Chronicles of a Comic Expo – Day Zero: Meet and Greet

As many of you know I had a couple of panels at the Malta Comics Expo this past weekend and I wanted to talk about the whole experience in general.

Let me start off by saying this: there were some surprises. And I don’t like surprises. Not when they involve my business.

I really don’t want to bitch about it, but really, there was little else to do – especially for the first two days. I come to realize that the organizers had never organized anything in their life, much less a full on international comic con with legends like Dirk Benedict and Sylvester McCoy (whom I was told were being a little . . . how shall I put this . . . cunt-y). So I guess you can expect blunders.

Here’s an example of how bad things got at one point: Stefanie DeLeo and I were forced to cancel our Writing and Publishing panel TWICE and when talking to the Sailor Moon voice actors, we realize that they not only had no one attend their panel in a hall meant for 1200 people (I was actually in that show and yeah it was fucking sad) but they were forced to cancel twice on the first day. Oh, same shit happened to STAR WARS. If fucking Star Wars is getting no one, some dingy writing panel is not getting shit.

Hey, I’m not saying is was a bad Expo. All I’m saying is, perhaps the folks here were trying to achieve too much with what little they had. Again, not bitching. I did sincerely thank them, and who knows I just might go back for the next expo.

But I’m jumping ahead. Let’s all turn our clocks back to Thursday the 30th of October.

It was a cool, brisk evening, when a guy (me) wearing a Celldweller android T-Shirt (I thought this would be funny since we’re in a Sci-fi themed event) walks up to the venue and realizes that despite the promoter saying “causal”, must were wearing evening dresses.

“Fuck,” says the guy (again, me), but then that feeling soon goes away and who gives a shit anyway?

So  it’s at this time that I meet an old friend and we start talking. I don’t know anyone in a 500 meter radius so – hell, I’m just glad she and I got to talking. And then the stars show up. Now, we have a particular form of brain damage in this country that disables us from interacting with people . . . like, ever. As these Hollywood old legends walk through, we part like Moses and the Red Sea, and they stare at us, wondering why are we looking at them with the same awe as children do animals in a zoo.

As soon as Sylvester McCoy enters the house, some idiot shoves a camera in his face and, he and Dirk Benedict commence a routine that I fully believe was a cry for help.

Now where am I in all this? I get swept away with people, cos I’m not a famous guy yet and then I get shoved next to McCoy but out of the shot (again, not -fucking – famous).

So the two are doing their routine and they try interacting with us. No one responds – well except I. Suddenly this becomes a three-way with me telling jokes with two Hollywood legends.

Let me clarify – had NO IDEA who these people were. I watched their work, I read half a Wikipedia entry but that’s about it. And it turns out, if you DON’T know that someone is famous, you are not stressed out about talking to them.

Because the moment I do, half the population in the room gasps. A person I know pulls me aside and goes, “what are you doing?” in hushed tones.

“Talking to the guests,” says I

“That’s Sylvester McCoy,” says she.

“Who’s Sylvester McCoy?” I reply, not knowing that the guy in question was less than a foot away, looking at me with half a smile.

Of course, at that point an apology is necessary – or you can blatantly reintroduce yourself and mentally tell the guy to get the fuck over it.

So after that the party commences, and the chatting begins. Honestly I was more interested in reacquainting my self with the old friend I met outside than chat with the guests, who turns out were not that as grandiose as we set them out to be. Actors are regular people folks – and sometimes, after jet lag, regular people get very tired and very boring.

Myself (and my lovely evening companion – wow that sounded very Fifty Shades of Grey), I stalked Joe Harris, with whom I was supposed to have a Sci-fi panel on Sunday and we had a lovely chat – mostly it was me trying to avoid hinting that I never watched X-Files. But hey, he was cool so we talked and fucked off.

A while later I try to find Stefanie DeLeo but she changed her hair color from her Facebook picture and I’m blinded by lights, so I spend the better part of the evening looking for her. By accident I get introduced to her best friend, and original singer for the Sailor Moon anime, Jennifer Cihi.

Now how do I describe Jennifer? Take all the happiness in the world, divide it by a basket of kittens and puppies snuggling with each other, and multiply by rainbow-colored unicorns and fairies sprinkling pixie dust on candy-eating children. She is loud, joyous, bubbly and I believe the Oxford dictionary people need to be contacted to add her name to the definition of “awesome.”

About three second later, once my heart rat goes back to normal, I get introduced to Stefanie and she too is the awesome-est person ever, but on a different scale. She’s quiet, yet enthusiastic, calm, happy, nice and has a lot of highly embarrassing stories that I was too eager to hear. I’ll say this about this event: it was all worth it just to meet these lovely ladies.

But wait there’s more (he said in the worst segue ever). At one point my friend Liz waves me over and introduces me to two amazing human beings: Toby Proctor and Linda Ballantyne. And just in case you don’t know, these were the voices of Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon/Serena in the original run of Sailor Moon.

But here’s where things get interesting. Toby has all the lines, swag and style you can have as a guy. He kept the jokes coming, making Linda do a couple spit takes. Linda, despite looking conservative, is the furthest thing from it.

Which is why I suggested both my friend and Linda have a second glass of wine. I know Liz can’t handle her booze: turns out Linda isn’t too far behind. She was loud and funny, and I couldn’t stop laughing the entire time.

See, it’s like this guys. These people are like gods at conventions. They are used to people fawning over them – like objects. But when you start treating them like regular folks and joking in less-than-appropriate way, you discover that they are just as bad (and foul-mouthed) as you are. And that makes them awesome. At one point Liz and the other girl I knew were teaching them Maltese swear words – and boy did that voice acting training come in handy. I was just say I didn’t capture any of it.

So, to summarize, Day Zero was epic. I met awesome people and made some friends – which is all you can ask for in these events. This was one of the best days in 2014 for me, and it’s a shame Day One was less than stellar. But that’s in the next post.

Stay tuned for more,



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One comment on “Chronicles of a Comic Expo – Day Zero: Meet and Greet
  1. Ray Napier says:

    A fair and true evaluation of Day 1. Thank you for being there Ryan.

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