Sunday, May 16, 2010

Friendly Encounters at the Motor City Comic Con

This is a special series about my friends meeting celebs at the Motor City Comic Con.

Jamin Hillwig is one of my newest buds. Jamin has been a great help in getting material for pieces on the Motor City Comic Con. His enthusiasm about meeting celebrities is awesome. He's a regular attendee of the MCCC and this special Friendly Encounters MCCC series wouldn't be complete without a story from him.
The Spring 2003 MCCC was the first show I'd ever been to. I
originally had the idea to go because one of my wife's favorite comic book artists was going to be there, but as soon as I saw the media guest list, I knew that we had to go. It was a MORAL IMPERATIVE. On the list was Russ Streiner from "The Night of the Living Dead", my all-time favorite movie.
But it wasn't always.
When I was younger, I loved all the slasher films of the 80's. They were the best horror movies ever. Blood and gore all over the place. There was NO WAY an old b/w movie from the 60's could be any good. Then one night, there was nothing on tv, so I watched it and was captivated.
Sure, it wasn't the most gruesome thing I'd ever seen (the special effects were rather tame), but it was the story, the human drama and struggle that drew me in. Here was my chance to meet the man who spoke THE LINE of the movie, the man known as "Johnny".
We made our way to Autograph Alley and there he was.He still looked like him. A few pounds heavier and with gray hair, but it's gray in the movie, so who can tell?! I believe the first words out of my mouth were "Holy crap! It's Johnny!" I shook his hand and told him how huge of a fan I was and how I thought it was one of the best films of the 20th century, even though most people think it's a "horror flick".
I was too much of a coward to ask him to say THE LINE, even though he was one of the nicest most down-to-Earth people you could want to meet. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, because I knew EVERYBODY probably asks him to do it and I didn;t want to look like a geek.
I couldn't stop thinking about it, so we circled back and I asked him to say THE LINE. He said, "Oh, the line...they're coming to get you Barbara." I had an immediate geek-gasm. Then my wife Susan said the next line, "Stop it, Johnny. You're being ignorant." Streiner just got this weird look on his face and said, "Wow, you guys really are big fans."
That made my year!
Like I wrote earlier, Jamin is enthusiastic! I love his stories and I appreciate his time in sharing them.
Jamin Hilwig and Russ Streiner in Novi, MI-May 2003.

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