San Diego Dreaming Part 2: SuperBad, Heroes’ Hiro & Rosario Dawson!!!

“In fact, I think I fell in love with you…”

Now, one of the biggest things about Comic Con is that abundance of parties. Now, people count out comic folks because we’re all social outcasts, too afraid of the outside world, so we hide in our moms’ basements, drowning ourselves in superhero fantasies. Don’t you hate that shit? It’s the same way I hate how any mainstream article about comics *must* contain “sock”, “bam”, and/or “pow”. Do they even use those sounds in comics anymore? I think I saw a “Splurgghh!” the other day, but digress…

Due to the show’s proximity to LA, plus the fact that the show is becoming Hollywood’s playground, there are a ton of pretty high profile parties. The beauty of it for me was that I was on all of the lists. Surprisingly, they were pretty hardcore with the door security at these things. You’d think fans would be a bit craftier with their attempts to get in to these things, but most of them just had no creativity. Hell, I took my friend, Rob, to a party and he wasn’t on the list. We just told them he was my boss, who happened to be on the list, and they let him in. No ID needed or anything. Pwned!

Anyway, the party we went to was thrown by Oni Press, publishers of the incredible Scott Pilgrim series, as well as Whiteout (with upcoming movie starring Kate Beckinsale). So, I knew that the party was cohosted by a talent agency, but I didn’t really know their rle in things. We get inside, and it was almost like nobody inside knew this was “a comic thing”. Everyone was hot, but in that NYC way. It was one of those “see and be seen” parties, where the only Black dude has a British accent, and he’s the DJ, while there are a bunch of too-cool-for-school Asians, and a lot of trendy White kids. There wasn’t a lot of dancing, even though there was danceable music. It was like we were playing Rhythmic Chicken: who’s gonna dance first? In other words, it was awesome! Let’s get something straight: I’ve always been an elitest on the outside of the system. I love a good, elite, meritocracy, but I’ve never really cut the muster to be in taht crowd. But now I was on the list! I could be snooty, too! Fuck you, little people!

So, Rob and I are drinkin’ our dranks, taking in the scene, when I notice somebody. Holy shit, that’s Jonah Hill! “Rob, did you see Jonah Hill?” Rob, of course, answers with a “Who?’. Let me explain something about Rob. Great guy, but he’s the dude who’ll tell you he doesn’t watch television because he really wants to drive the point home. Say you’re not familiar with the guy. Say you’ve never heard of Superbad or seen the ebay store scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin. But don’t give me the, “I don’t watch television” speech that I’ve heard a million times before, in that “Sorry, moron, I have a life” tone of yours. Ugh…So, anyway, I saw Jonah Hill. And the next thing I knew, I saw McLovin’ trailing through the crowd before him. Now, I’m kind of geeking out, but we need to remember something: A) it’s a cool party, so you’ve got to act like you don’t see them and B) I’ve been learning to deal with my starstruck problem in these settings. Back in Feb, I went to the New York Comic Con for work, and I ended up at a party full of every popular comic pro of the last 15 yrs. I almost had a heart attack, but Rob was pushing the whole, “Play it cool, man” angle (a lot of this is based on the fact that he didn’t even know who most of the people were). Anyway, after a few beers, a conversation with the Wizard editors, and a dance circle with Olivier Coipel, I got out all of my professional fanboyness. So, now that we’re in SD, it should’ve been OK, but these were actors. As far as cons go, the only people who know those professionals are comic people. To the fat black lady at the check cashing/takeout joint, Jim Lee is just “that Asian dude” (and that’s if she’s feeling nice), while Jonah Hill would be “Oh, it’s that little fat boy from that movie where they tryin’ to get some pussy!” See? Universal appeal. Anyway, for this reason, the fanboy bug started creeping up, but I let it pass. “Be cool, Will”, I told myself. “They’ll come back around and we can just say ‘hi’.”

Rob and I continue taking in the scene, when Masi Oka came through. Holy shit, it’s that dude from Heroes! And then, Sylar came through. Now, I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen Heroes. Yes, I know it’s comic-based, and I’ll love it, and blah, blah. This is the same crap people try to say when I tell them I never saw Firefly. Either way, I just don’t ahve time for episodic television. Damn, I sound like Rob. Anyway, I’ve followed the show enough that I know I’ve got to save the cheerleader, or the world’s fucked. I also know there’s the teleporting Asian kid. And, apparently, Sylar’s an evil asshole, even though he looks just like that guy in high school who might be gay ’cause he’s so metro, and all of his friends are girls, yet you’ve heard stories about all these chicks he fucked at his last school. Again, I digress. The media have looked to Heroes as the thing that will legitimize comics. If viewers can get onboard with its storytelling, then it might introduce the joy of comics to the nonbelievers. So, the cast members are basically missionaries, and they were gracing us with their presence at this party. The Superbad guys slipped in somewhat unnoticed, but the fans took to the Heroes like rednecks to NASCAR. I think I gave Sylar the “what’s up” nod, but I really didn’t have much more to say to him. I’d never seen the show, and San Diego was already revealing a side of myself that I didn’t like: the empty gesture schmoozer. I was telling people I liked their stuff when I didn’t, telling people I’d read their stuff when I hadn’t. When I meet a person, I don’t really remember their name or anything. I’m most concerned with what impression I’m making upon them. There’ll be time for names and counting when the dealing’s done. Recently, though, I notice I go into this stupid trance of, “Thanks SO much, I really love your stuff” to all of these pros, when I really want to just say, “Yeah, it’s good, but what the Hell was up with that Clone Saga?” Anyway, long story short, I acknowledged their presence, but I didn’t geek out about it.

After a bit, Rob left to head for another party, while AI was doing shots with the bartender. Not sure where I picked up the notion that I could pull that off, but tequila solves all ills. So, I’m stumbling back to the hotel, as I’m staying at the center of all afterparty entertainment. The Hyatt bar is known as THE place to be when the night’s entertainment is done. Until about 4 AM every morning, you can find the likes of fans and creators alike, causing more noise than that found in Time Square during rush hour. Well, I get back to the Hyatt, and I hang outside awhile with some people I know. It’s at this point that I notice a converastion off to the side. You see, it was Lee (really cool guy who always wears a stray cowboy hat), and he was having a conversation with a really cute girl. Like I said, I’d had a bit to drink, so I wasn’t as hesitant as I can be at times. Hell, “at times”? I talk myself out of most things…Anyway, I kind of walk around to get a better look at this girl, and I can’t believe who it turns out to be: Rosario Dawson.

Drunk and feeling fanboyish, I decide that I’ve GOT to meet her. It was closer than I’d been to a “celebrity” at this point, and it was one of those carpe diem moments. Sure, it wasn’t that deep, but that was the tequila talking. I see Rob, and I tell him who I’ve just spotted. Surprisingly, he knew who she was (or he pretended to), but he wouldn’t play a role in my childish quest for an introduction. So, I suck it up, saunter over to Lee, and strike up a conversation like I don’t even see her standing there. They were kind of laughing at a joke known only to them, and I caught them before they’d goe on to the next topic. “Hey, Lee! Did you go to any good parties tonight?” That was innocent enough, right? Turns out he’d gone to the MySpace party, which I somehow didn’t get invited to, which still kinda rubs me the wrong way, ’cause anyone who knows me realizes that I might as well have stock in that company. Guess my invite got lost in the mail. Anyway, Lee does my job for me. He goes, “Hey Will, do you know Rosario?” Why no, I don’t know Rosario. “Introduce yourself, ” he tells me. I offer my hand, and say, “Hi, I’m Will West”. As she shakes my hand, she sort of tilts her head to one side, and in that Clerks II cool chick way of hers, says, “Will West, huh? That’s kinda cool.” I’d like to think I giggled inside, but knowing me, I probably sounded like a gay Pilsbury Doughboy.

That should’ve been enough. I should’ve walked away; mission accomplished. Instead, Lee says, “Hey Will, tell her where you work.” I insist that she doesn’t care where I work, but he presses. So, I tell her where I work. She gives me a “that’s cool” -esque response. Now, she was at Comic Con for several reasons, one of which was to promote her Image Comics series, Occult Crimes Taskforce (O.C.T.). Never read it, but was saving them to read on a rainy day. But what do I say? “I love your book, by the way”. After all, I’m Mister Comics. I’m supposed to have my finger on the pulse of these things. I’m hip. I’m cool. Of course I’ve read her book. And then I go too far. If you noticed, I told her that I loved her book. Not liked. Not “I found it intriguing”. No. Loved. So, Mr. Tequila and I get to working together, and we went too far. So, after I say I love the book, I follow with “In fact, I love everything that you do. In fact, I think I fell in love with you with Clerks II.” Yeah, I told her I’d fallen in love with her. Because of Clerks II. So, how did she react? Well, first off, I wish I had a time-lapse photo of the change in her face. And, I’m not sure if she was joking or serious, but here’s what she said: “Clerks II? After 10 yrs of work, and all of the movies I’ve done, you fall in love with me for Clerks II?” Sheepishly, I responded, “I dunno…there was something about that role.” I forgot to explain that she was dressed like a waiter, in black pants and a white button-down. She was carrying a “V” mask, from V for Vendetta, which she wore on the con floor so that she can get around without being noticed. She was smoking, so she couldn’t exactly wear the mask at this point, so more people were recognizing her. As they closed in, I used that as a chance to take my leave.

Now, here’s full disclosure: I was so starstruck that I actually forgot her filmography. When I think of her, there are 2 roles that always come to mind: Clerks II, because I really did think she was the perfect girlfriend there, and KIDS. Now, maybe I’m wrong, but I didn’t feel like KIDS was the kind of movie I should be bringing up when first meeting her. That whole foot-in-mouth scenario could of been a lot worse had I said, “I think I fell in love with you in KIDS. Yeah, there was something about the scene where you’re describing how difficult it is to get the taste of semen out of your mouth. Or the scene where you go for your AIDS test.” Oh well, I made my mark. She thought my name was cool, and I made a fool of myself. If I’m lucky, she might use the story next time she’s on Conan or something.

Tomorrow’s Chapter: “This is bullshit!”