Monday, May 23, 2011

An Amazing Weekend of Comic Porportions

Not our typical weekend, but just had to get it posted here - still feeling the excitement buzz!

For James's birthday, I surprised him with tickets to the Dallas Comic Convention. He's been reading comics and specifically Spider Man since a young age. I have always loved movies but got into comic books when we started dating. It's been many, many years since we have been to a convention... but despite my hesitation about taking the kids (more because I thought they would be bored than anything else) we just couldn't miss this! Stan Lee was going to be there!!!

For readers not aware of comic books or comic history - Stan Lee is IT! We watched a dvd the night before the convention and I learned a bit more about how IT he really is, but I ways knew he was big. He started writing comics when he was very young and worked for a small publishing company that would one day become Marvel. He created most of the big characters - Spider Man, The Hulk, The Fantastic 4, many of the X-Men characters - pretty much anyone that has a Marvel movie out in the last ten years! He really shaped how comics were done and who the big characters were as well as what Marvel became. So to meet Stan Lee, who is probably close to 90 yrs old, this was huge! This could quite possibly be our only chance.

Also, being kids of parents who love movies and comics, both Nathan and Evan have developed a love of super heros - specifically Spider Man and all things Marvel. :-) Many nights Evan pulls out a big Encyclopedia of Marvel Characters that we have on the shelf (it's as big as he is!) and asks James to "teach me about super heroes." It is very sweet to hear.

So, when James mentioned the convention was coming to Irving and Stan Lee would be there, I went to work. A bit of research and I decided we needed Priority Passes (getting us ahead of General Admission in most lines but not ahead of the more expensive VIP passes) at least 2 tickets for autographs and a ticket for a photo with Stan Lee. Luckily the kids were free!

Finally the weekend arrived - everyone was excited. I packed like a champ for any need that might arrive, plenty of snacks, pb&j sandwiches all around and surprise superhero coloring books to entertain the boys in line! Soon we were on our way:

Evan, me and Nathan outside the Exhibit Hall. We spent most of Sunday in there looking for cool toys while James enjoyed the Q&A with Stan Lee (more on that later). We saw some fun costumes, but not as many as I had hoped. That's Harley Quinn (from DC Batman comics) behind me in the red and black.

The line for autographs was fast and furious! I had no idea. They did a great job grouping and lining up VIP's first and then Priority (us) by numbers. We were in line and done so quick my head was spinning! Kudo's to them for moving the line fast - the boys didn't get restless at all. But I had hoped to get a chance to say something to Stan Lee. I even had the delusion that each boy might get to say high, maybe sing the Spider Man song... I did good to snap some photos while they shuffled us by. James did get to tell Stan Lee how much the comics meant to him which was cool. The above photo Stan Lee is about to sign our two comics, we hadn't even turned around to see him almost. And the next photo...

Stan Lee is signing the comic of the guy behind us! That's how fast we moved.

Snapped this cool shot as we walked away - that's Nathan's head at the bottom.

We stepped away from the crowd to admire our signatures and get a few photos of our own.

Next we were off to find the line for our photo! Stan Lee was on a crazy schedule - signing for an hour and then upstairs for photos for an hour, then back down to sign more! So crazy! I didn't know how long the boys would last in the photo line and there was no priority access for this one, just first come first served. So we settled into the line about 8 people back and had some snacks. I broke out the new coloring books which helped the boys and we stood our ground until they were ready to shoot the photos.

I got a great spot across from the door Stan Lee would enter so I snapped a few shots of him coming in. The photographer was kind of a jerk about not wanting anyone to take any photos and he really yelled at me and about 6 other geek boys who started snapping away when Stan Lee entered the room. I had my flash off, but I planned to get as much as I could before they actually started taking pictures. Most of them came out pretty good.

Again, the line moved super fast, but Stan Lee was so nice. He put his arms around me and James and as I walked away, I leaned close to him and said "Thank you for creating characters that my boys could love." He gracously said thank you back to me. We waited a couple of hours to get our photo and it just says it all!

Look at those smiles! I think we've never gotten a better family photo as far as smiling faces - and this was our one and only shot!

While we waited to get our photo, we found a quiet corner to eat lunch and let the boys run and play. Then we went back to the Exhibit hall to look around. Nathan found a Star Wars Episode 1 toy that was only $9 - a real deal! And Evan even found some Pixar Cars toys so he got the new Lightening McQueen and the race car Nitroade.

On our way out Saturday, we spotted a really great Darth Vader - just what I had hoped for! Nathan wants to have a Star Wars birthday party and this photo will be perfect for his invitation!!

Since our Priority passes were good for both days, we packed it all up again Sunday morning and headed back to for more! They were having an hour long Q&A session with Stan Lee and John Ramita Jr (an very big artist for Marvel who worked with Stan Lee on a lot of comics). I told James he just had to go to that but I knew the boys couldn't handle it, much too boring for their age. So we left him first in the Priority line and spent the morning wandering the exhibit hall in search of toys!

James got a great seat - front and center - and took lots of really great photos during the Q&A. He had a great time and I was so glad!

The boys and I survived the crowds, scoured every corner of the exhibit hall and they came out like champs - Nathan got a Human Torch (from the Fantastic 4) figure and 3Pixar Cars cars from the Monster's Inc clip at the end of the film. Evan picked 2 small My Little Pony characters (don't know why but he loves those ponies!) and 4 Pixar Cars cars that we didn't have yet. I got the joy of watching them and playing with them while we ate our lunch and waited for James to finish.

It was such a great day for us all and so worth every penny and moment. It was pretty close to a perfect weekend! Wish we had seen you there.

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