I first walked into the main floor at WizardWorld with joy and wonder. Then Mike stopped us.
“Dude,” he snapped. “Liefeld‘s here.”
We all sprung into crisis mode.
“What do you mean?” said a surprised August. Liefeld was not on the list of guests, but about three booths to the right of the door was “Liefeld” in that sketchy, completely linear Rob Liefeld font.
“Oh shit!” said August. He still has a soul, so he worries about other people and their feelings. I, on the other hand, have nothing but my dreams, and apparent they came true. I knew what to do. We were joking about this on the car ride over, what to say if Liefeld were to magically show up. I knew what to do.
I walked up to him and spake: “Hi, my name is Ryan Coons…”
“Hey!” said Rob Liefeld. He didn’t even look up at me; he just kept sketching away at yet another blocky, disproportionate, and overly-linear picture of one of my beloved childhood heroes. This time, it was Wolverine, in a mirrored swipe of Jim Lee’s cover for X-Men #11.
“…I am a huge Captain America fan…” I tell him with jazz hands and a huge fanboy gleam. “…and as such, I demand an apology for Heroes Reborn.”
Rob stops. He gives me an action hero sneer and said, “Hey, it was nice to meet you,” and followed it up with a fuck-off get lost nod. You know, the upward one. I walk off and hyperventalate for a while, because I can only process a set amount of awesome at one time. That’s why it took me four hours to watch 300 the first time.
Rummaging through the boxes when I came across a copy of Lee & Buscema’s seminal text How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way. We were in awe.
“Coons! You need to buy that!” shouted Mike. I was thinking about it, because I’ve wanted a copy of that for some time now. “You need to give it to him!”
“You’re right! Rob needs it more than anyone!” I said.
“That’s why we’re here Coons,” said Mike. “The planets have aligned.”
“What’s this?” asked Javier, the dude who was working the booth we were at.
“We’re going to by a copy of How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way, then he’s going to give it to Rob Liefeld,” said Mike.
Javier was awestruck.
“How much is this?” I ask.
“All trades are five dollars, but if you’re giving that to Rob Liefeld, then I…I…well, I can chip in,” said Javier, digging through his wallet. “Here’s two bucks.”
I give the man three.
“I’ll be back,” I tell Javier.
I waited for a bit, I wanted him to forget about me, I wanted him to think he was in the clear and have him let his guard down. Also, I fully expected to get thrown out for these shenanigans, and I wanted Mark Millar to sign my copy of Superman: Red Son, and that wouldn’t be for another few hours.
In the mean time, I took the time to personalize his gift.
On the blank front page, I wrote:
I know you aren’t willing to apologize right now. This manual will help you in you future endeavors. Please study it carefully, and consult it before rebooting another comic title. If you still wish to apologize for “Heroes Reborn,” you can do so by emailing me at YellowHatGuy@gmail.com.
Let’s make things right.
Then, I slipped my business card in between the pages, to make sure that Liefeld knew my name, website, email address, and cell phone number. Then I put his gift in a nice bag…
…and I was ready.
“So, you’re going through with this?”
“I have too. It needs to be done,” I said.
“What are you going to say to him?” asked August.
“I’m not going to say anything,” I told him. “I’m just going to set it in front of him, and then walk away.”
“…and then what?” asked August.
“I don’t care,” I sad. “I don’t care what happens. You can watch if you like.”
I started sweating pretty bad, and started to hyperventilate. “You okay Coons? You gonna make it?” said August.
Immediately, I regain my composure.
“No, I have to do this. I’ve waited thirteen years for this,” I tell August.
So I walked over to Rob Liefeld, who was busy ignoring everyone in the entire convention center. I set the package in front of him, and patted it a few times, and the walked away. According to Mike, the following ensued:
“Rob didn’t look up, but the bald guy did, and pulled it out and showed it Liefeld. He shook his head and got all pissed off. Then the bald dude opened it up and red the inscription, and busted out laughing, and laughed for like, five minutes straight, and Liefeld’s face just tightened up and he just got more and more pissed off.”
I’m not a bad guy. All I want is an apology.