Monday, July 2, 2012

SDCC Stories: Fallen Angels & Fickle Fandom

As I prepare to depart for my fifth trip to San Diego’s Comic-Con International (fourth consecutive) next week, my mind wanders back to SDCCs past and the adventures therein. While each holds a special place in my heart, from the initial job-seeking odyssey back in 2004 alongside Tim Stevens to last year’s Marvel livestreaming tour de force, if I were put on the spot and asked to pick out a favorite, I believe 2010 would leap to the fore.

SDCC 2010 was really a tale of two shows for me when it came to after hours hijinx. Half the time I was led down the path of debauchery by this man…

…yes, reigning TNA World Tag Team champion Christopher Daniels, “Fallen Angel” and master of mischief. Some of my favorite SDCC memories period have spent in the company of my rasslin’ buddy, whether helping his conduct his “Fallen Angel Files” video interviews for (getting Travis Charest to cut a wrestling promo that fell somewhere between “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Popeye), meeting his rad family (his daughter Jerica was not only the most adorable host we ever had on, she also asked her dad if I was a wrestler too, causing him to point at my lack of biceps and laugh hysterically) or terrifying my poor wife by putting his buddy Curry Man on the phone to say hi. Chris is one of the most interesting and hilarious guys I know, but also a genuinely good fellow who I don’t get to see nearly often enough, so getting to hang out in sunny San Diego with my bud is a consistent highlight.

Of course the debauchery comes after the show floor closes and I find myself in his company at a party on the roof of PETCO Park and then back in Jeff Katz’s hotel room having a conversation with Shane Helms about how you market Captain America overseas and Samoa Joe congratulates Jill Thompson on her Eisner win (yes, this is the PG-rated version of that story with certain names omitted—Helms is a father now, after all!). There was also last year where Daniels, Eric Young and Kazarian tried to figure out how they could reasonably split my one free drinks bracelet between the three of them at the Marvel party, but I suppose jumping ahead to 2011 is cheating…although that really was the story.

Bottom line: Wander the streets of San Diego with Christopher Daniels and a good time will be had.

Good times were also had throughout 2010—and have happily continued—with my comic book SDCC “family” of Todd Nauck and his wife, Dawn, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Brad Walker and Tom Brennan. Todd and Dawn are two of my favorite people on the planet and probably in the top five as far as the nicest (I’m only saying top five because there are several million people I haven’t met yet), DnA are as wonderfully entertaining and friendly in life as they are brilliant in writing, and Brad is a joy with a smile as big as his artistic talent (I am a writer and this is how I compliment people). We spent many a rousing dinner, be it around Odin’s plinth (some long wooden table we found in a bar) or at the ritzy seafood place Mike McKone (another gem) invited us along to. I had hours of fun with this gang and then reported it all home to my jealous wife.

Oh yeah, and Tom Brennan was there too.

Ok, here’s the deal with Tom Brennan: He’s a co-worker and—I hope he’ll let me get away with this—friend of mine who I rag on a lot. To be fair, he has it coming to him. Ok, no he doesn’t. Tom is very funny and quick witted and for some reason lets me berate him with my brand of “humor” without eviscerating me in return. He’s also one of the hardest working, smartest editors at Marvel who never gets enough credit for his work (the Harvey-nominated Shame Itself, one of the most entertaining one-shots you will ever read, was birthed by Tom through sheer force of will, I believe).

Now let tell a story about Tom Brennan from SDCC 2010 (not the one where we waited in line to meet “Captain America: The First Avenger” director Joe Johnson because we wanted to get his autograph and I confided in Tom I wasn’t that familiar with his work and he told me that was ok because he wasn’t either then stabbed me in the back by waxing poetic about “The Rocketeer” for ten minutes leaving me to follow up with “Uh…good luck with the movie”—I won’t be telling that story).

Brennan and I are hanging out at the Marvel booth, doing crowd control or something (“crowd control” was what Tom and I would tell everybody we were doing when Tim Dillon was looking for us to do real work) when a group of young men approached us, the lead hooligan with rampant excitement in his eyes. “Oh my god, I am such a big fan of yours…” he began to Tom Brennan—yes, that Tom Brennan—before continuing with “…but which one are you?” A flattered but confused Brennanator asked for clarification of the previous statement, to which the lad responded with “Are you the one from X-Men or Smallville?”

At this point we realized this kid thought Tom was one of the Ashmore twins, Shawn and Aaron, an admittedly not too outlandish comparison that he claims he has gotten before.

Tom, an improvisational actor to the core, ran with it and said he was actually the lesser known third Ashmore triplet, Tom, and that he was promoting nothing in particular. The kid was a bit confused, but still quite excited to be meeting even a tangential famous person. Tom kept it up for another half minute or so before giving it up and admitting he was merely Tom Brennan, editor of Spider-Man.

Without even a pause for breath, the kid did a complete 180 that would have left most dizzy and begin tearing into Tom for One More Day.

Where can Tom Brennan be mistaken for an actor one second and castigated for being a comic book editor the next? Only in San Diego, gang.


JimmyGlenn711 said...

"He’s also one of the hardest working, smartest editors at Marvel who never gets enough credit for his work."

Truer words never spoken. In recent months I have realized that Scarlet Spider and Venom (2 of my favorite books) are edited by Tom.

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