Alright, ya big dummies, no more delays. You’ve read, you’ve waited and now it’s here. Four celebrity showdowns over three pages. No time to waste. Ready… Set… COMIC CON!!!
5 Ways to Comic Con: Part Four
By George Rose
September 6, 2017
Convention #7: Philadelphia Comic Con Day 2, Sunday, June 4, 2017
Here’s the thing about celebrities. If you refer to them as their character name then they aren’t real people. If they aren’t real people then it’s not so bad when you rob them blind or talk to them about their hypothetical transgender vagina. If they aren’t real then maybe I’m not real either. I’m not the guy that disrespects the rich so I can give joy to the poor. I’m just a boy, standing in front of celebrities, asking them to love me… or at least not to have me arrested.
Celebrity #1: The Hulk (aka Lou Ferrigno)
My friend Heather is usually a master of the arts of taking secret celebrity pics. Stand far away, pretend to be texting, zoom in, SNAP SNAP SNAP!!! Well, Heather was very pregnant at this Con and was in no mood to be told what to do, even if that thing is one of her favorite pastimes. I went up to Hulk’s booth with the Funko I had just found twenty minutes earlier, gave him my collectible, told him he was an icon to me, pulled out $40 and started to hand it to Hulk’s assistant. “That’ll be $80,” he said. “I thought it was only $40,” I replied. “$40 for an autograph but $80 if you also want to take a booth picture to verify the authenticity of the autograph.”
I was confused. I thought it was $40 for an autograph and $50 to take one of those professional pictures with Hulk later. Where did $80 come from? That’s not even good math. Was Hulk trying to rob me? I finally grew the balls I needed to look up from the Funko and into Hulk’s eyes. They were green with anger. He glared at me then he looked right past me. Instead of seeing Heather about fifty feet away in a crowd somewhere, I saw she was standing THREE FEET AWAY. Camera right in her hand and everything. Oh yeah, there was even a security guard standing near her looking at me with disgust. It took everything not to pee myself.
“Oh yeah, I knew it was $80, I was just waiting to take the picture until later but it looks like Heather is ready now. Here’s the other $40.” I wasn’t entirely sure if everyone was on the same page at this point but I knew I had to get out of there. Heather approached the booth and said she was ready to take the picture. I couldn’t even move so I stood right where I was. I tried leaning in as far in as possible (there was NO WAY I was going to stand next to the Hulk at this point) and we took the picture. I grabbed my Funko, thanked Hulk like everything was amazing and ran away like a little coward bitch. I had pissed off my first celebrity and was mortified.
For the next hour I was depressed. I couldn’t stop looking at the picture Heather took of me and the Hulk. He looked so angry. I had wasted $80 on a toxic memory, a signed Funko Pop that would be a torturous reminder for years to come and a picture that featured the incredibly disappointed and angry face of the Hulk. What is wrong with me?!?! Can’t I ever just do the right thing? It’s not like I’m so poor I can’t afford $40 extra dollars. $40 wasn’t worth making the Hulk angry. Who does that?! Nobody makes the Hulk angry and lives to tell the tale. Except… me. I made the Hulk angry and survived. Wait a second, I MADE THE HULK ANGRY!!! The idea that I had angered the original mother F-ing Hulk was a revelation that would change the rest of the day. The worst memory ever was now the best. Who else can say they made the Hulk angry?!?! Suddenly, I knew this was just the first of many epic celebrity sightings to come.
Celebrity #2 & #3: Yondu (aka Michael Rooker) & Kraglin / On-Set Rocket (Sean Gunn)
It wasn’t until I got to the convention that day that I knew what time my Yondu/Kraglin double photo-op was taking place. I purchased my ticket early and went about my shopping business. 2:45pm wasn’t far off but it is incredibly easy to lose track of time at a Con. I told Travis and Heather I’d meet them shortly after my picture and headed off alone. I was sad I didn’t have two signed Funko Pops to display beside the corresponding celeb but I already bought the picture ticket. En route to the photo ops (all of a hundred yards from where we were shopping), I crossed paths with the tail ends of both Yondu’s and Kraglin’s autographing lines! I had no idea when or where they would be taking place but there they were, both waiting for me prior to our picture. It’s like they knew I was coming and stayed open just long enough to see me!
First up, Yondo. Why is that? If you haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, skip to the next paragraph. SPOILER ALERT! Yondo dies in the movie sooooo this could be his last Comic Con for a while. That means if there is only time for one autograph, his would be the more valuable to collect. There was only one person in Yondu’s line, most likely because he was preparing to go take the Yondo/Kraglin double picture. I got in line, watched the person in front of me get an autograph and waited for my turn. There should be just enough time to get Yondu’s signature, then run over to Kraglin (although, he had no line which meant there was a chance he would shut down and head to the pictures), then run over to my photo op. The man in front of me started to walk away and I stepped forward, ready to have a proper celeb sighting.
“Hold on a second,” said Yondu’s assistant. OH NO!!! Was Yondu closing down to head over to take pictures and I’d miss my chance to have my Funko signed before the photo?! I turned around to leave but realised he wasn’t closing; the assistant was letting a small boy in a motorized wheelchair skip ahead in line. Ahead of a ONE PERSON LINE. Ahead of ME. Listen, I’m all for handicap people skipping ahead of a two hour line at an amusement park. Hell, even a small line at Comic Con. But skipping ahead of ONE PERSON?!?! I accepted this as cruel punishment from God for my Hulk fiasco and kindly allowed this boy to disrespect me.
Though I was displeased that this child was most likely a con artist (Con artist?) and was faking his illness so he could get special treatment, it was endearing to see Yondo greet the boy with energy, humor and a free autograph. While the fake Stephen Hawking went about his business, I took the time to ask the assistant some questions. I wondered if it was ok to ask Yondu if when we took the double photo-op if he was likely to agree to pretend proposing to me using his signed Funko as the engagement ring. I knew it was an odd request but I had just gotten engaged a few months earlier and I wanted to make my fiance jealous by having two celebrities propose to me in my photo op. The assistant said he probably wouldn’t do it but I knew in my heart he would. I mean, how could you say yes to a fake paraplegic but no to honest homo?
It was now my turn and I immediately lost my composure. There is no Comic Con celeb quite like one that just died in their film. It was Yondu’s moment to shine and he was enjoying every second of these fifteen minutes of fame. I decided to roll the dice and ask him. “Hey, I’m a huge fan and my fiance loves you too! Any chance I can have you propose to me with your Funko when I take the double picture later?” I couldn’t tell what he was thinking because he wore the darkest sunglasses of all time. He started laughing in the most boisterous of ways, kindly said, “No, man, but thanks for coming to see me,” with the biggest smile on his face and sent me on my way. I was so blown away by how cool he came off that I didn’t care he said no.
To make matters even better Kraglin was still available for an autograph before I had to head over to the picture booths and there were no wheelchairs in sight! I could tell he was about to close up but I ran over just in time. Unlike Yondu, Kraglin would do anything for $20 so he was allowing both autographs and selfies at his booth. Not all celebs will take pictures during autographs with some only taking them by professional photographers (like Yondu and Phoenix). Kraglin, being the brother of the man who directed the Guardians films, was clearly just happy to be involved and even remotely recognized. He was so sweet and sexy, it made me nervous. He caught me staring into his piercing blue eyes and I couldn’t help but try flirting.
Well, instead of flirting I threw his coworker under the bus. I told him that Yondo declined taking a fun picture with me and gave him my best broken hearted face. I guess secretly I was hoping it would make him feel bad and, surprisingly, it worked. The assistant took my phone, Kraglin got down on one knee and proposed to me with the Funko. It was a dream come true and I will never forget his kindness in accommodating my silly request. I then took my two signed Funko Pops over to the photographing area and took my double picture with the Guardians of the Galaxy. The line was quick and, before I knew it, they left my life as fast as they came into it.
Celebrity #4: Phoenix (aka Famke Janssen)
With the Con closing at 4pm, my hopes of finding a Phoenix Funko were growing smaller by the second. At 3:15pm, I found a X3 Jean Grey action figure. Not the X-Men memento I was hoping for but definitely something worth signing. I ran over to the autographing ticket booth to see if Phoenix was coming around again and, wouldn’t you know, she was closing out the Con with a 3:30pm signing. I bought the action figure, purchased a second autograph so I could have a sexy photo signed for my dad (she was a Bond villain in 1995’s Goldeneye) and got into her empty line at 3:25pm. Why was there no line? What if she cancelled at the last second because nobody was waiting?! Her assistant said she was on her way and pointed to the light.
No, it wasn’t a light, it was Phoenix’s perfectly fitted, yellow lace knee-length dress glowing distance. Her hair was long and dark, just like in 1999’s House on Haunted Hill. She walked with such confidence; it was clear she was the most famous celebrity at the Con. However, the closer she got the more she seemed to age. She went from youthful horror film hottie to the older mom in the Taken series in just a few short steps. And then, just as she sat down and she was only two feet in front of me, she was practically unrecognizable. Her face seemed almost fake, pulled back like a Hollywood plastic surgeon’s play thing. After she signed the Bond picture for my dad and the Phoenix action figure for me, I turned around and saw that nobody else was in line. I felt bad so I tried thinking of something clever to say to entertain her.
“Do you know that because of your time on Nip/Tuck I now have the general assumption that all male-to-female transgender surgeries lead to a maximum vaginal depth of only five inches?”
Yup, that’s what my brain decided was a good thing to say. Phoenix’s botox-filled mouth dropped ever so slightly in shock. I looked at her assistant and she was mortified. She put her hand on Phoenix’s shoulder and said to me, “You should look that up online.” I took my things and, once again, ran away like a coward just as I had done earlier. It was weeks before I could tell my friends this story. Now we laugh at it and, hopefully, you do too. I don’t know why I’m such an idiot but if I can save one celebrity by telling you these stories then it was all worth it.