Wednesday, June 17, 2015

That time I went to Comic Con

wizard world comic con des moines

In my attempt to make this summer my best one yet, I went to my first Comic Con last weekend. But before I get into that, let’s talk about the perks of being a journalist. A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to interview four celebrities and write a story about Wizard World Comic Con Des Moines. I have never been interested in the whole comic thing, although I do tend to fangirl a little bit about the Avengers and I love the nerdy-ness that is Big Bang Theory. Aside from that, I’ve never seen Star Wars (insert shocked reactions here) and I’ve never so much as touched a comic book. But I was really excited to write this story.

I love writing about new things because it opens my eyes to other worlds and different interests. I’ve learned so much by taking on subjects I’m not familiar with, and knowing how big comic cons have become, I was excited to dive into it. The excitement definitely grew once my editor set up my interviews with Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters — and Miss Congeniality!) and Lou Ferrigno (The Hulk). I didn’t decide to actually go to Wizard World until after I talked to these four people. Since the story was publishing a couple days before it, there was no real reason for me to attend. It wasn’t until I got unanimous suggestions to go to the event and check it out (and stop by their booths to say hi), that I figured I should see what all the fuss is about. After all, research can only get you so far — the experience is where the real learning happens.

wizard world comic con des moines groot guardians of the galaxy

wizard world comic con des moines

wizard world comic con des moines artwork

wizard world comic con des moines
So I got my press pass and bought Adam a ticket — I feel like comic con isn’t something to experience alone, so of course I dragged him along. As soon as we reached the parking lot we saw people in costumes. People are insanely creative, and we saw some awesome outfits. (My favorite was Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy!) We went a few hours after it started on the opening night on Friday, so it wasn’t super busy, but there were still hundreds of people there. Booths were set up everywhere, with every kind of art and product imaginable. I made Adam stop to look at buttons at least twice because (obviously) I needed souvenirs!

wizard world comic con des moines buttons

wizard world comic con des moines buttons

We spent a while walking around the booths and just taking it all in — people chatting about their favorite comics, taking pictures and even waiting in lines to play video games — but the real reason we were there was to meet the actors. I’ve always been an extremely shy person (but you’re a reporter! Yeah, I know. Moving on…) so walking up to strangers (celebrity strangers!) made me all sorts of nervous. I’m happy Adam was there to keep me sane and stop me from having a panic attack right in the middle of Hy-Vee Hall.

wizard world comic con des moines william shatner

wizard world comic con des moines elvira

But I made it happen. I walked up to Cassandra and chatted about my story. She told me she liked it and asked Adam if he’d ever been told he looks like Adam Sandler. Then she gave me an Elvira button to add to my collection (talk about the right time to wear my jean jacket!). Then I waited in line to get my photo taken with the Hulk, aka Lou Ferrigno, aka the first time I’ve ever seen my dad fanboy about a celebrity. This photo was of utmost importance because Father’s Day is this weekend, and when I told my dad that I had interviewed Lou, he. freaked. out. “You got to talk to the Hulk? The big guy? You talked to Lou Ferrigno! You gotta get your picture with him!” My dad isn’t the type to know celebrities, so it was a pretty big deal. So, in honor of my dad, I posed beside the Hulk, who, at 60-something years old, is still the most muscular human I’ve ever had the pleasure of wrapping my arm around. He also told me he loved Des Moines and wished he could take the nice people of Iowa to the beautiful state of California.

wizard world comic con des moines lou ferrigno

Finally, I went to talk to Ernie Hudson, who is the nicest person. When I interviewed him, he spent the last 5 minutes of our call asking me about myself, talking about universities and asking for my dinner recommendations. Unfortunately I caught him as he was leaving for a break and didn’t have the chance to talk with him. Major bummer. So I didn’t get to ask him about working with Sandra Bullock, but I did get a big hug from him. And let me tell you: the man gives good hugs.  

All in all, Wizard World was a really cool experience, and I'm so happy we went. My only regret is going after work and on empty stomachs because we left early to grab food when I wished we could have stayed longer. Maybe next year I’ll spend a little more time there. And maybe by then I’ll even watch Star Wars…

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