NY Comic Con part 1

Posted by Jose On October - 19 - 2010

James Robinson (left) comic book writer of Starman and Jose Antonio Rivera (right), contributor for Thoughts on Cinema.


By: Jose Rivera

Often it’s said that you shouldn’t meet your idols—that more times than not, you’ll end up disappointed. In my time going to comic conventions, I’ve seen the face of fans who’ve met the men and women who have inspired them over the years. Sometimes, it’s the look of satisfaction, sometimes it’s the look of “oh…well, then,” as if a grand moment they imagined in their heads had been deflated. On a personal level, I’ve had some experiences with creators that have turned into lasting friendships, and there were those meetings where I left feeling like I had gotten the bum’s rush so the artist or writer could get me out of the way and knock their ever-growing line out of the way so that person could go to lunch. Either way, meeting people you look up to is always a mixed bag, but in the case of this year’s New York Comic Con, I think I got away with the exception to the rule.

Walking along the con floor with my sister, I noticed someone talking to Joe Casey at the Man of Action Booth. He was tall, had short hair, a black and white checkered shirt, and there was something about him all too familiar. It took me a moment to place the face, but when I did, I could feel a star-struck paralysis over take me. Standing just mere feet away from me was James Robinson!

It is here that I have to take a moment to explain just why I felt that awesome and scary feeling I got when seeing him. Back in High School, I got into his run on Starman through accessible single issues and trade paperbacks. I’ve loved comics all my life, but Starman was the first comic to make me stand up and take notice of the writing, as opposed to the art or the big important event tied to a certain issue. I looked at devices like foreshadowing, story-arcs and long term characterization for the first time and how intricately they were woven into the narrative, all while telling an outstanding story of a guy who slowly over time evolves into a man. I had been toying with the notion into getting into writing, but after reading Starman, it was a done deal. This entire run is something I cite as a big inspiration for me to get into writing.

So there was Robinson, walking down Artist’s Alley. Normally, I’m not one to go up to a stranger and strike a conversation. And, for a second I was debating whether or not I should go up and say something. But, I went for it—I can’t say if that was due to some surge of courage, or for the fact that he wasn’t on the list for the convention, so it was a now or never moment…but I went for it!

I remember asking him, “Excuse me? Are you James Robinson?” Startled, he said “Yes, I am.” I’ll admit, not the best way to start off a conversation, when I already knew who he was, but I was running on adrenaline and luck. I introduced myself and shook his hand. I can’t remember the exact words, but I told him I was a big fan of his work and told him how much of an inspiration he was for me to the point where his work made me want to go to school for writing. Humbly, he nodded, smiled and thanked me. Seeing so many people at conventions talking to people they idolized just ramble on and on when the person couldn’t care less, I decided to make the convo short and sweet. I thanked him for his time and I shook his hand again as I left.

Of course, this is me and in the short time I walked away from him, it hit me… “Oh shit! I didn’t have anything for him to sign to me!” I’m big on personalized signatures because A) It shows I actually enjoy the work as opposed to being someone who grabs autographs to sell on Ebay and B) It’s a keepsake from a moment where I got to go up to someone who’s work I enjoy and thank them. Sadly, because I wanted to wait until the last day of the convention (which was the next day) to buy it, I didn’t have the latest Starman Omnibus on me. Granted, this was a great story to tell people, but I wanted something that showed I got to meet one of my idols. As my sister was with me and she had her camera with her, I asked her for a favor.

I remember Robinson being only a few feet behind me when I turned around to him. “Mr. Robinson, I hate to bother you, but I was wondering if I could get a photo with you?” I said nervously. He said “Of course,” in a way that made me energetic and not feel like a fool for asking. My sister raised her camera and took the photo. It took about two tries but I can safely say I got it! And when I thanked him again and left, I was literally jumping up and down the aisles with the biggest smile on my face.

It may have seemed strange just coming up to him and blathering on about how much I was a fan and how he did something special in my life, but he was so gracious about it. And while it was a case of it being another day for him and a big moment for me, he never once gave me the impression I was bothering him or wasting his time. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but that professionalism he gave really stood out for me.

They say you shouldn’t meet your idols for fear of disappointment. But, on that day, by sheer random luck I got to meet the man who started me on the road to writing that I’m still walking to this day.


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Thoughts on Cinema is dedicated to film reviews. An uncompromising opinion on the intellectual, artistic, and entertainment value to the consumer. With rising ticket prices, we dedicate ourselves to present to you content regarding what you should or should not be viewing. -Ronald H. Pollock Founder and Editor in Chief