So I've continued my indoctrinating the boy into the ways of geek culture by taking him to his first comics/sci-fi convention, Auckland's Armageddon Expo. It's the first time I'd been to this one, which is the biggest in New Zealand, and it was really good fun - not as huge as some of the American expos I've been to of course but it was excellent to take a squirmy 4 1/2-year-old to as he admired various Stormtroopers, superheroes and manga characters running around in fun regalia (and like the idiot I am, I forgot the camera so sorry, no pictures of Peter shaking hands with the Stormtroopers). I tried to be fairly thrifty but did pick up some swell "Hellboy Animated" DVDs for a mere $7.50 each and treated myself to the utterly gorgeous new hardback of Brian Wood's LOCAL comic series.
The big highlight of the day for me, though, was the Doug Jones panel. Doug Jones is far from a household name but if you're any kind of nerd you've seen him in something -- as the leader of the Gentlemen in the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" episode "Hush", as a great Silver Surfer in "Fantastic Four 2," or most notably, as director Guillermo Del Toro's muse in several of his movies, including as fish-man Abe Sapien in the awesome "Hellboy" movies and as multiple characters in "Pan's Labyrinth" such as the ultra-freaky Pale Man. (Jones couldn't say for sure, but I hope he ends up in Guillermo's "Hobbit" movies -- which ya know, are going to be filmed here in New Zealand of course.)
I tell ya, for me personally, I would much rather sit and listen to Doug Jones for an hour over someone like Tom Cruise. Jones was terrifically funny, cheerful and animated as he told of how a freakishly tall, thin guy like himself makes his way in the Hollywood, and how he's become the "guy people stick strange costumes on." It was great fun, even as he told stories about things like having live moths stuck in his mouth for the forgotten 1990s movie "Hocus Pocus" or playing a mutated kangaroo man in not one but two movies ("Tank Girl" and "Warriors of Virtue" if you're keeping score). Frankly I only wish the talk had been longer.
The boy had a swell time too, got his first Transformers toy and ate lots of junk food as he and daddy watched all the strange folk wander about. ("When these people go home do they stay dressed as Boba Fett?" he wondered. I wonder too.)