By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
I’m calling you out, Felicia Day.
Oh, don’t look at me like that. Don’t give me the innocent “Who, me?” look. Don’t try the adorably quirky smile, either. And don’t try to geek your way into my heart like you’ve done to so many others with your work on The Guild. You certainly can’t melt me with your singing, which we saw in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. None of that’s going to work this time. It’s time for you to face the music. I’m going to expose you…
What? No. This isn’t a creepy fanboy thing. Just relax, you’re going to be fine. But I am going to expose you for the usurper of justice that you are. I’m going to tell the world about the travesty that you committed in Chicago at C2E2 this weekend. And most importantly, I’m here to tell you how you ruined my life.
It all begins with me and my people skills.
I like to think I’m pretty good with keeping my cool around famous people. Through my jobs, this web site and various comic book conventions, I’ve been fortunate enough to talk to or interview a lot of people with different levels of celebrity. From Justin Timberlake to Ernie Hudson to Peter Mayhew (the guy in the Chewbacca costume) to Jared the Subway guy, I’ve mingled with my share of stars. I even got a quote from President Obama during his senator days.
Then there was the time I made Lance Bass laugh. It was an ‘N Sync meet and greet (Shut up. I was in middle school.), and I said I “did not know there were so many teenage girls in the state of Illinois.” Alright, so it wasn’t brilliant. And it was only later we learned he was gay. But he laughed, so I’m calling it a win!
In essence, I always do my best to keep my cool and not freeze up around famous people. Awkwardness and embarrassment torture me. It’s an anxiety thing I’ve got. So when I get the opportunity to meet somebody famous, I take pride in being able to talk to them like they’re regular people, and not stammer or get star struck. I’d like to think they appreciate that on some level.
But this weekend, my non-awkwardness/embarrassment streak was broken. At C2E2 in Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, one man finally broke me. He gave me a bumbling fumbling star struck brain freeze, and left me stumbling across my mental landscape to pick up the pieces of my shattered dignity…
It was Burt Ward. Robin from the 1960s Batman show. That’s right, folks. The man who would become America’s first black president didn’t get to me, but the Boy Wonder did. If that doesn’t illustrate what a hopeless fanboy I am, I don’t know what to tell ya.
As most people know, from 1966 to 1968 Adam West and Burt Ward defined the Batman mythos for a generation (for better or worse, depending on who you ask), as they POW, WHAM, and ZAPPED their way through Gotham City’s rogues. In the process, they became American icons and staples of popular culture.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who can cite the Batman TV show as my “gateway drug” into comic books. Burt Ward helped me find something that I’m passionate about, and gives me a lot of joy. Not only that, but his unwavering exuberance in everything he did on that show accounted for much of what made it great. As great as West’s performances as Batman were, he couldn’t have sailed that ship alone. Ward deserves just as much credit for making that show what it was. So imagine my excitement when I heard Ward was attending C2E2, which is practically in my back yard!
I arrived at C2E2, anxiously awaiting the meeting of Boy Wonder and Fanboy Wonder. After combing much of the convention floor, spending way too much money on action figures, and getting autographs from the likes of Brian Wood, Ethan Van Sciver, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, the time had arrived. I’d given myself a few hours before approaching the entertainment guest tables, so my subconscious could whip up something charming and witty to say. We were going for another Lance Bass chuckle, ladies and gentlemen. Oh yes, we were.
This is where Felicia Day comes in…
When I reached the guest tables, I saw that Robin had found himself an adversary in none other than Felicia Day. With her two million Twitter followers and uncannily crushable geek goddess appeal, Day had a line that dwarfed our hero’s. That is to say, she had between 50 and 100 people, and Ward had about five. It was still fairly early in the day, but I’d say this was a fair indicator of where the fans were going.
I met Felicia Day at Wizard World Chicago a few years ago. She’s a nice girl. I liked her in Dr Horrible, and I got her autograph for my girlfriend. I’ve got nothing against her. But with that in mind I say…who the hell is Felicia Day??? After all he’s done for our geek subculture, and American culture in general, Burt Ward should be carried into comic book conventions on one of this big…uh, throne thingies. He shouldn’t have to sit there like a chump while fans furiously flock to the fiery follicled Felicia! This was blasphemy! Where was the justice?!? Someone tell me!
So in that moment, I became justice personified. I handed my back pack to my girlfriend, made sure I had my $50 for an autographed 8X10 (I know, it is pretty steep…), and marched my way up to Burt Ward’s table. He and his agent/publicist/handler guy were just finishing up with a fan. I got up there, greeted them both, and happily asked if I could have an autograph.
In response, agent/publicist/handler guy said: “Well gee, there’s a big line right there…”
And suddenly, it was all clear. I’d made a huge mistake. That huge line I’d seen wasn’t for Felicia Day! It was a line of anxious fans waiting to meet the Boy Wonder, and pay tribute to him for his contributions to geek culture! All was right with the world!
There are a great many questions I could have asked myself to avoid what happened next. I’m going to list the top three.
1. This agent/publicist/handler guy seems like a sociable dude. Is it possible he could be joking?
2. There are a lot of 8X10s sitting there at the table. Is it possible they haven’t had many visitors?
3. If the line is for Burt Ward, why are they all standing in front of Felicia Day’s table? (This one probably would have helped the most.)
But no, none of those light bulbs went on. Instead I apologized and walked halfway back the way I came. Then I noticed no one else was stepping forward to take my place. I immediately looked back, and saw Ward and agent/publicist/handler guy laughing and waving me back.
I’d gotten a chuckle, but it certainly wasn’t for my wit.
To his credit, Ward was pretty cool about the whole thing. Agent/publicist/handler guy gave me two signed 8X10s for just $10 more. I think he knew an embarrassed sucker when he saw one, and went for the easy sale. Ward seemed to pick up on it too, and kindly asked me if I had any questions for him. I blurted something out about how it felt for Bat-Mania to have lasted this long, to which he modestly said something about it being “crazy.”
At that point I went into recovery mode. We talked a little bit about how Adam West was supposed to have been there, but pulled out due to some herniated discs in his back (ouch). I was able to stick the ending a little bit, when I told him I was disappointed by West’s absence, but his presence still made the day worth it. Later, I was able to get a photo with him.
It all worked out in the end. But the fact remains, my witty celeb encounter streak is now broken. And it’s all Felicia Day’s fault. Her adorable, geeky, entrepreneurial presence at C2E2 completely threw my game off, and now Burt Ward thinks I’m a gullable sucker. So you live with that Felicia Day. Live with yourself knowing what you did to both the Boy Wonder and the Fanboy Wonder. Think about that the next time you’re on one of your fancy schmancy Hollywood sets.
Then again, Felicia Day’s line would eventually be eclipsed by the line for none other than Jason David Frank, who you might remember as Tommy from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Heh. Maybe justice isn’t dead after all…
Front page image from wallpapers.co.uk. Image 1 from last.fm. Image 3 from fuckyeahdickgrayson.tumblr.com. Image 4 from tvsluts.blogspot.com. Image 5 from thebrotherhoodofevilgeeks.com. Images 2 and 6 from author’s collection.
Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.