Going to a convention was a long time coming for me. As far back as 2013, I wanted to go to Colossal Con, but I had money issues that prevented me from going. Anybody who follows me on Facebook may remember the sad saga of me and Pop Expo. I was pumped for that event – I bought tickets because Spike from Buffy and the cast of Weird Science were going to be there, but those were secondary to the real star attraction – Ernie Hudson. I bought up a one day ticket and it got upgraded to a two-day ticket for free! Then the event got cancelled. Why? To make room for Wizard World. At the time, Pop Expo had announced guests and a set date. Wizard World had neither of these things. Yeah, I knew Wizard World got some A-list talent, but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. I’m not gonna sugar coat my feelings: I had a pretty massive chip on my shoulder about this for a long time. And I had a pretty big grudge against Wizard World for a while. But that would soon change…

A date was finally set for Wizard World. It would be set in the third weekend of February. I had mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I was left thinking “You cancelled an event in May for an event in February? You bastards…” On a positive note, it was happening around my birthday. I rarely got to do anything fun on my birthday. Plus some of the announced guests included William Shatner, Corey Feldman, Dolph Ziggler and Br-Br-Bruce Campbell! Okay, my petty grudge was over. I was going to Wizard World! I was a man getting ready to celebrate my birthday in style.

Okay, there were a few snags that made me grind my teeth a little. Remember how I got a two-day ticket for the cost of a one-day ticket earlier? Yeah, that wasn’t happening this time. I could only afford a one-day ticket. And remember how I was excited about meeting Ernie Hudson and all those other people (sorry, when we’re talking about Ernie Hudson, most people become “those other people”)? If I wanted to meet ANYONE it was going to cost MORE money! And they were charging separately for autographs and pictures! Since it was so close to my birthday, my brother got me an awesome birthday gift – a photo opportunity picture with Bruce Campbell. But I’ll tell you about that later.

In terms of a costume, I couldn’t decide between my Joker costume or my Jack Sparrow costume. I’ve been in and out of facial hair lately so I figured whether or not I had a beard/mustache at the time would be the decision maker. Neither costume was perfect – my Jack Sparrow costume was kind of cheap and I could never get the makeup right for my Joker costume. But one day, I was at my local Salvation Army. I saw it there. You see, I had always wanted to cosplay as Marty McFly. But you know that down vest he wears, the one that everyone thinks is a life preserver? Yeah, those things are expensive! But I found one, in red… for a decent price. Best of all, I found all the pieces of the ensemble all for under $25!

So the big day came. There was one snafu – There were 364 other days where I wouldn’t have given a rat’s behind if it happened, but there was a snow storm in my area. Luckily, my brother Nick was driving, and he had A LOT more experience than I did in hazardous weather. That didn’t mean I didn’t get nervous. I’d say the most nerve-racking part was when Nick’s car got splashed by a truck, completely obscuring the windshield. I’ll admit it, my life flashed before my eyes at that one. Being a huge Blues Brothers fan, I kind of wanted “Ride of the Valkyries” to be playing while we drove. But the important thing is we made it there in one piece.

I quickly picked up on something with my Marty McFly costume. There was good news – even in the cold, my costume was actually pretty warm. Bad news, once I was inside, I was still warm! How Michael J. Fox wore that costume is beyond me. Also, wearing boots was a mistake. I should have sucked up being cold for a minutes and worn my sneakers. Now that I’ve gotten those gripes off my chest, I can tell you about the great time I had.

The first thing on the agenda was getting my picture with Bruce Campbell. I don’t mean I wanted to get that taken care of. I mean I had to be there by a certain time! Before I talk about meeting Bruce Campbell, I want to talk about another awesome thing that happened to me a few weeks back. I got to meet another one of my idols, Chris Jericho. Now some of you may be wondering why I didn’t write about that. (And some of you may be wondering who Chris Jericho is.) The thing is that meeting Chris Jericho was surprisingly uneventful. I met him at my local mall because he was signing his new CD.

In Jericho’s latest book, he talks about how starstruck he was at meeting James Hetfield. The two actually became good friends. I felt like I could have had the same thing with Chris Jericho. Here’s someone who’s nice to awkward fanboys because he WAS once an awkward fanboy. I chatted it up VERY briefly and I moved on so other people could get there turn. (Also, when’s the next time I’m gonna get to talk about meeting Chris Jericho?)

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I bring this up because I had similar feeling when I met Bruce Campbell. I waited in line, got my picture and moved on. It was so weird because for all intents and purposes, getting my picture with Bruce Campbell was kind of the main event of my day. And it was already over. I didn’t know any other exhibits and kind of just planned to play things by ear. Believe it or not, that “plan” actually worked.

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The only other thing I KNEW I wanted to do was meet with my friend who had a TARDIS set up and was dressed like the Doctor. I got to see my friend who set it up, but my friend dressed like the Doctor was nowhere in sight. After muttering “he’s STILL not around” so many times my brother probably got sick of it, I did eventually get my picture. I proudly told my friend “You built a time machine out of a phone booth?” (His response: “It’s actually a police box.”) If you’re wondering why they have this stuff, my friends have an award-winning Dr. Who fan-web series called TRACE.

https://www.facebook.com/TraceTheDoctor

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There were a lot of displays there. I got a picture with the Northeast Ohio Ghostbusters.

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I got a picture with the Jurassic Park car.

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And then there was this:

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Nick and I sat by this display for a while, waiting to get our picture with the Delorean. We had to pay, but it was for the Michael J. Fox foundation so it was worth it. Oh, who am I kidding, even if it wasn’t for a good cause, I would have paid the piper for this one…. But it’s nice knowing it went to a good cause.

And yes, I ran into other Marty McFly’s. The one I met at the DeLorean was dressed in Part II attire and I ran into another “classic” Marty. It was awesome meeting them. We always joked about being from other timelines. When I was away, I joked to Nick: “I thought I was the only Marty McFly. This is what it sounds like when doves cry.” (Give yourself five points if you got the Simpsons reference.)

Although we had already met Bruce Campbell, there was one itch my brother had to scratch. Joey Lauren Adams was one of the guests in attendance. Having grown up on films such as Dazed and Confused and Chasing Amy, my brother and I were big fans. And I consider her a very underrated actress. There was no line, but we still had to pay. I forked over the extra money to get an autographed head shot. Paying for this one was well worth it. Joey Lauren Adams was actually really sweet. She playfully flirted with me and Nick, she was very jokey and she is very pretty in person. I suppose there’s more appreciation for Ms. Adams than I realized. When I posted my picture with her and my picture with Bruce Campbell, and my picture with Joey got more likes.

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I also learned the joy of asking perfect strangers to take pictures with me. Here are a few highlights.

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This picture with the Rocketeer was like opening the flood gate. Also, if Moviefan12 is reading this, yes, I was thinking of you when I took this. I really wanted a picture with him since his costume was so accurate. Once I did that, I suddenly had the confidence to ask a lot of people to take pictures.

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I get to get a picture with a Harley Quinn. I had to!  For me, it was like going to Vegas and getting a picture with an Elvis impersonator.

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This was a double-dose, since it was Harley and Ivy. They seemed quite pleased that I wanted a picture with them.

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Funny story about this picture with Catwoman. I told Nick I wanted my picture with her so I abandoned him and ditched the escalator just to take a picture with her. It turned out she was one of Nick’s friends.

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I got this picture with Spock. I felt like a schmuck because I didn’t realize he was taking these pictures as donations for epilepsy research. So I almost had Nick pay for my picture. Luckilly, I still had five bucks stashed in my wallet so I could pay for the pic. I have to give the guy credit, he was nice enough to believe me when I told him that wrinkled five dollar bill was mine.

Most of the featured guests (i.e. William Shatner, Corey Feldman) had Q and A panels. Nick and I tried to get into the Shatner panel, but it was packed. The only way to get in was to block the entrance… which we weren’t allowed to do… which meant we couldn’t get in. I’m inclined to agree with Mitch Hedburg, if there’s an emergency, I’m gonna use the exits too! We did get to see a little of Shatner talk because they had video monitors for people like us. Nick’s reaction was classic. “He’s just babbling, isn’t he?” We also discussed whether or not Shatner would attend events like that if it weren’t for the money he got. We both agreed he wouldn’t.

We debated about whether or not to go to Corey Feldman’s panel before deciding not to. (Since you could still buy meet and greet tickets at the show, I kind of wanted to meet Corey Feldman, but Nick assured me it would have been a waste of money since he frequently performs at Cleveland venues.) Although I’m a fan, I didn’t have much interest in Karen Gillan’s panel, but more on her later. There was one panel we decided to see. Yup, we were seeing Bruce again.

I was curious about Bruce Campbell’s show since it was called “Bruce Campbell vs. The Audience” and I was told it lived up to its name. And, boy did it ever. Bruce Campbell actually used his time to host his own talent show. I didn’t actually think about this until after the fact, but that’s actually pretty cool. Granted, Bruce was very snarky and smart-alecky, but instead of making his 45 minutes about him, Bruce Campbell uses his time to make it about the audience. That’s pretty cool. For the record, Bruce was actually very nice during the photo op so I know he was just playing a character when he was making fun of people. Also, good God! Bruce Campbell is charismatic.

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I also bumped into this guy. Yes, that’s Rance Martin, AKA Brian Walker from Pinheads. We watched Bruce Campbell vs. the Audience together. We chatted about Pinheads. Sorry guys, he’s a cast member, he gets privileged information! I wanted to hang out with him more – especially sinc he and Nick get along really well – but Rance wanted to do his own thing. Still nice to see him.

Since she was a last minute addition, I debated whether or not to pay to see Karen Gillan. It would have cost a lot of money and I didn’t feel like standing in another long line. They made the announcement that it was the last call to meet her. Feeling like I’d regret it if I didn’t, I decided to bite the bullet and meet with Karen. Unfortunately, I had spent all my cash so I had to withdraw from an ATM. Long story short, I forgot you can only withdraw from your checking account from ATMs and by the time I got the issue resolved, the window to meet Karen Gillan had closed. Do I regret not meeting her? Absolutely, but at the same time, I had WAY too much fun to let a negative like that rain on my parade. I did after all meet Joey Lauren Adams and Bruce Campbell. Also, I saved my brother the embarrassment of admitting he didn’t know who that is. Sorry, he’s never seen Dr. Who and he didn’t see Guardians of the Galaxy – probably the only person in the building who had never seen either.

So all in all, I had one HELL of a good time! Nick had a pretty good time too, which made me feel good since I dragged him along to that. I hope I get to go another time.

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