THE WATCHMEN WERE EVERYWHERE and nowhere at last weekend’s Wondercon. At least half of the vendor booths on the main floor were pushing some form of Watchmen memorabilia but surprisingly none of the rabid fanboys and gals dressed up as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ dark, depressing and nearly washed up post modern heroes. I saw several platoons of stormtroopers, all presumably being told that these weren’t the droids they were looking for. There were weird anime girls with purple wigs and, of course, there were numerous Captains America and Batmen, all at various stages of physical fitness. I didn’t spot one Rorschach or Dr. Manhattan. That’s not to say they weren’t there. I mean, the place was packed. It was ass to crotch out there, especially on Saturday.
Then again, I was distracted. I was bushwhacked by Eric Caiden of the Hollywood Book and Poster Company on Saturday. He had Beer, Blood and Cornmeal prominently displayed at his booth. I asked him if he wanted me to sign it, holding up the author pic on the back cover to my face to prove I was me. “I’ve been waiting to meet this guy,” he said with a little too much enthusiasm. I knew that I had walked into a potential hornet’s nest there. Caiden is good friends with deposed Incredibly Strange Wrestling originator Johnny Legend and he had some issues with my retelling of ISW’s formative years in the book. He told me that Legend had actually promoted rock and lucha shows in the 1980s, years before ISW in San Francisco. One of the shows was headlined by L7 no less.
Still, in BBAC I do give credit to Legend for coming up with the show. Sometimes stories you tell have a way of evolving right under your feet. Caiden did go on to say that he really liked BBAC and that he also liked the “Judo” Gene LeBell autobiography that I co-authored, titled The Godfather of Grappling. It’s nice to have a fan, especially when he’s a book seller. Caiden wanted to put me on the phone with Legend for a real meeting of the minds but I had a bunch of people with me and Eric had Watchmen posters to sell – by the ton.
I was able to score a copy of the documentary on the late Creature Features #1 host Bob Wilkins, Watch Horror Films – Keep America Strong. (You can read my obit of Wilkins by scrolling down this page.) I also got to talk to Creature Features host #2 John Stanley. He seemed happy that I had hauled off and written a weird monter, punk wrestling book. He probably gets that sort of thing a lot from his former viewers, but never enough. We even took this snapshot with him posing with BBAC and me posing with the DVD of the Creature Features doc.
Now back to the costumes. I was in costume this year too but didn’t cram my body built by thousands of tacos al pastor into a Daredevil suit. Captain America and Incognito scribe Ed Brubaker put me (as well as my pals Lucky Bel Mateo and Jeremy) in a recent issue of Criminal. I work in a place called the Blue Fly Diner. I choke a guy out and end up doing some really heinous things by the time the story ends. My girlfriend Rosie found a place online that would make me an embroidered Dickies workshirt with the Blue Fly Diner logo on the back like the one I’m wearing in the comic book. Great idea! So I got to go to the con in costume, but still be myself, because I’m now a comic book character.
I also got to check out the preview of Brubaker’s new webtacular Angel of Death starring stunt woman par excellence Zoë Bell (Grindhouse/Death Proof) as an ass kicking assassin. They showed the first episode, which ends cliffhanger style with a knife being driven into Bell’s head. She still lives anyway, but how? Well you have to watch the next episode! I have to say that Angel of Death is an ultra violent Republic Serial, and that’s one of the highest compliments I can give. I got to meet Bell after the con and I gave her a copy of BBAC. We mostly talked about Gene LeBell (who or what else?). They even almost have the same name. You know Gene had relatives from New Zealand. No lie. It’s in the book. You can watch Angel of Death at crackle.com.
As you can tell, I had a blast at Wondercon this year. It’s taken me a week to recover. Sorry for the delay. I haven’t even gotten around to telling you about hanging out at the Edinburgh Castle with my pal and Kirby inker Mike Royer or the tales of Carrie Fisher bumming cigarettes. Now I can’t wait for my favorite con of the year, Super Con in San Jose! Michael Golden will be there. So will The General and so should you.