(The following feature is guest written by Brad Morris.)
I’ve only been writing for KSR for a few months now and I can say that it’s been a blast so far. Visiting the UK Hockey team was a blast to my younger days, doing movie reviews on paper (well iPad) instead of just in my head, and talking/podcasting about The Walking Dead has been right up my geeky alley. So when my editor gave me the green light to cover this years Lexington Comic and Toy Convention, I was happier than Forrest Gump and a box full of chocolates. It may have had something to do with the fact that everyone else from KSR, save Freddie Maggard and I, were all in Nashville for the SEC tournament. But who the hell cares! I watched most of the games on TV for free, and I had some cool as hell moments on the convention floor.
I started out on Friday by being let in a little bit earlier than the paying customers, where I was immediately met by the first cosplay, that’s “costume play” for normal people, character. And I knew it was going to be a good weekend, because that first cosplay character was a perfect Negan from The Walking Dead. I could go over how he was dressed, but what’s the point. He had every detail down. If you look up Negan and see his picture online you’ll know of what I speak. I spoke to Negan for a minute before he placed me on my knees and pretended to bash my brains in. To protect my secret identity I won’t be posting the picture. Plus it’ll just make my wife roll her eyes harder.
Next I walked to the main convention floor. Now this was a nerds paradise. Comic book booths followed by vendors with custom gear. Everything from Harley Quinn scrunchies to Battlestar Galactica window stickers (yes I bought one). I almost bought Tyler Thompson a Game of Thrones window decal that said “I drink, and I know things”. I spoke to several vendors during the three day weekend. People came from as far away as Florida to peddle their wares. And for a select few it’s their full time job. They go home Monday thru Thursday, convention for the weekend, rinse and repeat. That’s a hard way to make a living, however they all talked about the love they had for the people they sell to and meet.
Around the perimeter of the convention floor is where they had honored guests lined up at tables. For a nominal price you could get a signed picture, autograph, or selfie. I’m going to confess, there seemed to be an inordinate amount of actors that have portrayed Power Rangers. I’m a dork, but even that escapes my nerdiness. But to each his own. I started looking for anyone involved with zombies. And I was delighted to not only find one, I got to talk with them.
Malcolm Goodwin is on the CW series “iZombie”, a unique take on the zombie genre. Malcolm plays Detective Clive Babineaux, a straight up cop, who starts to solve crimes with the help of his medical examiner/psychic/really an undead zombie who can remember victims last moments by eating a piece of their brains, Olivia Moore. Think of “The Mentalist” meets “Night of the Living Dead”. Malcolm is very personable to speak with. We discussed his show and the insane schedule they keep. One episode takes 8 days to film, with weekends off. That means if they finish an episode on Wednesday, he has to go home and start memorizing his lines for the next episode that night. Craziness. We also touched on his move from movies to TV. He’s been in everything from American Gangster, to different Law and Orders, and of course different CSIs. What made me going from liking him as an actor to a genuinely great person wasn’t on Friday. It was on Sunday when I was walking with my oldest daughter, wearing a different shirt. As we passed his table he caught a glance at me and waved, yelled out to me, and waved me over. A quick conversation of “Hey man! How’s your weekend been? This has been a blast here!”, and I was convinced that this was a dude I could hangout and have a beer with. Great guy and I hope to buy him that beer next year.
The other cool encounter I had on Friday was with Brian O’Halloran of “Clerks” fame. I don’t even know if he was supposed to be there. I knew his director for that movie, Kevin Smith, is a New Jersey Devils hockey fan. I was going to use my New York Rangers jacket as a talking point to talk smack, but was delighted it went the complete opposite way. As it turns out Brian is not like his friend Kevin and is a huge Rangers fan himself! He’s a season ticket holder which I am extremely jealous of, but not living near Madison Square Garden kinda kills it for me anyway. And with the starting point of us both having the same sports fandom, we talked Rangers hockey for 20 minutes. Next year I’ll wear my Mike Richter jersey and shout my fandom louder. I’m also happy to report that he and a few of his convention buddies made it home safe to New Jersey by driving 18 hours in a rental vehicle after their flights got cancelled out of Bluegrass Airport due to the snowstorm pounding the Northeast.
The last encounter on Friday was definitely the coolest. I got to have Louisville author Tony Acree tape a special edition of the Kentucky Deadcast. We did the taping in a little back room that was quiet for the most part. If Michael Rooker hadn’t been yucking it up a few tables away the audio would’ve been flawless, but the best laid plans. Tony’s a fantastic guy to meet and talk with. He puts you at ease right away and feels like you’ve been friends for years instead of someone you’ve just met. He also happens to be a diehard UK fan and has season tickets. I look forward to continuing that new friendship in the future. If you haven’t already, check out his Victor McCain novels, starting with “The Hand of God”.
Now the last 2 days were more personal for me. I was able to take both my daughters with me one at a time. Saturday happened to be my youngest’s birthday, and she was thrilled by seeing Yondu himself at Michael Rooker’s Q and A session. She screamed “Harley Quinn” more times than I can count with all the cosplay it got this year. Sunday my oldest was in Star Wars heaven.
This is why I wanted to do the convention and write about it. The Lexington Comic Con truly has something for everyone. Zombies, Star Wars, Power Rangers, and even for the old school wrestling fans. I mean when Ric Flair walks by yelling “WOO” and then you bump into Jake “The Snake” Roberts, you get to see that there is a little bit of geek in all of us. I know a majority of you would’ve loved to have been in Nashville with the rest of the KSR crew and BBN, but I believe I got the better end of the deal. I can’t wait until next years convention and I urge you to mark it on your calendar now. Who knows? You might even meet Boba Fett like I did.