I Waited in a Line for Hours to Meet Brian Michael Bendis
Last weekend the one and only Brian Michael Bendis made an appearance at Maximum Comics 3.0 in Las Vegas. News of his March 27th signing obviously came as a shock since BMB “retired” from signing over two years ago, and was now making Maximum one of his only two stops this year. The other being San Diego Comic Con, the largest comic con on the planet, and one I wasn’t planning on, or could even attend if I wanted to.
The months of preparation gave me time to look through my Bendis books, and possibly pick up a few rare goodies. BMB of course is masterminding the X-Men books right now, making All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men some of the best Marvel books on the market right now, so I had to get one of those bad boys signed. Why not the gorgeous All-New X-Men #1 “Jean Gray” Joe Quesada variant? Next, you have to throw some loves to Powers, so Powers #1 it is.
One of more sentimental value to myself, Daredevil #34 (414). I chose this particular book because I remember reading Wizard as a young gent and staring in awe at the Alex Maleev cover, it was mesmerizing even then. When I finally got my hands on the book as a young man, I was relieved that the book was actually well written, and coincidentally written by Bendis himself.
The 10 item limit caught up to me fast, so I tossed in an AvX #1, Uncanny X-Men #1 “State Bird” variant, Ultimate Fallout #4 (the first appearance of Miles Morales), and of course the fantastic Maximum Comics exclusive variant for Guardians of the Galaxy #1 by Terry Dodson.
I did my homework, made sure I had the day off work, then started my mission to meet Brian Michael Bendis.
Noon: On a slightly overcast Wednesday, the perfect weather and temperature for waiting in lines, if there ever was one. The trip to Maximum Comics 3.0 from Henderson is, for those who unfamiliar with the Vegas Valley, a trek. Luckily my car was fueled and ready to rip up the US95, with one scheduled stop for tacos on the way. You need to fuel the body too right? My plan was to have a bunch of tacos for my fellow line dwellers, and hopefully jump a few spots in line. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a Taco Bell on Bicentennial Way, so I instead stopped and selfishly grabbed my self a tasty Smash Burger.
1:43 PM: The line was around the store as doors were about to open in T-Minus 17 minutes. I am the end of the line…
You see that fella in the brown shirt and the long gray hair? You’re going to get to know him real well here, he would like to be called, “Asshole”, I say this because he told me to call him that. This guy manages to photobomb about every picture, and I’m not sure if he does it on purpose.
2:00 PM: It quickly becomes apparent, I should have arrived 15 minutes earlier, or 15 later.
Those tweets span over an 11 minute period, in which it only took this man 11 minutes to know me before offering me his coveted vodka filled water bottle. My new found friend, Devin, a brave soul serving and protecting our country in the US Army, bless his soul, was unfortunately stuck in these random conversations with Asshole too. The conversations between the two of us though spanned across the comic book universe, Deadpool to Swamp Thing, and from Matt Fraction‘s Hawkeye to Grant Morrison‘s Batman Inc., they were welcomed warmly, as long as Asshole didn’t find his way into them.
2:39 PM: It would be unfair to say Asshole didn’t interject any thoughtful conversations into our discussions, the man knew his 1980’s. Well, at least two people out the 80’s anyways, team John Byrne and George Perez. He was kind enough to inform us though that he ,”didn’t care much for Bendis’ writing in general.” Thanks for taking up a spot in line, man.
Asshole speaks only of those two men, and insists we go out and find bags illustrated by Perez from “Mike’s Comic Hut“. “They’re worth a fortune, I have a few myself.” he exclaimed. I think Asshole forgets that things are only worth what people will pay for them, and I think the autographed bag market is underwhelming at the moment.
2:49 PM: Asshole wanders away. I don’t question where he’s going.
3:22 PM: Friendly faces Stephanie and Natalie arrive, here to keep Devin and myself company while Asshole is away. Natalie’s “Nerd Spawn” begins patiently waiting while chomping away on In-N-Out.
4:36 PM: We barely make it around the corner, the front doors of Maximum Comics can be seen, but they might as well be a mile away. Asshole travels back and forth, annoying whoever will cross his path. Natalie and I gather a game plan for upcoming cosplay, and I’m ashamed at how lazy I am. The delightful comic book chatter continues.
5:03 PM: Nerd Spawn wants to game, but the WeGoGamez truck is just a tinsy bit too far away for Nataile, Asshole offers to take him over and is confused why Natalie wont let Nerd Spawn follow the crazed and awkward man out of her supervision.
5:15 PM: The Maximum Comics doors are so close, you can smell the comics emanating from inside.
5:27 PM: After being lightly frisked by the Maximum Comics’ gentle giant security guards, I enter in with my seven bundles of joys. I kid of course, there was no frisking, but the security guys were huge. And gentle.
5:36 PM: Asshole had been away for a good hour, apparently buying his books to be signed and then actually getting them signed before us. We are not upset about it.
5:52 PM: I bide my time and snap a quick photo with the bodacious Nina Mercedez. I’m embarrassed I didn’t have enough cash for an autograph, I really wanted to show my support. My arrival into the actual Maximum Comics building was waaaaayyy after Tera Patrick left. Another photo I would have liked as a memento, if ya’know what I mean.
6:05 PM: Bendis is so close we can almost touch him. If I was Wolverine I could have probably smelled him. Asshole is just hanging around, trying to converse with us again, luckily there’s a shelf barrier between us. We don’t make eye contact.
I now believe that Asshole actually didn’t care for comic books or even know the signing event was happening. I believe he was just a man who saw a long line of people, hopped in and wanted to converse with as many people as possible. At no time did I see him go to his car to get “his books”, nor did I ever hear him talk about anything other than John Byrne and George Perez. Some people just want to watch the world burn.
On my way out it occurs to me that I really don’t know how to get back to the 95, Jay of WeGoGamez suggest I take the 215 back down and around, and I gladly abide. Driving towards the 215 I get closer and closer to the hillsides that I’ve never been so close to before and realize just how far out I really am. They’re peaceful yet, creepy, reminiscent of The Hills Have Eyes.I’m so far out in fact that I reach a light to get onto the 215. I didn’t even know there was a light on the 215! How far away am I?!?
The closing of the trip, one I calculated from leaving and then returning to my garage, spanned 65 miles. To us spoiled Vegas folks, might as well have been a road trip to Reno.
There is one thing I learned from the trip, if I was in charge of capital punishment, I would make inmates line up and walk five steps every 15 minutes for hours each day. Peace on Earth would surely follow.