Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife and I went to C2E2 and took photos! Other chapters in the series:
Part 1: Costume Contest Winners
Part 2: The Rest of the Costume Contest
Part 3: Edge of Deadpoolverse
Part 4: Mighty Marvel Costumes
Part 5: More Comics Costumes
Part 6: Mystery Science Costume Theater 3000
Part 7: Last Call for Costumes
Part 9: Random Acts of C2E2ing
Today’s feature: the writers, artists, and renowned actors we encountered on Friday and Saturday. The photo op with Hayley Atwell, a.k.a. Peggy Carter, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., was the weekend’s finale to a long line of nifty creative types in the house.
Before the exhibit hall opened Friday, I knew where stop #1 would be: the autograph table of actor Chad Coleman. Most recently known as Tyreese on AMC’s The Walking Dead, to me he’ll always be Cutty from The Wire.
Our longest autograph wait at this show wasn’t for a TV star. Meet Dan Slott, the Marvel writer in charge of Amazing Spider-Man over the past several years. His inspired version of Silver Surfer, with artist Michael Allred, is a blatant, welcome, delightful homage to Doctor Who, which makes sense since he’s an unabashed Whovian supreme.
I’d been trying to narrow down what I wanted to say when it was my turn, but all that got tossed out the window when he saw my wife’s Doctor Who shirt, lit up, and began showing us phone pics of Who stars he’s met at other recent cons. I had no problem stepping back and enjoying this fun treat, especially since we’re both jealous that he got to meet David Tennant and we haven’t. Yet.
We wandered over half the exhibit hall before making our way to Artists Alley and meeting lots of cool folks making cool books. Among those we met:
Writer, professor, and comic shop owner Christy Blanch! We saw her moderate two panels at this year’s Indiana Comic Con, and on my last birthday we visited a Muncie comic shop she co-owns with husband/writer Mark Waid. I understand the already impressive store has relocated into even larger digs, so now we have to revisit Muncie sometime.
I first saw Gene Ha in person at a DC panel at Wizard World Chicago 1999 (my very first road trip with Anne!), but never met him till now. He’s illustrated many praiseworthy things (tip of the iceberg includes Alan Moore’s Top 10 and a Shade miniseries for DC) and has launched a Kickstarter for his new graphic novel, Mae.
Speaking of WWC 1999: at that show, writer James Robinson signed my copy of Firearm #1, one of the best Malibu Ultraverse titles that everyone but a few of us oldsters has now forgotten. Sixteen years later I brought that same copy for cosigning by artist Cully Hamner, because that’s how highly I thought of it. Non-comics fans may recognize the Bruce Willis/Helen Mirren/Morgan Freeman/John Malkovich action comedy RED, which was very lightly based on a three-issue miniseries he co-created with Warren Ellis, so hopefully the filmmakers sent him some monies.
David A. Rodriguez isn’t a household name yet, but I remembered reading a sample of his book Finding Gossamyr when it was a decent Free Comic Book Day 2012 offering. Three years and some dollars later, I’m looking forward to reading more of that story in spiffy hardcover.
Speaking of things ordinary people might not remember: Matthew Rosenberg was selling copies of his new Black Mask project We Can Never Go Home, but we’d first seen him at a C2E2 2013 panel about music in comics. I’m still really sorry about those pics.
Speaking of not-ordinary people: we first met writer Brian K. Morris (the one in the fez) at Gen Con 2012, where he cosplayed as the world’s finest version of Uncle Dudley, a.k.a. Uncle Marvel of the SHAZAM! Family. Since then he’s written one novel for Amazon Worlds based on Valiant Comics’ Bloodshot, and one starring his own creation called Santastein. By his side is the fezless Sean Dulaney, from whom I bought a copy of his comic F. Stein, Consulting Detective, also available on comiXology. That’s two — TWO Steins for the price of two!
The first I knew of Jason Howard was Super Dinosaur, his Image Comics title with Robert Kirkman. Lately he’s been killing it on Warren Ellis’ Trees.
When Marvel announced they were launching a new Hawkeye series, I thought it was too soon and it shouldn’t be done. Two issues into All-New Hawkeye, the art of Ramon Perez — alternating pen-and-ink present-day Hawkeyes’ derring-do with painted flashbacks of the Barton boys’ runaway childhood — has shown up my worries as 100% misplaced.
(NOT PICTURED ABOVE: animator Stephen Franck, who’s transitioning to comics with the promising-looking Silver; and writer/lawyer Charles Soule, whom I already met at the last two C2E2s, and even saw at that same music/comics panel with Matthew Rosenberg. A third photo seemed beside the point, but I had to stop by his table because every year he keeps thinking up new stuff for me to buy.)
By the end of Friday, my autograph/swag haul looked roughly like so, give or take a book:
Saturday, we had a few modest objectives, but wound up with far more than expected. In addition to the aforementioned Hayley Atwell, we also had the pleasure of meeting Ming Na-Wen, a.k.a. Melinda May, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m old enough to remember when she was in a few early-season episodes of E.R., but now I know her as the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who gets all the best fight scenes and many of the best overall scenes.
(I nearly cropped myself out of the photo. I know I smiled, but it must’ve been during some other, totally uncaptured second.)
In the afternoon we caught one of several Marvel Comics panels about this summer’s Secret Wars crossover event, this one focusing on the various “Battleworld” chapters. Pictured left to right: editor Nick Lowe as our jolly MC; writers James Robinson, Jonathan Hickman, Charles Soule, and Joshua Williamson; and editors Jon Moisan and Jake Thomas.
After Na-Wen’s line, we attended a panel screening of the first episode of the new Yahoo! Screen sci-fi sitcom Other Space, which is like Star Trek Voyager meets The Office. This was my best chance to see any of the series for now, since, as previously discussed, our PC hates hates hates Yahoo! Screen. My overall impression: I was happier and better amused whenever the pilot sounded less like everyday Twitter quotes and more like surprising punchlines that would never occur to me. There was enough of the latter that I thought it was a great start, impishly directed by Academy Award Winner Luke Matheny (the funny-sweet live-action short “God of Love”), and I hope it makes tons of money for all involved so I can someday watch the rest of season 1 on DVD or on a platform that’s Chromecast-compatible.
The Q&A afterward featured four of the show’s stars and its creator. We’ve met one of those folks before: Joel Hodgson, legendary creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000, who was at last year’s Indy Pop Con. His newest role is an engineering burnout who’s only occasionally connected to reality and every so often isn’t a lackadaisical danger to the rest of the crew. He’s pictured here at the Q&A with costar Milana Vayntrub.
Here’s a much, much better pic of Milana Vayntrub with more lighting and not from fifteen rows away. Americans know her best as the happy AT&T helper from that series of commercials where she plays one of that corporation’s most knowledgeable employees of all time. I understand she’s also appeared in several College Humor videos.
Karan Soni (Safety Not Guaranteed) may or may not be a future superstar thanks to his role in this fall’s Goosebumps movie, but until then he’s Other Space‘s quasi-fearless ship’s captain. His optimism, book-smarts, and problem-solving skills sometimes help compensate for his leadership deficiencies and his crew’s grudges against him.
My number one reason for showing up: he was Dr. Clayton Forrester. He was the voice of Crow T. Robot. He was one of the few main MST3K cast members I hadn’t yet met. And now, at long last, I faced Trace Beaulieu like a man and proudly didn’t squeal like a preteen groupie. On Other Space he’s the voice of Joel Hodgson’s incidental robot A.R.T., who is also cool, but on the other hand DR. CLAYTON FORRESTER. “Big deal” is an understatement.
[happy shrieking deleted]
Seated at his right is a man I had no absolutely idea would be at C2E2. I wish I’d known.
Other Space creator Paul Feig:
He created the cult classic Freaks and Geeks. He wrote and directed many episodes of The Office. He’s responsible for comedies such as Bridesmaids and the upcoming Melissa McCarthy vehicle Spy. He’s the man in charge of the much-discussed Ghostbusters reboot. And now here he was at C2E2, right in front of us, and instead of asking him fifty questions all I could do was shake his hand and thank him while my brain short-circuited and let me down. THANKS, BRAIN.
…and those are the people that were. To be concluded!