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Grand Rapids Comic-Con Journal
October 21-23, 2016
This past weekend I spent three days at the Grand Rapids Comic Con where I finally got my chance to meet Greg Weisman. I've been following him at Station 8 for almost twenty years, but I never made it to any of the Gatherings so I had never met him in person before.
After weeks of anticipation Friday came. I took the afternoon off work and set out for the convention center, ten minutes from my house. Comic Con is a different world; there were a lot of people wearing costumes, some quite impressive and others not so much. Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad version) is the most popular this year.
I grabbed a program, checked the map, and made a beeline for Greg's table. I arrived to find him talking to a Penguin. (Not the flightless Antarctic bird, but a man in a tuxedo wearing a pointy rubber nose and carrying an umbrella.) I circled around a few times, watching for my opportunity while trying to remain inconspicuous. The Penguin and his friend finally walked away and I stepped up to the table.
"Hi, I'm Phil," I said.
"Hi Phil," he replied. He pointed out the scripts, books, and posters he had for sale. "Let me know if you have any questions." (Do I have questions?!)
He was responding to an important text on his phone, so I hesitated for a moment. "I'm a big fan. I've been following you on Ask Greg at Station 8 for almost twenty years."
He looked up at me. "Oh, you're *that* Phil." He shook my hand.
I don't remember what I said next. Something fanboy-ish, I'm sure. He smiled. I didn't know what to say next. He didn't seem to know what to say. It was awkward. Very awkward.
I told him I would see him again soon, since I had a lot of stuff for him to sign, and walked away. Then I remembered that I wanted a picture to send my daughters (who were driving home from college to meet Greg on Saturday) so I went back. He came out from behind his table and we took a selfie. He looks a little uncertain in the picture.
After walking around a little more, I left to pick up my teenage son, Henry, from school and bring him back to the Con with me. We explored together, commenting on the interesting and the weird. He seemed a little overwhelmed.
We passed by Greg's table again and met Mara, who was there with Greg. She was easier to talk to than Greg. I introduced Henry, and mentioned that he was a fan of Young Justice. Greg told us about the Young Justice presentation he was doing that evening. Henry looked over the scripts and art prints Greg was selling and determined how much money he would need to bring the next day. Then we continued on our way. It was less awkward this time.
Henry and I went to the Young Justice presentation. To be honest, Young Justice never grabbed me, despite Greg's involvement. (I'm more of a Marvel fan.) But it was enjoyable nonetheless. Greg is much more personable and engaging in front of a group. He talked about the strategy for getting Season 3: binge watch Netflix and buy the comics online (so WB sees the money).
After that, the Con was winding down for the night, so we drove home. Henry asked to watch Young Justice again on Netflix that night, but there was homework and housework to do. He also asked how he could get the Young Justice comics in time for Greg to autograph them.
Late that night my two oldest daughters arrived home from college with five friends. Saturday morning eleven of us were ready for Comic Con (my wife and I, our four kids [three daughters and a son], and five college friends). My girls all wanted to dress up, but there was a bit of conflict over who would be what character. The older and younger ended up both going as Elisa Maza, while the middle one painted a blue fox tattoo around her eye. Henry was planning to wear a Star Wars T-shirt and carry a lightsaber, but his sisters pressured him into painting three red stripes on his face and going as Young Gillecomgain. My oldest daughter's boyfriend wore a Gargoyles T-shirt that we later realized was not official merchandise. We were ready to go.
Upon entering Comic Con on Saturday we headed straight for Greg's table. I introduced my family and Greg seemed a little overwhelmed. My daughters were all speechless and my oldest gave a fangirl squeal. My wife (who only came along so she wouldn't have to spend the day at home alone) asked Greg about his convention schedule and how many he goes to each year. They had a normal conversation, no awkwardness at all.
During the course of the day we stopped back at Greg's table several times. We bought books and scripts and art prints. We had him sign stuff we brought from home: DVDs, comics, a Gargoyles picture book, and printouts of "Three Brothers" and "Hyppolyta" (which Greg said he had never signed before). I tried to get some clarification on the Percival/Duval/Peredur relationship, but all Greg would say is "All things are true."
We went to a panel that afternoon led by Comfort Love and Adam Withers. Greg was participating and when we trooped in a few minutes before it started he pointed us out to his fellow panelists. Later in the day when we walked by Comfort and Adam's table she recognized us as "Greg's posse" which my daughter thought was the best moment of the day.
We couldn't make it Sunday morning, so I missed Greg's presentation on "TV Production from Beginning to End" but I was there in the afternoon in time for another panel with Comfort and Adam. After the panel Greg had to leave soon to catch his flight, so I hurried to his table to buy a couple more things and shake his hand one more time.
Overall it was a fun weekend. Greg Weisman is a celebrity at my house and it was great to meet him. Each time I stopped at his table it was a little less awkward, and I enjoyed talking to him. I still have a lot of questions, but none that I actually wanted him to answer in person. I don't just want to know what happens next, I want to see/read/experience it. So here's hoping for more Greg and more Gargoyles in some form, someday.
From your lips...
It was great meeting you in person. I hope I wasn't QUITE so awkward or unapproachable. I am better in front of an audience than I am at making small talk. But I get by. :)