Blue on Black: Toronto, Book Launches & ComiCon – Oh My!

I’m a pretty impulsive person. I always have been. This behaviour has taken me on some wild rides, some incredible, some not so much. Now that I’m a “responsible adult” I’ve toned it down and reigned it in quite a bit, but still sometimes I get that itch to go for something, my inner voice whispering, “Come on… Why not?” Recently, a stranger invited me to fly across the country and stay at his house for a few days. “It’ll be fun,” he said. That was pretty much all I needed to hear, so I booked a ticket, caught the flight, and crossed my fingers that this guy wasn’t a serial killer since I was going to be staying at his house. Well it turns out he wasn’t a serial killer, at least not the kind interested in the likes of me, and it turned out to be quite a fine 6 days after all.

I should probably mention that the stranger in this story is in fact Andy Burns, and that he (obviously) wasn’t a complete stranger. We’d become close online friends since last summer when our paths silently crossed at the Twin Peaks Festival in North Bend, Washington, and even more so since last fall when I started writing for BBP. He invited me to Toronto for the launch of his book, Wrapped in Plastic: Twin Peaks, but we had never spent any time together in person, so we were both a little nervous that our online connection wouldn’t necessarily translate into the real world. Turns out it did, and we had a fantastic time.

On Sunday, we decided to check out Toronto ComiCon so we could cover it for BBP. One broken subway and one bizarre cab ride later, we made it to the Convention Centre and about five minutes later, Andy disappeared. Maybe he can tell you where he ran off to…

ANDY’S STORY:

Why, yes I can, Amanda. Thank you. Ms. Blue gets it right in the above – she’s become a close friend through the magic of Facebook and the Internet, proving that sometimes FB friends are more involved in your life than ones that live around the corner. Now, now matter how much Amanda and I wound up liking one another in person, I honestly hate wandering around with people at conventions. I have my own speed that I like to go at, and it doesn’t involve wallking around with anyone else. Since Amanda had her partner in crime with her, I didn’t feel any reluctance leaving them and going at my own pace.

This strategy worked out well for me, as I managed to find the one and only Larry Hama working on sketches. For those that don’t know who Mr. Hama is, consider him to be the architect of the world of G.I. Joe, having created the majority of characters for the comic book and television show, including the fact files on the back of the action figures that would detail the histories of a given figure. Larry was doing sketches for $40, which to me was an absolute steal, so I plunked down my money for a Snake-Eyes (after much internal debate; I almost went for a Storm Shadow, but at the end of the day I think we can agree that Snake-Eyes is the most iconic creation) and was told to come back in twenty minutes. When I got back, this is what I found:

Burns and Hama

 

I wound up finding my friends, who were in search of coffee, which just happened to be right near where the lovely Amber Benson was signing. Now, as Tara on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Amber was one of my favourite characters, and she has also made a great career for herself as a writer. I’m not really and autograph or photo guy, but I did want to thank her for all of her fine work, which the folks managing her line were nice enough to let us all do. Amber and I spoke about my daughter, who we named after Anya from BTVS, and I also mentioned that I had just had my first book published. Amber took down the name of it (Wrapped In Plastic: Twin Peaks) and seemed enthused to read it. She was a genuine sweetheart, clearly a pop culture geek herself who understands fandom and was happy to just to hear a thank you. Back to you, Amanda!

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After our time with the lovely Amber Benson (who very sweetly signed a photo for my die-hard Buffy fan friend Eric), we sat on the floor and ate some smokehouse BBQ, then decided to wander around a little more and see what other familiar names and faces we could find and how much more money we could spend. I ended up meeting James O’Barr for the second time, was equally as starstruck as I was the first time, and picked up these spectacular prints from him (apologies for poor photo quality):

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That about sums up our time at ComiCon. It was a lot of fun, even with the screaming Navi cosplayer – if you were there, you know exactly who I mean. She was pretty adorable though, and I laughed so hard at how upset some people were getting about it.

Tuesday night was Andy’s big launch, hosted by ECW Press, and he shared the stage and floor with Richard Crouse who was also releasing his book, Elvis is King: Costello’s My Aim Is True. It was a damn fine night, filled with so much laughter, great music, many drinks, and of course, cherry pie. Flying home the next day, I felt so proud of my friend and so grateful that I was impulsive enough to take this random trip, to stay at the home of someone I’d never met, and be part of such a wonderful evening the night before. Well done, Andrew. Thanks for having me. And thanks for not being a serial killer.

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