I love the San Diego Comic-Con. I've been going every other year (or so) since 1996. There's a number of people who complain because they think it's gotten too media heavy,with less emphasis on comic books. My simple take on this is that when they expanded the convention center space they used all that extra space for pop culture, yet they've kept the same amount of space for comics and such. Since that was a lot of space back in the day, it's still a lot of space now. I'm still able to meet all the writers and artists I want to. I'm still able to get sketches, original art, autographs, and early issues of Amazing Spider-Man without sacrificing my love of pop culture. But, because I work at Carol and John's Comic Shop, going to a local comic convention just doesn't hold the same allure for me anymore. My list of back issues that I need gets smaller and smaller.
So I've been going to horror film conventions in the area. The short story for those of you who don't know - I have three notebooks that I filled with my reviews of all the films I watched during 1988 to about 1996. So whenever I meet someone who starred in a movie that I reviewed, I have them sign by that review. It's made for some interesting stories (of which, I will only be relaying some of the most recent here).
A month ago, I went to Horrrorhound Weekend in Indianapolis with my buddy Jason. Honestly, the main reason I wanted to go was because Monica Keena was going to be there. I'm a huge fan of Undeclared (Judd Apatow's followup to Freaks and Geeks). But there were plenty of other people there that I was happy to meet.
First off, was Katharine Isabell of Ginger Snaps fame. I've got to say, she's actually more gorgeous in person than in any picture I've seen. She was also very nice as she signed my Ginger Snaps DVD (she wasn't in any movies that were in the notebook, so sometimes I have to make do).
The next person was Dana Ashbrook (Bobby from Twin Peaks). By far (by far!) one of the nicest people I have ever met. He was incredible! I would go to a convention just too meet him again.
Then it was a sprint as I got Vivica A. Fox (she whispered some secret Quentin Tarantino info to me), Larry Drake (who doesn't love Darkman?), Gerrit Graham (Used Cars, and the awesome and awful TerrorVision), Megan Ward (Freaked), Barry Bostwick (we bonded over the SyFy Moby Dick movie), Chris Marquette (who signed my Fanboys DVD, but like I told him, I could have just as easily had him sign my Joan of Arcadia DVDs), Zack Ward (Titus' brother and, of course, A Christmas Story), and Sherilyn Fenn (who I've met before, but she was still very nice).
Eventually Monica Keena showed up. She was very pleasant. I did not get a photo. I'll leave it at that.
Finally, I discovered the deal of the day. Sean Clark, the writer of a film called The Black Waters of Echo's Pond, was selling DVDs and BluRays of the film, and if you bought one, Danielle Harris, James Duvall, and Electra and Elise Avelon would sign it for free. I still haven't watched the movie yet (I'll probably get around to it in a couple of years).
I spent a lot of money at the show, but not as much as I brought, so I was able to have some extra cash to have a good meal at Red Lobster. I can be a simple man with simple needs.
This last Friday Cinema Wasteland started. The "get" for this convention was Dee Wallace. Obviously, Elliot's mom in E.T., but for me, the decision was between Critters and The Howling. But also, I was going to meet Chester Turner the mastermind behind one of the rarest VHS movies ever - Tales From the Quadead Zone.
And Chester was a real nice, soft-spoken gentleman. I bought the DVD of Quadead Zone even though I may never watch it, simply for the curiosity value.
Dee Wallace was a sweetie. I had her sign by Critters, and she got to tell me that she's taken more recent "evil" roles because she was tired of the "good" roles. I followed that with a visit to Donna Wilkes. She even read my review of Jaws 2 saying, "Yep" then signing it. I got a picture with her, and when I left I forgot one of my notebooks. She actually ran after me to give it back. My friend Laura had the best statement - "She got up from behind her table to bring your notebook to you? That's so cute! I wish I had gotten a picture of that." Donna Wilkes is awesome!
The last autograph of the day was Stephen Macht. I could have gone the easy route and had him sign by my review of The Monster Squad, because we all know Wolfman has nards. But instead, I went with Graveyard Shift. It's an awful movie, but it does have a tremendous performance by Stephen, which I mentioned. We had a great laugh about it, and he is simply a fantastic guy.
And a visit to the Wasteland wouldn't be complete without some purchases, and my very best one was a VHS copy of the movie Dudes with Jon Cryer, Daniel Roebuck, and Catherine Mary Stewart. It really is an undiscovered classic that has never been released on DVD. But I also bought a copy of Lon Chaney's He Who Gets Slapped. I saw it last week, and it made such an impression that I may even watch it again in the near future.
So two conventions in the last month. I may have spent more money than I needed to, but I had some great times, hung out with some good friends (Thanks Jason, Joe, and Laura!), and met a lot of cool people. And admission for both those shows was the same as it would have been if I went to Wizard World Columbus. I feel I made the right choice.