I knew that Comic Con was coming to Richmond. I knew where it would be and vaguely realized that this was some sort of big deal.
I also knew I wouldn’t be going anywhere near it during its weekend duration at the Convention Center, especially since the minimum ticket price was $75.
I just didn’t know how wrong this assumption was.
Flashback to Friday, September 12, the night after the first day of Comic Con Richmond. My BFF and I were hanging out at a bar, catching up on our weeks over a casual drink. After awhile we noticed two gentlemen, sitting just a few seats away, who kept glancing in our direction.
Eventually they came up to us and asked if they could join. After a few minutes of small talk, they told us that they were here for the weekend visiting from Ohio. They both worked at a comic book store in Columbus and had traveled around with Comic Con on a regular basis.
Then they asked if we had any plans to go to the convention that weekend.
Since my mild interest in the Walking Dead is pretty much the extension of my “nerdiness,” I told them probably not.
Baffled that we weren’t planning to go, they started talking about all of the big names that would be there:
– [Some guy I don’t know]
– [Another guy I don’t know]
– [Some guy I had heard of but thought was dead]
– Jason David Frank
“You know,” one of them clarified, “Tommy Oliver, of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”
Our two new gentlemen friends then told us that if we go to the Convention Center and tell them that we’re with [the name of their comic book store in which I cannot disclose but whose name I plan to use at every future Comic Con that comes to Richmond], we will get in for free.
Another game changer.
Fast forward to the next day.
BFF and I meander (/hobble) up the Convention Center (behind four Ghostbusters, two Khaleesi’s, and one completely green lady with fun noodles attached to her head).
We went up to Will Call and told the person that we’re with [still not going to reveal the name of the comic book store in Ohio, but spoiler alert: it totally got us into Comic Con for free.]
She added our names to the list, put on our bracelets, and guess what, it totally got us into Comic Con for free.
Has anybody ever felt so overwhelmed by shiny objects that you can’t even think of a word more powerful than overwhelmed?
Because that’s exactly how we felt. Literally everybody was dressed up as some sort of mythical creature, comic book character, or superhero.
There were vendors selling comic books, action figures, Halloween costumes (actually, let’s be honest, I doubt they were for Halloween), books, baby clothes, posters, DVDs, and trinkets.
Distractions aside, we powered through and continued on to our mission: Green Power Ranger Tommy Oliver.
Finally, we found his booth and got in line. He had just arrived for the 5:00 autograph and photo session.
Fearful that when we got up to the front we would be forced to pay the $40 autograph/photo op fee, we spent our 20 minutes in line taking stealthy pictures of Jason David Frank.
When we got to the front of the line, we were told that without paying, we would only be allowed to say hi and introduce ourselves, and then we would have to move on.
Seeing as we had gotten this far without pulling out our wallets, we decided to press our luck. I crutched over, as pitifully as possible, and put on my best, “Think of yourself as granting a Make-A-Wish” face. I told him that he was my childhood crush (I mean, whose childhood crush was he not?) and asked him if he wouldn’t mind taking a second to sign my cast?
Okay so. Not only did he comply with signing my cast (autograph complete with the name “Tommy” written underneath it), he also:
- wished me a speedy recovery
- told us a story of his recent foot injury (base jumping. I told him that’s how I had hurt mine too. He didn’t even pretend to believe me.)
- Allowed us to get our picture with him for free
- and took a photo of his signature on my cast and put it on his Instagram.
Now all I have to do is befriend Minnie Mouse, find a castle to live in, and marry Aladdin, and all of my childhood dreams will be complete.