Every week in REFLECTIONS, I ask the creator being interviewed a lightning round of questions like what their favorite superhero movie is, what they want to be remembered for, among others. In celebration of this weekend’s Comic Con International in San Diego, I’ve compiled a list of your favorite creators’ reactions to the following question:
“What was your weirdest convention experience?”
Tony Bedard – Writer, “Supergirl,” “The Legion of Super-Heroes,” “Countdown”
I spent a week in San Diego and it was me and three other creators in a hotel room, and by the end of the room it smelled like stinky feet. Just like really dirty socks.
Frank Beddor – Writer, “The Looking Glass Wars,” “Hatter M”
I was signing copies of the UK edition of "The Looking Glass Wars" and in the din of the convention I didn’t quite hear someone’s name correctly so I wrote the wrong name in the book. So I had to sign another one and I figured I would just have to eat the cost of the screw-up. But later in the convention I ran out of books and I had a mad horde of potential readers demanding copies so I offered the ‘wrong name’ copy at a discount — someone quickly offered to buy it and wanted me to X out the wrong name and write their name in. Fun. Okay.
“So the next day a friend of this person’s shows up and has an unsigned copy of the book they had bought earlier. They wanted me to write an incorrect name into the book, X it out, and write their name next to it. This is probably how weird trends develop. I want it acknowledged that "The Looking Glass Wars" was ground zero for this one.
Adam Beechen – Writer, “Robin,” “Countdown,” “Justice League Unlimited”
I got booed at WonderCon.
It was part of the DC Nation panel where I was announced as being exclusive. I was the last person introduced and Dan was introducing everyone by their credits, and he got to me and said "And here’s the man who made Cassandra Cain evil, Adam Beechen." Nothing else! That’s what he said! And I got booed by 250 people. Which was really fun. So I got up there and said, "Your boos only nourish my blackened soul."
After, some people came up to me and told me they wanted to give the book a try because of what I said during the panel.
Fast forward to a month later, I was doing another DC Nation panel, and he is introducing everyone by their credits, and he got to me and said, "I have to be careful, because the last time I introduced him as ‘the man who made Cassandra Cain evil’ and everybody booed." And everybody started booing. So I said to Dan, "Thanks for not doing that again."
Hopefully at some point in my career I can be known as something else.
Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo – Writers, “The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive”
PD: The first time we went to one…
DB: That six-foot-six Supergirl was pretty weird. [laughs]
PD: Yes, the transvestite, transsexual…
PD: Trans-something superhero that we saw at a ComicCon was startling. The whole experience of walking into these spaces and the absolute dedication of the fans to make these costumes and be these characters still startles me. It’s really endearing. I can’t imagine myself doing it, and yet, it’s amazing how fully committed these people are.
Mike Carey – Writer, “X-Men,” “Hellblazer,” “Confessions of a Blabbermouth”
Having a guy sit in front of me and draw my picture while I was talking to people in a signing booth. He didn’t ask or anything, just sat down and started drawing me. He gave me the picture and it was pretty cool, but I still don’t know his name or anything!
Matthew Clark – Artist, “Outsiders,” “Teen Titans, “Superman/Batman”
Someone coming up and telling me that he likes girls in comics because "they’re better than the real ones."
Christos Gage – Writer, “Stormwatch PHD,” “The Authority,” “World War Hulk: X-Men”
Last year at San Diego, I was signing at the DC booth, and among the banners in back of me was one of Krypto. A very irate man in his fifties came up and ranted at me about the fact that in the new cartoon, Krypto can talk. This gentleman was quite firm about the fact that Krypto had never spoken before and should not start now. I could offer no defense, since I’ve never seen the cartoon and have nothing to do with it, but this guy had a grievance and wanted to air it, so I sat there and nodded sympathetically and hoped he wasn’t armed.
Seth Green – Writer, “The Freshmen II,” “Robot Chicken”
I got recognized while wearing a mask. A very disguising mask. Then I got followed and approached all day by kids who wanted me to admit I was me. Super weird and embarrassing.
Charlie Huston – Writer, “Moon Knight”
I was giving away copies of one of my vampire novels, and I was pulling people out of the passing crowd who looked like they might be into vampire stuff (and they aren’t that hard to find at a convention) and I grabbed this guy who was wearing a lot of goth-type stuff. I realized he had the fang caps in his mouth, and he invited me to a vampire party he and his friends were having that night.
Frazer Irving – Artist, “Gutsville,” “Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witch Boy”
Crashing a DC party and being told by Chris Weston that Grant Morrison would like to meet me because he is a fan.
Paul Jenkins – Writer, “Sidekick,” “The Spectacular Spider-Man,” “Inhumans”
Oh God, there are billions of them!
I was being the token celebrity guest at a Wizard booth and we were playing a sort-of "Wheel of Fortune" game. If you don’t get the question on the wheel then you have to do a physical challenge.
I told a guy to walk on his hands from one booth to another. But everyone looked shocked. I looked and the guy only had one arm! I felt awful, just awful.
Wait, there is another!
I’ve got an even worse one. I was at the Dragon Con and decided to go hang out with fans. I like the fans and am always happy to hang out with them. I went through the con and came to a makeup table, where they give people googley eyes and Austin Powers teeth and things like that. I walk up to a woman with Austin Powers teeth and yell "nice teeth!" at her. Of course they were her teeth, not false teeth. I didn’t have the social grace to deal with it, so I squeaked a little and ran away.
Dan Jurgens – Writer-Artist, “The All-New Booster Gold,” “Countdown,” “Metamorpho: Year One”
One time I was in Chicago and there was an individual wandering through the main entrance area. He was sweating profusely and his eyes were as glassy as glassy could get. And people were just passing by him! I saw he was about ready to keel over, and I went up and asked if I could help him out. He was about to go into diabetic shock. It’s one of those things you don’t expect, when you are a professional, to be able to help, and it was amazing to be able to do that, but at the same time I couldn’t believe all those people were passing by him. It was a gratifying and depressing experience all rolled into one.
Joe Kelly – Writer, “Supergirl,” “JLA/Cyberforce,” “Deadpool”
At my very first convention someone came up to me and wanted me to sign his books, but had ripped holes in the plastic around it for me to sign through. He didn’t want me to touch the comics.
I found that very – unique. I couldn’t touch the comics that I wrote.
Leonard Kirk – Artist, “Agents of Atlas,” “Marvel Adventures: Avengers,” “The Incredible Hulk”
My weird convention experiences have been embarrassingly tame, so I will only mention one. It happened at San Diego about six or seven years ago. I was asked to take a turn doing portfolio reviews for Friends of Lulu which is an organization focused on getting more women and girls into comics both as readers and creators as well as championing the positive portrayal of female characters in comics, getting away from the busty sex object stereotype.
A guy who looked to be in his fifties sat down at my table and I began to flip through his portfolio. I was a little surprised to find myself looking at the most incredibly graphic "furry" porn I have ever seen in my life. Actually, at that time, it was the only furry material I had ever seen.
[Editor’s note: For the uninitiated, "furries" are comics featuring anthropomorphized animal characters, often depicted in stories with very "adult" themes]
In any case, I asked the man if he knew what Friends of Lulu was and he said he didn’t. He just wanted to have his portfolio reviewed. I went ahead and looked at his work, pointing out areas that needed improvement in terms of drawing skill and storytelling. I also kindly suggested that, in the future, he pick and choose who sees his material very carefully. I can only imagine what might have happened to the guy if someone else from Friends of Lulu had been at that table. I can think of at least a couple of ladies who would have torn him a new one.
Jeph Loeb – Writer, “Heroes,” “The Ultimates 3,” “Batman: The Long Halloween”
I was working in the “X-Men” office. Scott Lobdell and I were what they would refer to as “Loebdell” because we would often write together. Anyway, we were at a convention and Scott somehow found this transvestite who dressed up like Emma Frost, but he’s kind of pretty in a weird way. It wasn’t like a man dressed as a woman. It’s one of those moments where you are oddly disturbed to find out it’s a man. And he/she sits with us, and started signing comics with us. Bob Harras came in, and he turned a shade of red I didn’t think a man could turn without his head exploding. And he threw him/her out and scolded us. Then I think Bob was dating him/her for awhile [laughs].
Aaron Lopresti – “Incredible Hulk,” “What If? Avengers: Disassembled”
Until recently I have never had a good convention story. Last year at SuperCon in Oakland, I was sitting sketching in the hotel bar with Adam Hughes, Phil Noto and a bunch of guys waiting to get sketches from Adam. Some drunk guy sat down next to me and started gushing about how great he thought I was and how he always wanted to meet the great….Adam Hughes! Everyone started busting up laughing, I believe Adam buried his head in his sketch to hide his hysterical laughter. How someone could mistake me for Adam, especially when he was sitting right across from me drawing, was amazing.
I pointed out his mistake and he begged my forgiveness and asked who I was. When I told him he responded, "I’m really sorry but how am I supposed to know every new artist that breaks into comics". Of course, everyone started busting up laughing again. It was a very humbling and humiliating experience for a twelve plus year pro like me.
Jimmy Palmiotti – Writer-Inker, “Countdown,” “Jonah Hex,” “Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters”
[It was] being asked by another creators’ girlfriend to have sex with her while he watched.
No – I will never tell you who it is. Ever. And no, I didn’t do it.
Mike Perkins – Artist, “Union Jack,” “Captain America”
I had lunch with a guy who confessed to me that he had stolen one of Jeph Loeb’s tickets to a Joss Whedon panel – and then faked a bad leg so that he could sit up front. I think he actually sat in John Cassaday’s or Joe Quesada’s seat. He had to limp around the convention for the rest of the weekend.
[Editor’s note: For the record, that person was REFLECTIONS writer Robert Taylor]
Greg Rucka – Writer, “Gotham Central,” “52,” “Checkmate”
The time I killed Rich Johnston. [laughs]
Walt Simonson – Writer-Artist, “Hawkgirl,” “Superman,” “Orion”
I was once asked to draw a picture of Rogue on a lady’s breast at a San Diego con. Where was this stuff when I was young and single!?
Hugh Sterbakov – Writer, “Freshmen II”
One year, in San Diego, while Seth was signing with the cast of "Buffy," I was slammed to the ground by a ridiculously overzealous security guy. I didn’t even see him coming, he totally blindsided me. And I was carrying a gift for Seth that he’d bought for Joss Whedon, who I really admire. I got hurt, and embarrassed, and very, very angry. Security guard didn’t like me when I was angry.
Mark Verheiden – Writer, “Battlestar Galactica,” “Superman/Batman”
It was in Columbus Ohio, probably in the late ’80s when I was writing "The Phantom" for DC. A guy comes up to me and asks, "when did the Phantom get married in the comic strip continuity?" I told him I had no idea, and he stormed off really pissed. He comes back a few minutes later, madder still. I had just done a Secret Origins story involving Two-Face and evidently we had changed Harvey Dent’s wife’s name. I believe it had been "Gilda Gold" and the editor and I both agreed that was kind of silly. That explanation did not placate my accuser, who was furious at the alteration. He stormed off again, then came back a third time, squinted at my name tag and scrawled down my name, angrily telling me that he was going to "report" me to my editor. For a second I thought he was gonna bust me in the face, but my being 6′ 5" may have dissuaded him.
Mark Waid – Writer, “52,” “All-Flash,” “The Brave & The Bold”
Oh God, where do I start?
Alex Ross and I were doing a store signing for "Kingdom Come" ten years ago in Maryland, in the mall. It was great, and we were thrilled because of the walk-by traffic and it was Sunday and the mall would be packed.
And they got the Baltimore Klingon Masquerade Society to work security. In full Klingon get-up and make-up.
The entire experience very quickly went from moms walking by and pointing and saying gleefully "Oh, it’s Superman and Batman, Johnny!, Let’s check it out!" to "Don’t look at the weird men, Johnny. Keep walking! Keep walking!"
They were terrified of letting their children anywhere near us!
The story doesn’t stop there, go to the CBR forums and share your favorite “weird” convention experiences!