Convention Stories Part 1

This weekend starts our 2023 Tour! I’m stating the obvious, but I absolutely LOVE going to conventions. I’ve been incredibly blessed to go to several of them, and was able to meet so many of my favorite writers, artists and actors. My first thought was to write a single blog post about my favorite convention memories. I weeded out the conventions we’ve been to as vendors because I’ve already shared those stories. But as I began collecting thoughts (and pictures) I realized, there’s way too much content for a single post! So, as I’ve done before, I’m going to post this as a series over the several weeks. Here’s the first wave of some of my favorite convention memories!

Convention Number One– I think the best place to start this collection of stories, is at the beginning. Way back in the year 2014, a young Rob and his friend Gardner embarked on their very first journey to Indiana Comic Con in Indianapolis. We were like kids on Christmas morning, so excited for all that we would see that Saturday. When we got there we excitedly walked from booth to booth taking in as much as we could. Being the X-men fan/nerd that I was/am, I was especially excited that artist George Perez and actor Daniel Cudmore (of the second and third X-Men movies) would be in attendance. Being the naive kids that we were, we hadn’t yet learned of this popular new show “Game of Thrones” that was about to start its fourth season on HBO. We walked by Maisie Williams several times and didn’t even think about stopping in her line. Gardner, who became a gigantic fan of the show, sheds a tear every time we talk about that. We fell in love with the convention scene and vowed to be back many, many times (even if we did get swindled by a carnie!)

Gardner and me with actor Daniel Cudmore

Meeting the Princess– If I was forced to wipe out all of my convention memories and I could only keep one, I would keep the memory of meeting Carrie Fisher at our second Indiana Comic Con. I remember texting Gardner back in the fall of 2014, it was something along the lines of “Dude! Did you see Princess Leia is going to be at Indy Comic Con?!?!?!” Our day consisted of waiting in line to get our picture with the princess, and then waiting in line to get her to autograph our photos. While waiting in lines, we took turns looking at other things, and meeting other celebs, while the other held the spot. She was worth every minute of the wait. She was sweet while still showing her snarky charm, and the autograph I got will always be one that I cherish.

Gardner and me with Carrie Fisher

A Marevel-ous First Pop Con with my sister, Katie– I’ve been to one convention without Gardner. I don’t remember why he wasn’t able to go, but I suspect it was pretty dang important. This one time was the first Indiana Pop Con I attended, and this time took my younger sister, Katie. She had never been to any thing like this before, and having now been to a few, it was neat to see someone else’s introduction to comic con life. The celebrities, vendors, and adults dressed in costumes nowhere near Halloween are a lot to take in your first time! While we were there, we met one of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Pom Klementieff. She played “Mantis” in GotG 2 and subsequent Avengers movies. We also met another Marvel actress Elizabeth Henstridge who played “Agent Jemma Simmons” on Marvel’s Agents of Shield.

My sister, Katie and me with Guardians of the Galaxy actress Pom Klementieff
Katie and me with Agents of Shield actress Elizabeth Henstridge

Meeting One of my Heros– Last but certainly not least was the experience of meeting writer Chris Claremont. When I grew up in Las Vegas, I LOVED all things X-Men and especially the hero, Wolverine. I had several action figures, watched the animated TV series, and even dressed as Wolverine for Halloween one year! That love for the X-Men never went away. As I grew older, and learned more about the people who created these stories and characters, I learned about Chris Claremont, a Marvel LEGEND! Mr. Claremont wrote some of the X-Men’s best (and most famous) storylines. The cartoon I watched as a kid, many of his stories were the source material. The live action movies I watched as a teenager and adult, several of those used his stories for the source material too. One of his most popular (if not the most popular) was Days of Future Past, which became both a several episode arc on the animated series, and arguably the best of all the X-Men movies to date. I’m telling you all of his credentials and history, because it’s part of my history. I believe we all have a ripple effect that involves other people. Sometimes we affect people close to us, and sometimes we effect people we’ve never met. Mr. Claremont’s stories about super heroes got me interested in superheroes at a young age. That interest rippled into me creating my own character in the study hall at DHS. That rippled into me writing a book. The best part about meeting Mr. Claremont was how he treated me and the other fans. He was very sweet, and seemed genuinely happy to see the people that were happy to see him. My one regret about our encounter was that I hadn’t figured out that I wanted to be a writer yet when I met him. I was just there as a fan, happy to see someone who wrote some of my favorite stories. I hope one day, our comic con paths cross again, and I can gift him a copy of Super Penguin, and tell him all about the ripple effect that his stories had on my life.

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