Comic Con: The Warm-Up Act – or, how we spent our 5th anniversary

Tall Paul and I observed our fifth anniversary – of our first date – this past weekend. We’ve usually commemorated it by returning to the place we met for lunch that day, but we just learned that it’s closed. It was just as well, though, since we’d made other plans for that day.

I may have mentioned previously that we’re planning to attend Comic Con International in San Diego this summer. Tall Paul went to a few science-fiction conventions during his college years, but it’s been awhile and the events were smaller then. We’ve talked about going to Comic Con before this year, but we’re actually going to do it this time. (Thank you, BlogHer, for moving this year’s conference back two weeks and avoiding that potential conflict!) We made the decision too late to get tickets for all four days, so we’ll only be there Thursday and Friday, but it’s a start.

San Diego was going to be my very first Con, but now it won’t be. We happened to find out about another one, sooner and closer to home, and we spent our anniversary day at the Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con. It’s a smaller event not associated with the San Diego Con, but it was a nice way for us to get a sense of what to expect there.

Some of the sights were pretty much what you’d expect. Comic books and collectibles for sale, props and crafts on exhibit, artists sketching and signing their work, costumed superheroes and video-game characters posing for photos – there was a lot going on. We didn’t attend any of the discussion sessions or screenings at this Con, but we did cruise the autograph area.

The “celebrities” at events like this are sometimes defined pretty loosely, and not everyone there signing things for fans was associated with comics or science fiction: for example, we saw a couple of actresses from the sitcom Three’s Company (OK, maybe that was fantasy in some respects), several stars from the WWE (granted, pro wrestling is make-believe), and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees (pictured in “then and now” versions).

But my husband had the chance to get autographs from several people he’s admired for a long time, including one of his greatest personal heroes, William “Captain James T. Kirk” Shatner. (I married a major Trekker – and when it’s major, you don’t call them “Trekkies”). That might have been enough, but following that with meeting Adam “Batman” West made a great day even better for him.

SHATNER! (Pictured in the background are LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner from Star Trek: The Next Generation.)

There’s a little irony in learning something new about your husband’s past on your anniversary. I heard for the first time about his early teenage crush on Yvonne Craig, who co-starred with Adam West as Batgirl; we had a nice little chat with her when she signed a photo for him. She admired his Big Bang Theory T-shirt (she’s also a fan!), which he told her was actually being sold by one of the vendors at the Con, although he’d worn his there.

I had known about his later teenage crush on actress Erin Gray, from the TV series Buck Rogers (those of you a bit younger than us may remember her better from the sitcom Silver Spoons), who we encountered a few minutes later; she was very nice to speak with as well, and now runs a company that actually contracts many of the celebrities who appear at events like the Con. When Tall Paul made a donation to a nonprofit she supports, she let me take their picture together.

My husband and one of my predecessors, and the BBT T-shirt Yvonne Craig liked

More of what you go to a Comic Con for:

I had more fun than I expected to at my first Con, and a lot of that was because I was there with Tall Paul. It was a joy for me to see my husband as happy as a kid at meeting some of his youthful heroes. (He’ll tell you all about it himself on his blog – this was a big enough deal to inspire his first post in months!) Since I didn’t know him when he actually was that young, I really enjoy seeing glimpses of that side of him. I enjoyed getting a feel for what awaits us in San Diego in July, too.

Have you ever been to a science fiction/comic fan convention? Got any advice for me?

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