It's a funny thing that happens when you are really looking forward to something for a long time. I find that I always build things up so much that it would be impossible for anything to match my level of excitement over something, especially with everything that's happened recently I found that I was projecting even more anticipation at how awesome C2E2 weekend was going to be. I had built it up in my mind so much, there was no possible way that it was going to match or surpass what I expected.
I was wrong. It was far better than I had ever imagined.
Yes, there was a lot of standing around in lines waiting to meet people. Yes, there was a large number of people that smelled as if they hadn't showered since the first day of Spring. And yes, there was an inordinate amount of people wearing spandex that should never be allowed to wear spandex. But that is all part of parcel of any and every comic-con, and honestly it's those little touches that makes cons so enjoyably bizarre and fun. But C2E2 stood out because of the atmosphere, the people, and most of all the quality of the show. I've been to numerous conventions before, almost all of them WizardWorld Chicagos from when I was a kid and that convention actually meant something and most recently last year's WizardWorld that was filled with wrestlers, bit players from Twilight, and the usual Star Wars actors that go to every con. I can unequivocally state that C2E2 was the best convention that I have ever been to by far. While there were some great news items announced at the con, which you can read about at a different comic book site, that wasn't waht made this the best con ever for me. And here's just a short list of the reasons why it was the best con:
-I got to meet 5 of my all-time favorite comic book artists and 3 of my absolute favorite comic book writers and now I have books signed by them that I will always treasure.
-I spent five minutes talking to the Marvel Editor-in-Chief about pizza, why I think Deep Dish is better than New York style, and where the best place to get pizza in the city is (Gino's East, if anyone is wondering).
-I got to ask a question at almost every panel I went to, and never felt like an idiot no matter how silly my question was (I was the one who asked where Captain Boomerang's fat went to after getting resurrected. I really want to know why he's suddenly skinny again!)
-I got to touch the original Batmobile.
-Ethan Van Sciver, one of my aforementioned favorite artists in comics, sketched a design for a tatoo that I'm going to get in the next year for free, and even gave me tips about what to do for the tatoo.
-I spent an inordinate amount of money, but it was all worth it for the seven pieces of signed art that will now adorn my apartment, not to mention my sweet ass Flash t-shirt.
-I got to talk to Alex Ross about living in Chicago and why it is awesome.
-I spent all day Saturday with my brother, and even though he had an allergy headache and I was exhausted and hungover most of the day, we still had an awesome time hanging out all day.
-While waiting in line for sometimes an hour or longer to meet people, I started a conversation with the strangers waiting in line with me and always had a fun and positive interaction with them as I realized that comic book fans are always friendly with each other, whether or not you like the same books as each other.
-I never had a bad time at any of the panels I went to, as there was always this fun, positive energy in the room, particularly at the Brightest Day and the Green Lantern/Flash panels but really at every one.
-Most importantly, I discovered that my hero and comic book writing legend Geoff Johns is an awesome guy.
First off, all three days Geoff signed at his own table and every single signing time there was a huge line despite him only being able to be there for an hour at a time. Friday and Saturday he also signed at the DC booth and again there were huge lines every time. On Sunday, the last day of the con, Geoff was only able to sign at his table because of the different panels that he had to be a part of. This was the day that I got my stuff signed by Geoff. Me and David got there at 10:15 for the 11:00 signing, and there was already a huge line that filled up an entire row. They had to stop people from getting in line almost a half hour before the signing was going to start, and even then it wasn't a guarantee that everybody was going to make it through the line. About a half hour/forty minutes into the signing I was a couple people away from the front when I heard one of the volunteers explain to Geoff Johns where they told people that there was no guarantee that they were going to get stuff signed by Geoff, and there was still a bit of a crowd past that point. At this point, Johns told the staff member that he didn't have to be anywhere until after 12:30, and that he was going to stay as long as he could to make sure no one waited in line for nothing. One of the chief architects of the DC Universe, a man recently promoted to be one of the head guys in DC Comics, was sacrificing for the sake of his fans.
Me and Mr. Johns
Then, at the Green Lantern/Flash panel, Geoff started it off by asking around at who was the youngest person in the audience, with a bunch of kids that were all around 11 or 12 years old. Johns gave out white rings to them (which you can't get in any stores for another three weeks) and he also gave them signed copies of different issues of Blackest Night. Just because they were kids who came to the panel. When one of the kids who got an issue asked him what happens next to Sinestro, Geoff brought the kid up on-stage and let him read an un-colorized version of Brightest Day #1 (again, not being released to stores for almost a month).
The panel itself was tons of fun, and even though there wasn't a ton of new info or spoilers, everyone had a great time and there was a real lively feel from everybody there. And then, at the very end of the panel, Johns sat in the room with the fans that hadn't had the opportunity to get their comics signed by him, and he signed some more comics books for still more fans. This may not sound remarkable, but think about it: this guy is one of the most prolific names in the medium and he's just spent the last three days signing thousands of comic books every day for free (I'm sure he gets paid for an appearance, I just mean is that was no charge to the fans for his signature or taking a picture with him), and then on the last day of a long weekend he goes out of his way to sign comics for the unlucky fans that got turned away because there were already so many people.
Geoff Johns didn't have to do any of this stuff, he could have just worked his signing schedule, appeared at the panel, shook hands with his fans and be done with it. But he didn't. He showed just how much he cares for his fans in one of the classiest appearances I've ever and possibly will ever see from the biggest writing superstar in comic books.
All too often when we meet our heroes we worry that we've built up this person that we've never met to an unrealistic level, where nothing that they could do would match that which you've projected onto them. In this case, I was lucky that I got to see mine doing the exact same things that got him to this level of popularity; going out of his way to please his fans and make sure that everyone goes home happy.
There were literally hundreds of reasons why I loved C2E2, but I only need two words to describe to you why this comic-con restored my faith in comic books and has inspired me to get out of the funk I'm in and get everything back on track and better than ever: Geoff Johns. It's a Brightest Day indeed.