I always love it when people get to meet their number ones… I’m going to mine on Monday, so wish me luck kids… Anyway, getting to meet your number one person is always a thrill, and I think I get just as excited as they are when I hear about it.
I just got this really fun report by fellow fan Mike (what a great name…) who attended The Comikaze Expo this past weekend. I had my report earlier which you guys can check out here, but Mike was able to check out some of the panels which I skipped.
Anyway, Mike was able to get an all too brief moment with Mr. Luke Skywalker, I mean Mark Hamill. I’m so thankful that Mike sent this in and shared his story with all of us!
Give a big Mike The Fanboy welcome to Mike (we have to give him a fun name… Cause Mike The Fanboy is taken! LOL) and check out his report after the jump!
This past weekend in L.A. my honey and I attended the inaugural Comikaze Convention downtown. It’s been three months and two weeks since my honey and I have been to a convention. (The last one was the tiny one in San Diego that used to be comic related.) And now, with no Halloween Horror Nights to keep our minds occupied, the withdrawal has set back in. Ever since moving to L.A. fours years ago our convention mindset moved away from scouring the grounds for exclusive toys and swag and looking at non A-list celebrities to obtaining autographs! Free ones, that is. (At least, as many as possible.) While San Diego Comic-Con offers the best opportunities for that, it has lost its luster. There are now way too many people, nowhere to stop and rest anymore, too many festivities going on simultaneously that you absolutely must be at, not to mention the Nazi-like mentality of the publicists, handlers, and booth operators when you’re in line for that autograph of the cast of some show that will most likely be cancelled in its first season or two. (My poor dusty posters of “No Ordinary Family”, “Flashpoint”, “Charlie’s Angels”, “Sarah Connors Chronicles”, “Dollhouse”, etc.)
I got very excited when I heard about this con. There hasn’t been one like this downtown since Wizard World ’08 and I rarely feel like driving to Long Beach or Anaheim for the cons there. This is a fresh start and luckily, it’s very close to home. As soon as we arrive we see two demographics, desperate and excited. A lot of the excited ones are a bit geeky and dressed in costumes. I learned that this now has a term, “cosplay”. I don’t know how I escaped that knowledge for this long. The other group of people are in a very long line and are there to see Tony Robbins. (Should I have brought my copy of “Shallow Hal”? No. I don’t have one. I’m okay with that.)
We look downstairs and notice a stormtrooper. That should be the right place, unless Tony Robbins is reaching for an entirely new audience. The line seems to be going at a decent pace. We spot Mike the Fanboy in line and say hello. We love that guy and his ability to be at the right places at the right time. After trading our plans of attack for the day, we check out the exhibit hall real quick before we head upstairs to the main panel room. Mark Hamill is listed on the Sushi Girl panel along with Danny Trejo and Tony Todd. That is awesome and a must-see. I know Mark is impossible to get and I can never afford the $100 he charges at Comic-Con, so I’m going to try my luck at this rookie con. If I’m lucky, not too many people will know the tricks of autographing at cons. This is a “green” con so there are no programs printed, which may help my cause this time. Although, the savvy convention goers know to follow events and vendors on Twitter and Facebook and print out there own guides and maps. Granted, you can’t keep a Mark Hamill appearance quiet for too long. I don’t expect to get him, but I have a Luke Skywalker figure and some Star Wars postcards just in case. I’d be a fool not to try.
After a quick walk-around of the exhibit hall we head upstairs to the room where the Sushi Girl panel will be…in four hours. There is a polite crowd in there for the current panel and quite a few available seats in the front row. Too good to be true? It usually is, as I expected the whole row to be reserved. Upon further inspection only the first five from the center are reserved for the hearing impaired. “Holy crap, we can stay!” I’m cautiously excited. After the panel ends we hear they’re going to clear the room after each panel, but that is quickly squashed by a more adamant and confident volunteer that states if people are willing to wait through each panel they should be allowed to stay. Works for me. I like that guy. I sure as hell don’t want to move. I haven’t been to this many panels since my second year at Comic-con. I’ve since just done the autograph lines in the main exhibit halls because the panels always have huge lines and if you’re going to try and get any signatures in there you need to sit close.
There were five or six folks at the Comic-con “Sushi Girl” panel that were able to get Mr. Hamill before he exited and were lucky enough to get an item signed. That was the main reason I wanted to be at this panel, aside from the movie looking pretty interesting. (Google the trailer.) DVD Dave had joined us in the front row a couple of panels in and I had every intention of using his size to block out the rookies in the rows behind us. (Politely, of course. I’m a nice guy…usually.) The rest of the room filled up with the folks outside waiting for this panel since I don’t know when. (I don’t miss being new at this crap.) Okay, finally, it’s five o’clock! I look at the entrance in the front left of the room and see Hamill approaching the stage. I was hoping he would sit in the same area he did at the first “Sushi Girl” panel last summer, otherwise it would be a lot harder to bee-line it to him (politely) at the end of the panel. Not that I wouldn’t be trying. Luckily, he sits almost directly seven feet in front of me. You can’t tell this in writing, but I’m pretty freakin’ excited!!! That’s Luke freakin’ Skywalker right in front of me! A living Jedi that refuses to dress like one at cons. The real deal, dammit. I’ve waited over thirty years for this! Since Mark is the first to arrive he decides to start the panel without his tardy castmates. He opens the floor for any questions and I immediately ask which voice he does on Adult Swim’s “Metalocolypse”. (He does three!) This is sooo cool. He’s talking directly to me, making eye contact on purpose and everything! It’s one of the coolest and most thrilling moments of my life. Some people say it’s the birth of their kids, but that wouldn’t even make my top five if I even had kids. Also, it would’ve just been pushed down further thanks to this moment. About the ten minute mark the rest of the panel makes it inside. Danny Trejo couldn’t make it so my “Machete” and “Grindhouse” posters get put away and the sole intent back on Hamill. (It was decided that my cutie should try and get my figure signed and I would go for Trejo. As much as I want to get Hamill myself, I agree with this philosophy. You bring cleavage to these kinds of things for a reason. I have none yet, but that’s nothing ten more McFlurries won’t fix.)
About twenty minutes into the full panel a kid a couple of seats to my right has asked Hamill silently for his autograph. This is, of course, is a complete no-no in convention lore, but my honey hears Hamill whisper to go ahead and give it to him since he can’t stay afterwards due to having to attend a birthday party. I’m still in shock that the kid did that and it worked and don’t notice my honey pulling out my figure and showing it to Mark. I quietly tell her to put it away so the floodgates don’t burst open, but she tells me what she heard Mark say and he motions for her to bring it up. “Holy crap, he’s gonna sign my figure!” He asks her what her name is so he can personalize it, but she says it’s for me. I’m now looking through my stack of postcards looking for something to get up to that table and am accepting the fact that I’m going to have to figure out how to carefully erase somebody’s name off the card. It can be done, it’s just gotta be done extremely carefully. He signs my figure and carefully tosses it to my love where it lands on the floor in front of her. Normally, I would shriek out in heavy emotional distress, but this was just signed by Mark Hamill! And he was very cool about it! It also wasn’t that bad a dent. Looks good now. I wish more iconic people had that lax attitude about signing stuff. DVD Dave is next with his, what else? His DVD slip of “Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back”. As Mark is signing that I figure “screw it” and hand Dave my “Empire Strikes Back” post card to get signed. (He was going up anyway.) Someone else slides over from the right and puts a couple of items down and I feel a couple of taps on my shoulder from the rows behind me with their large items to put on the table. Although I just had my card put up there by the guy whom I lent my pen to, I want to keep the room as calm as possible because there is still a panel going on all the while. Mark sees the two items and motions for me to bring them up, so I do and grab my signed postcard. It is at this moment the security guard comes over and takes all the items off the table and hands them to DVD Dave as if they were his and is told unjustly that if he takes anymore of his items up he, and anyone else trying, will be thrown out. I take the four items from Dave, two of which managed to get signed, and hand them to the rows behind me.
Unfortunately, I know the pain of having an item so close to getting signed, but then getting stabbed in the heart and having it crushed all to well. Technically, we shouldn’t have been doing that until the end, but you never ask strangers in the rows ahead of you to get your goodies signed for you. At least do it politely and not just tap someone with the items and assume. Since Hamill advised us it was cool, it was cool. Hard to believe this could all go on and not disturb the ongoing panel much at all. Hamill was very classy the whole way through, even when someone pulled the other ultimate no-no and used the Q & A session of the panel to ask for an autograph. Followed by the guy after him. Security didn’t put up with that by the time the second guy got up there. I groan whenever somebody does that, even though I got my items signed. Believe me, this will never happen again, at least not of this magnitude. After the panel the table is lined with temporary security guys to block Hamill from getting fluxed with graphers. He is not. He does a quick interview with some chick who put on an outfit around her giant rack and he heads off the birthday party he mentioned he had to jet to. The six of us who were able to get something signed were extremely lucky in every way. My signed Luke Skywalker figure is going in the display case next to the Han Solo figure my honey got signed for me just six weeks earlier. Now I can actually enjoy the rest of the convention, and thankfully, they do a very nice job for their first time out. I’m glad I can finally say I was at a con from the beginning when it wasn’t too big and expensive. Now, does anyone know when Carrie Fisher will be out and about?
Check out some of the other photos that Mike got at Comikaze Expo 2011 below!
Tony Todd The Candyman
Spider One from Powerman 5000
Jon Schnepp from Metalocolypse
James Duval from Donnie Darko
Jackson Publik from the venture brothers
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