So I was able to spend a good part of Saturday at the Richmond GalaxyCon. I would have loved to spent more time over the three days but I had a wedding to attend on Sunday, so Saturday was all I could do. As this was my first convention, I was not sure what to expect. Well the verdict is in, and after my time there I can honestly say, I would go again in a second. The people were extremely nice and polite. The costume work by fans were incredibly well done. Any of them would stop to let you get a photo without a complaint and nothing but class.
Comic book Artists Impress
The same could be said about the guests. They were all engaging, even if you didn’t purchase anything. My favorites however, were the comic book artsts. They were willing to sign without a fee for the most part and many added a little drawing to their name. There were a couple of standouts. Comic Veteran Jim Salicrup who was Marvel’s Editor in the 80’s, talked about about his career, what he is doing now, all as he took the time to draw a cartoon Spider-Man and color it in. I was so impressed.
The other was artist Paris Cullins. Paris was sitting next to comic veteran writer Gary Cohn who we actually visited first. He steered us in Paris direction saying that Paris draws the pictures, he writes the words. Let Paris do something for us and he’ll sign it afterwards. Well Paris seemed as interested in us as we were with him. He asked about where we were from and when my wife mentioned that I drew, he asked if I had any examples. I didn’t but I mentioned that when I was young, all I wanted to do was be a comic book artist. Whether it was for Marvel, DC I didn’t care. Needless to say, that never happened.
The artist then talked passionately about his career and how his mother pushed him to not take no for an answer. All of this was aimed at me when I said it was too late for my childhood dreams. He also drew a little picture in addition to his signature. Then Gary Cohn added his autograph. Salicrup and Cullins set the bar really high. If you have an interest in comic books, and they are appearing at your local comic con, take the time to talk to the artists. You will NOT be disappointed.
My Plan Set in Motion
I had said in my convention newbie piece that I was going to make a plan and stick to it. That was without having done one of these before. As I looked over the schedule, I realized that many of the things I wanted to do were going on at the same time. Well…”That’s no fun!” I thought to myself as I went through the schedule. Some hard choices would need to be made. There was a Marvel comics forum going on at the same time as a Michael Dorn Q&A. No Fair I say!
Michael Dorn Q/A
Seeing how that the Star Trek actors in attendance were one of the main reasons I was going, it seemed like an easy decision. Mr. Dorn was very personable and well spoken. He spoke about how his agent had put his name forward for Star Trek: TNG. Not soon after, they called back and told him that he was too late and but if something came open they might call. Sure enough, they called back a few weeks later about him playing the role of a Klingon. In no time at all he was being fitted for wardrobe and makeup tests and after a brief audition between him and a few other actors, he got the part. His role was the last one cast. The rest of them had been together for months.
While Dorn loved the role and the opportunities it presented, he wasn’t however a giant fan of the makeup. In fact, as the Next Generation was winding down, one of the things he was most happy about was not having to go through the makeup process. But then, the folks at Deep Space Nine called. He was about to tell them thanks, but no thanks…until they told him how much they would pay him. He changed his mind. It was after the producers saw him with Terry Ferrell’s Jadzia Dax that they decided to put the pair into a relationship. The rest was Star Trek history. In truth, I had “shipped” the Worf/Dax relationship before there was a word for it. It killed me when they killed her off. (But enough about me).
Thoughts on the Picard Show
Dorn also talked about his once planned series based on Worf. He had written a script and passed it through the studios but it never gained any traction. He then talked about the upcoming Picard show and if he had been talked to about appearing:
As for the Picard show, its very under wraps. But I have not been contacted. Yeah, its a good idea [Worf appearing], but…here we go again. I don’t want to be in the makeup again. And after 11 years on the show, [if they want me] they’re going to have to really step up [contract wise]. But that’s ok. I had dinner with Patrick and we didn’t talk about the show as much as I wanted to talk about it. But I asked him if he’s happy about how it has turned out, the working environment and being a producer, being part of the thing from the ground up. He said it was a great experience, and I really look forward to the episodes.
Thoughts About What We Left Behind
Dorn was also asked about the recent Documentary released about Deep Space Nine. While he said it was extremely well done, he wasn’t sure what the purpose of the documentary was or the message they were trying to communicate. Did they think the show ended too soon? Was it not as respected as it should be? He wasn’t sure. But he enjoyed being a part of it. He had 5o minutes to talk an he used every minute of it.
Enter the Hulk
Next was Lou Ferrigno. He didn’t have as much to say as Michael. However, he was very inspirational, talking about his childhood and how he chose to build his body to overcome some of the disadvantages he had. As a child, he suffered from 75% hearing loss which resulted in a speech impediment. Lou never let that stop him. He trained to become the best he could be and eventually it lead him to Mr. Universe and the role he is most famous for, The Incredible Hulk.
Makeup was also an issue for Ferrigno. Like Dorn, it took a number of hours to apply the makeup required for him to be the Hulk. During the first year, he was going to his trailer early for his makeup, but he was eating large omelettes for breakfast in the morning. One morning it came to him but he wasn’t ready for it just yet. He told them to leave it outside his trailer. Once he was ready, he told his assistant to retrieve it but it was no longer there. Apparently, a coyote had come up and eaten it.
King of Queens and Appreciating Those Who Came Before
He was asked about his time on King of Queens. He said he had never did a comedy show before a live audience but he enjoyed it. Especially working with Jerry Stiller. He said it was hard at time to suppress his laughter when watching him work.
Ferrigno also expressed his appreciation for Stan Lee, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both he said opened the doors for others. He recognized Stan Lee for making comics mainstream enough that a show like the Incredible Hulk could be made. The same could be said for Arnold who opened the door for body builders to be recognized as being intelligent enough to be actors despite their brawn.
When the inevitable question was asked about who his favorite Bruce Banner was, he responded with the name most expected, Bill Bixby. He respected the work that Edward Norton did and he has yet to see End Game, but given the choice, he picked his Banner.
Killing Time at Richmond GalaxyCon
After that, it was time to explore the sites until the first of our scheduled photo ops came up. That is when we explored the artists section and was blown away by their attitudes and their willingness to talk. Soon it was time for our first photo op with the aforementioned Lou Ferrigno. Newsflash! Lou is a big guy. His arms are still huge but he is a real sweetheart. Needless to say, according to my sister, our “Cool Factor” shot up by a factor of 10 with that photo. We still had some time before our next photo op. When you’re big stars like us, everyone wants a photo with you.
“We’re Not Worthy! We’re Not Worthy!”
We stopped for a bite to eat and then as we walked about, we spied Alice Cooper. My wife took a few pictures from a distance and sent them to our daughters. Our Daughter Crystal was extremely excited. I didn’t even know she was aware of who Alice Cooper was. Realizing how much she appreciated it, we then decided to buy an 8×10 photo and have him sign it for her.
While he was signing, Professor Cooper told us that the foil he was carrying in the photo belonged to Errol Flynn. It was the sword he used in the film Captain Blood. Alice had been using in his stage show ever since he received it. My wife took a photo of him signing the photo. It was one of those live iPhone photos that when activated, it showed him writing her whole name.The girl went nuts. She cried like she had just watched Old Yeller die. It was so sweet she was so happy.
We then talked to John Wesley Shipp for a moment as I regaled him with the story that the first time I had ever seen him was on a soap opera with my Mother. That probably made him feel swell. In the soap, he was always without his shirt. He laughed and said at that time they always had him shirtless and in Speedos. I told him that because of that, I knew that the muscles in his Flash suit were probably his and not added on. Next, since we had just spent money on Alice, I decided that I should go for broke and get a “selfie” with Kevin Conroy. The “official” voice of Batman. How was I going to top that? The answer for me was up next.
A Shipper’s Moment Comes True
Soon it was time for the next photo ops. This one was with Michael Dorn and Terry Ferrell a.k.a. Worf and Jadzia Dax. This one was purely for me. We went into the tent they used for the photo op, and the first thing I was surprised to see was how tall Terry Ferrell is. I walked to her side while my Wife went to Michael’s. As I approached, she looked me in the eyes and she commented how blue my eyes were. She said they matched my shirt. They were super blue. I’m surprised my cheeks weren’t red from blushing. We got the picture and it is now one of my prized possessions. Well….along with that Batman guy.
Overall it was an experience that I will remember for a long time. Great thanks again goes to @RichmondGalaxyCon for a first class event and @GeeksVibeNation for sending me there. Sign me up again when the next one happens. I am SO THERE!
I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 15 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.