I once had the privilege to go to a comic distributors’ convention as a retailer. It’s an exciting and different experience. If you say you like a product, they give you one.
While I was there, somebody said, “There’s a girl here dressed like Vampirella.” This was a long time ago, and the only image of Vampi in my head was a comic book image. I said, “That’s impossible,” thinking that costume simply wouldn’t work on a real girl.
I was wrong. There she was, eating a cookie. “Here I am,” she said, when I told her I didn’t think it was possible. A tiny little thing, but she looked fantastic in the amazingly clingy skimpy red outfit. Later, this lovely woman was featured on trading cards and other media as the Vampirella model. Many have done that since. But for me, this was Fantasy Land unexpectedly transformed into Actual Land before my eyes.
You can see from this photo that it was before my hair turned all silvery, so it was a long time ago. Also note my Xenozoic Tales T-shirt and jacket with Buckaroo Banzai patch, X-men pins, and specially made tag that says SFRPGXPRT. You don’t get much more geeky than that.
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At the same convention, I was told that Colleen Doran was there. She is a lovely redhead, but I had read her comics, and frankly, I didn’t like them much. However, my libido took over (still in overdrive, see above) and I walked around the corner to her booth. There she was, chatting with somebody, looking gorgeous.
I turned around and walked away. What was I going to say? “You’re lovely, but I don’t like your work.” I couldn’t fake that. I’m not good at lying, which hampered me in earlier years on the dating scene. Anyway, I froze up and left.
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At a comic shop, I once met both Chris Claremont and Neil Gaiman in the same day. I waited patiently in line to talk to Claremont, told him how much I loved Rogue, and he was sad he couldn’t write for those characters any more (he had just left Marvel to write an Aliens book for Dark Horse). He signed my Avengers Annual #11 (first appearance of Rogue, but you knew that, certainly) and we had a nice talk.
I waited in line again to meet Neil Gaiman. I was already a fanatic Sandman fan, and brought my Sandman #1 for him to sign. He drew mysterious eyes and weird lines coming out of them (Neil often draws little things when he signs).
The woman in front of me in line had chatted amiably with Neil for some time and I was getting annoyed waiting for her to finish. When it was my turn I was, for one of the few times in my life, nearly speechless. I think I stammered out, “Thanks for all the stories.” I’d like to talk to him again some time.