Right now, the weather outside is more cold and frigid than Dick Cheney's dark heart, but right now, I'm feeling relatively warm inside.
Last night, I had a chance to not only hang with some new friends, but to meet some individuals who had a great impact on my life.
First, making my way through the snow and yucky weather, I made my way to the Chicago Comics Meetup group at a north side comics shop. Admittedly, I tended to play Mr. Quiet-and-Eavesdropping -On-Other-
Conversations, although at one point, I got to check out some French comics. (They're actually rather impressive - although the only French I know is omelet du fromage, the layouts and art actually help carry the story along). In all honesty, I had to behave myself - I was so tempted to give Terry (a relatively new pal) a hard time - the first time I met him, he had a hard time telling these two characters apart.
But the highlight of the evening was a chance to see Cinematic Titanic perform live riffing at the Lakeshore Theater for one of their upcoming DVD releases.
To be honest, MST3K played a relatively minor role in my life - I watched it in college, but I can't honestly say that I was a fan (at least, until a girlfriend/fiance helped me see the humor in it), and now I can't imagine my life without it (although I can - have been - living it without that particular girlfriend. It was riffing on one of their upcoming releases, and it was a great opportunity to see four of my favorite performers onstage...and to thank them. (The fifth...well, I never really caught that first year of MST3K, so sorry, Josh).
Fortunately, I had purchased a VIP (meaning "front row") and had sat right at the stage...and although tired enough to nod off if not careful, I stayed awake to enjoy every single joke during the badly made Italian horror movie. However, the real surprise came when I decided - totally at the last minute - to get something signed, and to thank the cast for their efforts.
Whenever I've met someone whose work I've admired, I get a little tongue-tied. It's happened repeatedly - Bob Mould (in college), Gail Simone, Bruce Timm, Greg Rucka - call it nervousness or fanboy gushing, but my normal reserve of cool slips away. I end up stammering and quiet, with a nervous deer-caught-in-the headlights look. Such was the same with our intrepid crew, except that they were so....amazing nice and considerate. Whatever is in the Minnesota water, we in Chicago need more of it.
As the long line progressed to the point where my photo was being signed (wasn't sure I wanted to have my new copy of Doomsday Machine signed, so I settled for the generic 8 x 10 glossy). Making my way towards the front, I merely just kept quiet, not wanting to seem extraordinarily goofy...as I approached TV's Frank, the gentleman in front of me removed the cellophane from his DVD, remarking a smart alecky "Aw, you ruined its collectability" from my lips. After Frank, I mumbled a "thank you for getting me through college" to Trace, and almost revealed to a newly married Mary Jo Pehl that I had a crush on her. (Don't judge me!). A casual "thanks/you're welcome" back and forth to Josh emerged, and then I came upon Joel.
What I wanted to say could have taken hours, and the professorial-appearing Mr. Hodgson came across as...well, nice. All I could do was shake his hand and say "thanks." It nearly makes up for me not asking him for a picture (which - since there was no one to take it, and I didn't want to hold up the line - seems like a dumb move).
Making my way into the bitterly cold Chicago air, I dug my car out, and drove home. Except for a need to dig my car out of a snowbank (long story), I made it home effortlessly, and went to sleep. It's hard for me to describe the encounter...so I've included a flickr slideshow, and remarked on my luck this year.
Meeting several of my favorite creators in the same year? If that isn't being fortunate, I don't know what is.