“You’re going to die today!” the man shouted at me, gesturing to my chest with his assault rifle.
I heard the air leave my lungs and felt my heart thud into my stomach as I stood frozen in shock.
Then, from my spot in line outside the Convention Center, I looked down at my home-made Star Trek uniform: red. I hadn’t realized it until this moment, but I was a red shirt. For those of you non-trekkies out there, the red shirt is always the first one to go in the series. I had selected the red colored uniform from the original series because it’s the uniform a historian or anthropologist on the ship would have worn. I hadn’t considered the implications of being a red shirt at Comic Con until that moment.
Inside the convention center, illustrators and writers lined either side of the aisles as hoards of fans paced the room. There was Bane carrying a baby on his hip, Batman pushing twin girls in a stroller, and Doc Oc taking a photograph with Black Widow.
We spent the first couple of hours walking the rows. In a room filled to the brim with imagination and creativity there was a lot to take in. One kid had constructed his entire Iron Man costume out of cardboard, another pair of girls had designed and built their elf dresses and accessories from scratch and many of the artists at the tables were entrepreneurs in their own right.
Anthony Del Col was one of the many comic book creators selling his art that day. Now famous as the co-creator of the Kill Shakespeare series, Anthony struck up a conversation with us about his home town of Toronto and before we knew it we were scouring his table. When we admitted we hadn’t heard of the books before, he explained the premise to us.
“It’s basically all of Shakespeare’s villains put together, hunting after this mysterious magician…named…Shakespeare,” he said laughing. “And the great thing is if you know a lot about Shakespeare, you’ll love it and if you don’t know anything about Shakespeare you’ll love it too.”
When we pointed to the quote from Stephen Colbert displayed on the table he explained that the comic wasn’t very well known until it came up on the show unexpectedly. Anthony said he had just sat down on his couch and switched on The Colbert Report, when Julie Taymour mentioned the book series to Colbert.
“They talked about Kill Shakespeare more than the actual interview!” he exclaimed.
A few rows over, a little boy sat doodling in his sketchbook. His sign read “thumbnail sketches: $1.” Always patrons of the arts (especially when they are cheap), we commissioned him to do a couple drawings for us. A budding artist who might someday have a story like Anthony, we’ll have original art to prove we met him when…
The rest of the day was a combination of taking pictures with other trekkies and being told I was going to die. This must be how celebrities feel! I thought to myself.
“Don’t die today!” another man shouted at me, this time without a gun. I was starting to get used to this.
He backtracked for a moment, “Have you seen the other red shirt around?”
“No,” I admitted.
“Well if you see him, tell him he’s going to die today,” he instructed mischievously. “Whenever anyone tells him that he takes a swig from his flask.”
Oh comic con, the breeding grounds of art and anecdotes.