Eagle eyed reader may have noticed way down there on my Facebook badge thing that my latest status update reads "I met James O'Barr today and he was a DOUCHE." Well friends, the following is an accounting of the events of said meeting as they transpired when my friend Diptastic and myself innocently braved the Banquet Hall of a dowtown Atlanta Marriott with child-like wonderment danced through our heads at the very thought of shaking hands with the creator, writer, and artist of The Crow....
We walked up to his table, where absolutely NOBODY was waiting in any kind of a line or anything, and there were these two guys sitting there. Now, in our defense, nobody was wearing a "Hi, I'm James" name tag or anything, so we weren't exactly sure which one he was. Embarrassing, yes, but we'd never seen the guy, and if we had seen a picture it would likely have been taken at least 10 years or more ago. It wouldn't take Dip's wife long to decipher some carefully hidden clues (I believe her words were something along the lines of "Um, you think he might be the one drawing the picture of The Crow?") and we decided that she was probably right, so we approached him, Crow comics in hand.
I stood there for a minute, not wanting to interrupt him while he was drawing, and waited patiently for him to get to a stopping point, so he could sign my comic and tell me how grateful he was to have me as a fan and such. Well dude never showed any intention of stopping, until some other older guy walked up and he immediately put his pen down to shake hands with the guy.
The older guy proceeded to basically cut right in front of us to speak to James, introduce him to his daughter, etc. He even mentioned that he knew one of James' ex-wives (which is something I will touch on later), and asked James if he remembered meeting him before, which James thought about for a while, but eventually seemed to recall, or at least he told the guy that.
Finally after a couple of minutes with this guy, who by the way showed absolutely no interest in getting an autograph or anything, James finally looked at me and Dip and said "You guys have some comics you want signed or something?"
Wow dude, really? So me, being the extremely polite human being that I am, replied "yes sir" and put my book down on the table. While he was signing, I asked if he would mind if I took a picture, and the guy actually rolled his eyes at me while agreeing to it. So I took the picture, and while I had the camera up, he did ask me if my t-shirt (my Eye Heart Creepy one) was a Dark Horse shirt, and I was so disappointed in the guy at this point that all he got from me was a "yeah".
I grabbed my book, thanked him, and walked away. Dip got his signed and off we went to discuss what a giant douche he was.
Now the ex-wife thing. For those who don't know, James originally did The Crow to help cope with the depression he felt over the tragic loss of his wife. In fact he had to stop doing the book half way through because the story itself was so depressing that it was actually making him worse instead of better. But he did manage to work through it and finish because he did the book to honor her memory. Or at least that's how I read it waaaay back when I first read the comics.
So fast forward to Sunday, when the other guy told him he knew James' ex-wife...James replied with a "Oh really? Which one?" and a chuckle/shit eating grin combo. Now I don't know about you guys, but that right there just trounces all over the story of how the Crow first came about. James loved his wife so much that he wrote and drew this beautiful book to help him cope with the loss of her. Apparently every one of his wives since hasn't made that much of an impact on his tortured, loving soul.
In less than 10 minutes, the guy basically managed to absolutely ruin himself in my eyes. I considered myself a fan before, needless to say that is no longer the case. I still think The Crow is a great book, but the guy behind it ended up being a supreme disappointment.
The show wasn't a total loss though, I had a blast hanging with Dip and the Mrs., I don't get to see them as often as I used to due to geographical complications. I also only had $10 to my name, so I couldn't really hit the con like I wanted, but I did manage to pick up the following for somewhere around $9 total:
- Age of the Sentry #'s 1-6 - Picked the entire mini-series up for $2.50, I initially skipped it due to my dislike of the character, but I read lots of favorable reviews online as it shipped, and well for less than the cost of 1 issue then, I get to read the whole thing.
- Elephantmen #'s 1-3 - I actually arrived to the Elephantmen party a little late, so I only had the first 5 issues in trade format. Being the whore that I am for singles, and complete series', I jumped at these when I saw them in a 50 cent box, when I handed all 3 over to the vendor, he says "how 'bout $1?" YES.
- Hip Flask: Mystery City - Before there was Elephantmen, there was only Hip Flask, the hippopotamus from the series. I haven't read much at all of the early stuff, and got this prestige format special from a 50 cent box. Score!
- Batman: The Cult #'s 1-3 - Yeah, I already have all four issues of Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson's classic Batman prestige mini, but these were nicer copies than mine, so I grabbed them. Pulled all 3 from a "4 for $1" box.
- Nevermen: Streets of Blood - For whatever reason I never picked up any of Guy Davis' Nevermen comics. I love Guy's work, but missed out on the Nevermen when it first started, and unless I can get on something from either a good jumping on point, or preferrably from the beginning, I tend to pass on it. This was the fourth book that I grabbed to go along with The Cult. I haven't really looked at it yet, but I believe it's a trade of some sort due to it's thickness. Either way it's a lot of Guy Davis comics for only a quarter and I believe that's the very definition of a no-brainer.
So that was my experience from the Atlanta Comic-Con this past weekend. I think I'll hold off before running out to meet any other of my favorite comic creators for a while. I was genuinely surprised at Mr. O'Barr, as every other writer or artist I'd ever met ended up being really down to Earth. Maybe he was just having a bad day, or was disappointed with the turnout, who knows? In any event, I had a great time regardless and can't wait for the next Con, which hopefully I will have a little money in pocket for.