It's always a great time going to an Expo with my daughter (okay, almost always…last year we got a flat tire on the highway half way to Edmonton and that pretty much set my mood for the whole day…but anyway). So we arrived pretty early (you should when you leave Calgary at 6 am) and got an amazing parking spot (incredibly close to the door…AMAZING), this was a great sign.
Aside from some slight nervousness because I was given the honour of moderating a panel for the phenomenally talented Gerhard, of Cerebus the Aardvark fame, I was really looking forward to the day.
(Here are some samples of commissions he's done for me in the past)
But first up…meet Carrie Fisher and get her to sign my Mondo prints by Mike Mitchell (Princess Leia (Boushh) and Jock (Into the Garbage Chute Flyboy!). I went to Carrie Fisher first because I anticipated her being really busy. So the show starts at 10, I line up at 9:50 (early access has its perks). I’m in a prime spot, 10th from the front…apparently she was not given the schedule.
As everyone patiently waited we would get the odd report of “she’s on the way”. It’s kind of funny, at 10, “she’s on the way” is cause for cheers. At 10:30, “she’s on the way” is cause for scepticism, at 11 “she’s on the way” is cause for grumbling. At 11:30 the crowd begins to thin out (I am now 5th in line). At 11:45 “she’s on the way” makes you think - “I’ll believe it when I see it”. But sure enough, 11:50 she’s there (1 hour and 50 minutes later). Well rested, and ready to go. The weird thing is, as soon as you stand in front of Princess Leia, the wait time (no matter how many times you thought “I could have gotten everyone else on my list taken care of by now”) disappears. That might be different for the people who waited another 3 hours to get a signature, but for me, I got my prints signed and all was right with the world. It was only much later (because once you get something signed you have got to move along) that I realized that when she signed my print - I asked her to write the title of the print, which is called “Into the Garbage Chute Flyboys!” (a line she spoke in the original Star Wars) - she spelled “Chute” “Shoot”…I actually like the typo.
After Carrie Fisher, I raced over to get Wallace Shawn to sign a couple of things, but by then the line was capped. So I run over and get an autograph of Shannon Purser for my wife, who is a big fan of Barb, from Stranger Things. So the only other person I need to meet is Wallace Shawn, he will have to wait.
I now had to rush and prep for my Gerhard panel. So off I go, to get my stack of “phone books” as they have been known to be called (some Cerebus fans are offended by that, but them’s the breaks), I get into the panel room, Ger and I are prepped by the Expo staff, and then it’s 45 minutes of freewheelin’ conversational jazz. I try my best not to go full on fan boy, but these things truly cannot be helped. I am a fan of Gerhard, I am a Fan of Dave Sim. I am a fan of Cerebus. It is the one book I re-read every couple of years, and I constantly go back to it and read sections that I love. Why? BECAUSE. IT'S. JUST. THAT. GOOD! DAMN IT!
The attendance was smallish (COME ON PEOPLE! IT’S FRICKING GERHARD!), but it was still fun. My daughter sat in the front row watching the whole thing unfold, and later I found my brother and nephew sitting in the back row. A real family affair. I got to ask a few questions I wanted to know, we opened up to the floor for a few questions, and we got some gentle “heckling” by Shelley - she did tell Gerhard that she was going to do it - and in the end Ger and Shel were happy with how it all went over and the fact that I included things that some people didn’t know, or might not know. So that seal of approval made me really happy. They even gave me a Gerebus drawing that Shel coloured. Very cool, then I walked Ger and Shel back to their table and hung out there for a bit.
After a little while I went over and got my wife’s Princess Bride book signed by Wallace Shawn. Which was funny because he thought I should be told that he did not write the book, so I politely mentioned to him that Carey Elwes, and Chris Sarandon didn’t write it either, and they signed it. He asked where my wife was (most people believe her to be a figment of my imagination), so I told him she’s not one for crowds, and with that, he wrote “Wish you were here”. Then off I went with my wife’s well read, newly autographed copy of Princess Bride. She someday hopes to get Mandy Patinkin to sign it. Dare to dream.
After all this, my daughter and I walked around, free of any obligations to get things signed, or moderate a panel, and we just looked at the wares on the floor. She grabbed a few things, and then, with a three hour drive ahead of us, we were off.
A fun time.
And we didn't get a flat tire at all.