More Pros of the Con
This year, I again attended Wizard World’s Saint Louis Comic Con. This was their second year doing this, and it was a huge improvement from the year before. There were more celebrities, bigger panel rooms, bigger show room floor, more artists, and more comics. Of course, even though all of this was amazing, it seems what really made my weekend was one specific celebrity by the name of Manu Bennett.
With my VIP pass in hand I got on the floor a bit early than the rest. I had some friends attending as well, but they were more interested in other things like the celebrity panels than things on the show room floor. I spent most of this day on my own exploring. I went around and got my free lithographs that came with my pass, and a few signatures knocked out before the next day. I was in the moment of wrapping these things up and starting to explore back-issues to complete some of my collections when I saw it, the Manu Bennett autograph line. I decided to check out times, and saw he was just about to start a photo op. Of course, none of this was free, so I decided it wasn’t worth it to just get a picture with some guy from a tv show I love for that much. Suddenly, I had the perfect idea for a picture. I rushed over to the photo op ticket booth and got in line to get my picture taken. I was the last one in line and was hoping this would make him more likely to fulfill my request. I got up to him, we shook hands and exchanged welcomes and I said “this is going to sound weird, but can you act like you’re choking me out?”. He laughed and replied “oh for sure!” and we took the amazing picture you see below. I thanked him, he thanked me, and we went our separate ways.
One of my best buddies decided to come out this day. Being interested in similar pursuits, we stayed together for most of the day going from comic artist to comic artist and a few panels. We got comics autographed and bought prints from the amazing Greg Capullo, picked up some back issues, and went to a few panels. We met Tech N9ne, which neither of us had ever listened to a song from. We equated that “celebrity” encounter to that of seeing someone you went to high school with that you hadn’t seen in a few years. There were a bunch of bigger name celebrities doing panels this day, but the lines to get in were huge. Luckily, they were projecting them in the lobby entrance so we were able to sit down and see some of Adam West and Burt Wards panel. Adam West seemed to have some shell shock when Burt mentioned the Siren and Adam screamed “THE SIREN!?”. Other than that, we didn’t catch much of the big names. We did go to Manu’s panel, and that was great. We were a bit late but were able to get seats in the front and got to listen to some great stories. Manu answered the questions asked to him in such detail it seemed he would forget what the original question was. He told amazing stories about filming The Hobbit, Spartacus, and Arrow, including moments from his childhood and personal life. At the end, while we were all leaving, my friend and I happened to run into him outside of the panel and were able to have a quick exchange of “thank you”s with him. After this, we found the Green Arrow artist who drew the sketch of the vigilante in the show Arrow, and bought a print of it in the hopes to have the cast sign it all one day. After all this, we headed home.
The final day had the least amount happen but it was still a fun day. Today it was just me again, but my friend and I decided to have our Arrow posters signed by Manu Bennet. So with both posters in hand, I went up to his autograph line. Being VIP I was on the show floor early, and had a half our to wait before Manu arrived. I decided I might as well wait considering there wasn’t much else I wanted to do that day. When the time came, no one else was in line, and Manu came in jokingly asking me to hold back the crowd for him. He signed both my posters, and we were able to have a great conversation about Arrow and other things for a while until he had some more fans come up in line. After this, I went to the big panel room to see the celebrity of the day, Karen Gillan. I had a VIP pass, and the front rows were open, so I asked an employee if my general VIP pass gave me access to them. He brought over his boss, and his boss told me that I was good to sit in the front 5 rows. I plopped down in the first row, but a few minutes later the same guy went and made an announcement. He said “only Karen Gillan and Doctor Who VIP holders can sit in these first 5 rows, thank you”. Confused, I called him over while he walked away and said he had just told me I could sit there. He replied “yeah I gave you the wrong information, so you can stay where you are”. Awesome. I got to sit front row during Gillans panel and it was great. After the panel wrapped up, I headed out ending my weekend on a high note.
Its safe to say, that Manu Bennett made my Comic Con adventure this year. He was a great guy and I’m glad I got to meet him and talk to him as I did. If you aren’t watching Arrow, read the article I wrote about it last year. It’s only gotten better since then too. In the end, I walked away with some great autographs, stories, and comics to check off my list. Next up is C2E2, so stay tuned for a podcast/article about my experience from that upcoming weekend.