One of the biggest struggles of being a nerd in the South is that you can be hundreds to thousands of miles away from the nearest convention or concert that your heroes would attend. Fortunately for us here in North Louisiana, NOLA is about 5 hours south, and Dallas is about the same distance west. How sad is that that for my passions I consider a 5 hour drive to be not that far? About 4 years ago, my dad and I decided to attend our first convention, the Wizard World Comic Convention in New Orleans. With us was my future co-host, Hunter Harris.
We bought our tickets at the door and the wait began. Once we walked into the floor of the convention center, my eyes widened, mouth dropped, and my heart fluttered with joy. I was home. For as far as the eye could see, panels lined the isles and the tables overflowed with merchandise. The isles were crowded with people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and most were in costume. I had been to a strictly Star Wars convention before, but this was the first mixed-fandom experience I had had on such a large scale.
The thing that I was looking forward to the most out of all of the attractions was a chance to meet a few celebrities that I had spent so many hours in front of the television watching. Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics, was at one table, the cast of Firefl at another (even though my love for Firefly hadn’t blossomed yet). I could see the cast of Star Wars, some of the actors from Star Trek: TNG, and other television personalities all ready to take your money and sign a piece of memorabilia.
One that caught my eye was the Hulk himself, Mr. Lou Ferigno. How awesome would it be to get to meet the Hulk! Surprisingly, his line was short, so I hustled up there and introduced myself. I was surprised that he was only about an inch taller than me, but for a man of his age, he was in remarkable shape. His biceps were as big as my head! I asked for a photo with him and so we both flexed and that was that. He was nice enough, but you could tell he was just there to make a little spending money.
The biggest moment of the entire con came to me though when I was able to get in line to meet The Boondock Saints. The Boondock Saints is a cult film from 1998 featuring two Irish-American brothers who get a call from God to become assassins and take out the mafia that has been slowly killing Boston. The McManus Brothers are played by Sean Patrick Flannery (who I knew from the Young Indiana Jones series) and Norman Reedus (who would rocket to fame the next year when his new show, The Walking Dead, would premiere on AMC). Both of them were as nice as you could imagine. They stayed to sign autographs for about 30 minutes longer than scheduled, and I was actually second to last in line. I had a grin from ear to ear for the rest of the day. Even as I type this blog entry, I am glancing over at my wall where the autographed picture is hanging.
There is nothing quite like meeting your heroes, and thanks to the convention and the support of my father and friend, I had one of the best weekends of my life.