Whew! It took about an hour of excavating, er, digging through my collection of Comics Buyer’s Guide to find the following column I did in 1997. I knew it had been published some time after May 1997, but I couldn’t be sure of the exact date. I knew it was published then because May 1997 is when the movie this column deals with had come out.
It took me a while to find CBGs from 1997 at all. I knew CBG had become a tabloid by this time, so I could eliminate all of the more newspaper-ish issues from the 1980s. But I still found myself going through CBGs from before and after 1997. (I know, I should get these things in order someday. The problem is finding the time.)
Finally, I located the column in Comics Buyer’s Guide #1238, dated August 8, 1997.
The movie that this column deals with is The Lost World: Jurassic Park. In the movie, Tyrannosaurus Rex runs wild in San Diego while, among other things, looking for his son. (It’s been a long time since I saw the movie, so if I’ve misremembered things, please give me a break.) Well, if you’re a comics fan and you hear San Diego mentioned, you think of one thing: Comic-Con! Instantly, I pictured the T Rex and Junior taking advantage of a break in filming to attend the Con.
Two things to remember: (1) at this time, Comic-Con hadn’t quite become the phenomenon it is today. Hollywood hadn’t yet discovered the Con beyond actors in classic TV shows and movies, and (2) I myself had not yet attended Comic-Con. I’d finally make it the following year, but the only really big con I’d ever attended was Chicago ComiCon (now Wizard World Chicago). Chicago has several walkways connecting the Rosemont Convention Center to various hotels, walkways lovingly called by some attendees “The Habitrails.”
I figured San Diego ComiCon (not yet ComiCon International) would have walkways as well so I mentioned them in the column. The following year, I discovered there were no walkways, but there were roped areas for the lines of people after autographs. I could’ve had fun with this.
Also, I make mention of the Godzilla movie coming out the next year. I, like most people, had no idea that the movie that was going to come out would be Godzilla in name only. In a fan magazine later that year, I paraphrased Sen Lloyd Bentsen’s debate with Dan Quayle by having King Kong say “I worked with Godzilla. I knew Godzilla. Godzilla was a friend of mine. You, on the screen, are no Godzilla.
The illustration for this posting appeared with the column and was done by the late Richard “Grass” Green, one of the giants of the underground field, probably best known for Xal-Kor the Human Cat.
Also, I need to post a Spoiler Warning! If you still haven’t gotten around to seeing The Lost World: Jurassic Park but plan to some days, I give away some details of the plot. So get up, go out and rent or buy it already and then come back to read this column.
Thursday, July 4, 1996: There was a four-day break in the shooting here in San Diego, thanks to the holiday. Junior found out there was some kind of big comic-book show going on and I promised to take him to it.
I wanted to spend time with Junior. I didn’t feel like playing Sammy Celebrity this weekend, so I decided to go to this thing incognito. Junior told me all I needed to do was put on a pair of glasses. I sounded stupid to me, but I tried it, and it worked! No one noticed me as I took Junior to registration. (We had to use the street instead of the walkway between the convention center and the hotel. You’d think the geschtinken walkway would’ve been made big enough for people and dinosaurs to get through, but no! The disadvantages of letting another species take over.)
The line at registration was murder. Junior and I both got hungry and decided to snack a little while waiting. This quickly thinned the line out, and we got our tickets for the weekend.
Junior wanted to browse the dealer’s room first. We entered, and several women in scanty, skintight outfits were the first thing we saw. (Junior called them “booth bunnies.”) I must admit, for mammals, the had an alluring scent and they tasted better than they smelled! (Elvira was nearby and I made it a point to just nuzzle her. She’s done a lot for dinosaurs in the film industry, after all.)
Junior got excited when he found some original art by someone named Peterson. The dealer insisted on $300. I tried to talk him down to $30. He laughed in my face. Moments later, his assistant agreed to $5.
An announcement over the P.A. system told us that this Peterson person was signing autographs “for only five more minutes” at something called “the Image booth.” Junior ran to this place and I followed. I got there just as some person was telling Junior that time was up and not more autographs could be given. I eliminated this middle man and convinced Peterson that one more autograph was a good idea. Junior asked Peterson to sign his, Peterson’s, own arm, which I didn’t understand, until Junior bit the arm off after it was autographed. Junior told me it was a “real one-of-a-king souvenir,” and it increased the value of the original art. It was so nice to see Junior taking an interest in his hobby.
Friday, July 5: While we had breakfast in the hotel restaurant, I took off my glasses to clean them. Someone named Shel recognized me. He was all over me. I had a good night’s sleep and a decent breakfast (the waiter was extra-rare today), so I was in a good mood. I signed his program and then agreed to pose for some pictures. He got one of him and me, one of him and Junior, and one of all of us. As he was doing this, he asked if he could interview me for some fan magazine. I said “sure.” He asked for one more picture, a gag shot of his head in my mouth. I thought it was a cute idea. But some little kid ran by and stepped on my tail as we posed for the shot. Oh, well. Interviews are a pain, anyway.
We went through the dealer’s room again. Someone came up to me and asked if I’d like some Flintstones comics. I roared at him and he changed his offer to Alley Oop. Smart guy.
Junior took me to a panel with several people on it. Some scent in the room started to make me nauseated. Then, I learned that one guy on the panel – a guy with light blond hair, a mustache, and glasses – was a lawyer. I should’ve known. After I ate the lawyer in the first movie, it took five gallons of bromo for me to feel better and three days to get the taste out of my mouth. Ever since then, I get sick at the slightest whiff of lawyer. I told Junior I’d wait for him outside the panel room.
While I was in the bathroom, I took off my glasses and got recognized again. Some fanboy (Junior calls them that) started asking me all sorts of questions about the new movie. On one hand, Spielberg had told us not to spill a word about the film to anyone. On the other hand, I figured, where else was he gonna get someone for my role? Arnold was tied up with the Bat-film, after all. So I told the fanboy a little about the movie. Big mistake.
I mentioned the scene where I chased Goldblum and everyone who’d been sleeping in the camp through the jungle. I let slip that Jeff was awake before this happened. The fanboy asked by Jeff didn’t try to wake everyone up as soon as he heard the fabled “impact tremors.” I said I didn’t know.
The fanboy asked why Jeff didn’t try to lure me away when I stuck my head into the tent where his girlfriend and daughter were sleeping. I didn’t know.
The fanboy asked me why no one warned the people on the dock in San Diego that a boat was headed for it at top speed. I didn’t know.
And how could I kill everyone on the boat and still be in the hatch when the boat arrived? I got fed up with the fanboy – literally.
Later, I took Junior to see a Godzilla movie the convention was showing. Junior was a little bored, but I just stared at the screen in tears. If I can be even half the performer The Big G is someday, I’ll be a happy reptile. I understand he’ll have a new movie in ‘98 from the people who made Independence Day. I look forward to it, though I don’t know if one of Godzy’s films can have ID4-level effects and still be a Godzilla movie.
There was a problem during the movie. A group of people sitting in front of us were loud and rude. I asked them to be quiet and respect Godzilla’s performance. One of them said “Bite me.” I complied. We enjoyed the rest of the movie in silence.
Saturday, July 6: Junior and I wandered through the publisher’s alley.
Junior, wearing an X-Men t-shirt, walked into one booth and the person there told him not to bother coming in; his company didn’t do super-heroes and there was nothing there that Junior would like. Actually, he found the representative to be nice and crunchy, though kind of acid in taste.
I found someone whose work I actually know, the guy who does all the little cartoons in the margins of Mad magazine. I asked for a sketch. Someone with him told me that the guy was too busy and he didn’t have time for any sketches. But the artist manages to knock out a quick sketch while I ate.
Some people from the convention approached me. They said the dealers were complaining. I was eating too many people and no one could make a profit. I apologized by explained that I got hungry and couldn’t afford the snack bar prices for the amount of food I needed to keep going. They directed me to the small press area and an editor’s panel where I was told I could help myself because no one would notice.
In return for not noshing on any more con attendees, the organizers (who learned who I was from one of Shel’s friends) asked me if I’d like to judge the costume competition that night. I told them I’d be honored. So I took my place beside the other judges and, to my delight, someone came dressed as Godzilla. Though part of the act was kind of old (Godzy must be ready to throw up whenever he hears a mention of Blue Oyster Cult), the costume was still good. My fellow judges agreed, but only after I argued in the Godzilla impersonator’s behalf. I prided myself on my powers of persuasion.
Sunday, July 7: As the con wound down, I started to feel terrible.
Junior didn’t want anything else, so we left. As the day drug on, I felt worse. I called the studio doctor. He examined me, taking samples of blood and other liquids. He promised he’d have the findings the next day.
Monday, July 8: The tests on my blood revealed that my cholesterol had shot up to 386. I told the doctor I had had it checked before the con and I was fine, just under 190. He asked me what I’d eaten since then. I told him and he winced.
Apparently there is no food on Earth higher in cholesterol than comic-book fans.
Kim Metzger wants to make clear that the preceding column is a fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. It wouldn’t be nice. Nope, nope, nope, I wouldn’t do it. Trust me.