I met a lot of people at New York Comic Con but without a doubt my fondest memory from my first trip to NYC was meeting Grant Morrison. You all know by now that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the writer who just received the MBE for services to film and literature but I think after this past Friday, I can honestly say I walked away with a new appreciation for not only Grant’s work but the writer himself.
Most of the time when you meet someone at a Con it’s in a somewhat controlled setting. For instance I met Bill Willingham, the writer of Fables, at his table in Artist Alley. I also met actor/comedian Phil Lamarr at his table in the Autographing area. But it was a completely different experience. I spent my first few hours at NYCC wandering around and trying to just find out where things were. The Javitz Center is laid out on three floors. You enter on the second and the first floor is really split in two on either side of the convention center. I must admit it was frustrating just trying to find Artist Alley.
In the middle of my wandering I managed to find the room that was holding the Spotlight Panel on Grant Morrison. I had some time to kill but I was on a mission to find out where the Autographing Area was. When I finally did, I found the line was cut off for the person I’d come to see, so back I went. I stopped by what seemed to be the ONLY place in the Con where you could buy alcohol so that I could pull out my map. Moments later two men and a woman walked by and I noticed that one looked suspiciously like Grant Morrison. I waited for him to speak and after hearing his thick Scottish accent I was sure it was him. When he was done speaking with the gentleman he was with, I moved forward to speak to the man I had such different feelings about.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Are you Grant Morrison?”
“Yes, I am.” He said with a smile.
I stuck out my hand to shake his and I said “I’m a big fan. I really love your work.”
It wasn’t a lie, it was the truth. I wasn’t out to tell him how it took me six readings to really appreciate and understand Final Crisis or how I just didn’t understand Batman R.I.P the first time I read it. No, I told him exactly what I felt. I was a fan who loved his work.
He shook my hand and said “Well, thank you. I’m glad to hear it.”
That was it.
Or so I thought…I took a few steps back and out of his way. I really wanted to reach into my backpack and pull out the comics I had that I was wanting him to sign, but I didn’t. I was being respectful of a man who was just waiting on his wife to get a glass of wine. The man he was with turns to me and says, “Hey, we’re trying to get to Grant’s Panel. Do you know where the room is?”
As luck had it, I had just came from there earlier and said, “Yeah, I know exactly where it is.”
They seemed to breath a collective sigh of relief as Grant asked, “Would you mind showing us where it is?”
“Of course!” I said. What kind of fuckin’ idiot would I be to say No to Grant Flippin’ Morrison. As Grant’s wife Kristan joined us I led the way to the hall.
“You enjoying yourself so far?” he asked.
I was taken aback by this. Grant was making conversation with some kid in a Doctor Who shirt he just met.
“I am, I just got here actually.” I responded. I didn’t know what to say, so far I was just trying not to stutter and show that my hands were shaking.
“Do you live in New York?” He made eye contact and seemed genuinely interested in the conversation.
“No, I flew up from Florida for this actually.”
Grant laughed at this. “It must be a bit chillier than you’re used to.”
“A little bit.” I chuckled.
I led the way through a throng of fans who seemed to be having their own mini-costume contest in one of the more sparsely populated areas of the Javitz Center. Grant took it all in with a smile of sorts and I was amazed that so far we hadn’t been stopped by anyone else who recognized him. If you’ve been a fan of DC Comics for the past few years, or of Marvel and Vertigo before that, than you understand that Grant Morrison is a Rockstar of sorts. He’s known for his psychadelic stories and visuals in comics as well as his own experimentation in film, music and personal life. For him to NOT be recognized was almost as surreal to me as the fact that I was leading him to his panel.
When we arrived the gentleman he was with thanked me and shook my hand, as did Grant.
“Are you staying for my panel?” he asked.
After this, I’d be crazy not to.
To be continued in Meeting Grant Morrison Part 2: The Panel