Finch, and a host of folk who, I will admit, were too many names for my old brain to hang onto.
Also met CB Cebulski, Marvel's new EiC.
• Day Two
First full day. Met the Forum's own John Kirk, who brought over Brent Spiner to say Hi. Thru the day there were a flurry of momentary meetings (of different durations) with various celebrities. Let's get the name dropping out of the way in one go: Jeff Goldblum, Wallace Shawn, Paul Reubens, Chris Sarandon, Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd. Second chat with Brent Spiner.
Signed a lot of books. Fans friendly and enthusiastic. Several were shocked that I didn't charge for autographs or photos.
Did a "spotlight" panel, moderated by Chris Ryall. Lots of interesting questions from the audience, tho some taxed my memory. My fans know my career much better than I do.
• Day Three
Shatner! The reason I was there. I was waiting in the Green Room when he entered thru a curtained doorway and walked straight over to me, hand extended. "John Byrne!" We shook, and I managed not to dissolve into a puddle of goo. (It might have been slightly helpful that I was meeting, effectively, Denny Crain, not Captain Kirk.)
We then did a brief moment on stage together, which began with me talking about how STAR TREK had come into my life, when I was 16, and then introducing Bill. (Ahem!) We talked for a while about TREK and comics (he is a long time reader), and then I scurried off to give him the stage to himself.
We had lunch together, again in the Green Room, and again I managed to keep it together. I did take a moment to ask if he would be interested in playing Captain Kirk's grandfather in NEW VISIONS, but he politely declined. (I asked if it was true he'd been on the Canadian HOWDY DOODY, but he said he did not remember.)
Another "spotlight" panel, which went well -- except for one blip. I showed the copy of the NEW VISIONS omnibus I'd gotten Shatner to sign, and someone in the audience immediately bleated "Not personalized?" Thanks for raining on that moment. Later Bill gave me a picture of the two of us on stage, framed and personalized.
A signing with Shatner. The STNV omnibus had been prepared at his request, a hardcover oversized volume containing issues 9 thru 16, plus the Gorn story. This is what we signed, and what he apparently wants to sign at other cons. (Saw a website that accused me of "fibbing" for having said Shatner liked the comic, since, when asked he said he did not know what it was. He sure seemed to know what it was when it was in front of him! He had lots of questions about my "process".)
Another, longer chat with Brent Spiner. We discovered we are close in age, and had a lot of childhood experiences in common. Nice guy.
Introduced myself to Maurice LaMarche, who did a classic double-take and said "JOHN BYRNE John Byrne?" Turned out he was a big fan, which was a real hoot for me. This encouraged me to geek out. "What are we going to do tonight, Brain?" I asked. He tucked his chin into his chest and responded, in character, "The same thing we do every night, John! Try to take over the World!" Super fun!
Had a breakfast meeting with CB.
• Final Notes
This was one of the best convention crews it has ever been my pleasure to work with. Really nice people. Special nods to Constance, Christine and Dave.
To the fans: I don't know who thinks these wrapped in plastic and bound in blue tape comics are a good idea, but the little "windows" left open for autographs were most restricting, and often on areas that afforded no real space for the autograph. Let's get rid of them!!