How Geoff Johns Saved My Life by Silke Donnelly

Silke Donnelly writes for Bleeding Cool.

As expected, I had a great time at Comic-Con this year. And though I may have pushed myself a bit too hard over the five days, I managed to hold my own and get through the convention without incident. Thanks to all the amazing people I met and spent time with. I couldn't have done anything without you guys.

But through all the fun, excitement, confusion, and free swag, there was a moment I've been dying to have. That moment was getting to tell my favorite writer that he just may have saved my life. Though you may think that sounds dramatic, I do not care. For over a year just attempting to talk about what I went through, and my very slight brush with death, was just too much for me. It literally is the only thing that makes me cry. Except when playing baseball, of course. "There's no crying in baseball" after all.

Back on topic; I attended the Green Lantern comic book panel on Saturday with my new friend Joshua Yehl. We sat near the front, just next to the microphone. I'll get to that in a minute.

Before the panel started, I noticed Geoff's name wasn't on the listing. And there was also no sign on the table that read his name either. Scared that my moment would be lost, I approached the panel and pulled Bob Wayne aside, asking him if Geoff would be there, and telling him briefly why it was important to me. He smiled and said, "he may be here. He may not. "

I wasn't sure how to take it. So I went back, sat down, and waited. Minutes later, the whole roster of incredibly talented writers/artists/editors that produce my favorite comic book emerged from off stage and took their seats. Then, with a surprise guest appearance, Geoff joined them last. I almost cried. Now the hard part, finding the courage to speak about something so personal in front of a room full of strangers.

Side note; Geoff was actually supposed to be back in LA as he was in the middle of moving into a new place. He was directing the movers from his phone on what to do, choosing to be with his fans. This forced me to grab onto that courage and just do it.

So I did. When it was time for questions, I was second in line. I was nervous. I didn't even hear the first guy's question, nor did I hear the answers given to him from the panel. I only knew when they stopped speaking, because suddenly everyone was looking at me.

For those who don't know, since my aneurysm, I've been suffering from intense anxiety. I could feel it consuming every inch of me, but seeing the panel waiting for me to speak, I tapped into that old Green Lantern willpower and charged through, with no plan, just like Hal Jordan.

"Umm, first of all to Geoff, I actually talked to Eddie (Berganza) yeterday and even Bob (Wayne) today; I haven't got to thank you in person for this, but I had a brain aneurysm last year. And I read Brightest Day and it was a huge inspiration to keep me fighting. I am only standing here today because of the work you do."

The room applauded. (I almost cried right there I swear it)

"I saw Green Lantern six times; to support the film, I thought it was very good. I was even at the premiere, in Hollywood. And I guess my question is uh… I wish I had a question for you. I like to see what you're gonna do, so I don't want to spoil anything for me."

"But I have-"

Geoff responded. "Look, I'm glad um… congratulations on getting through last year. I think that's awesome."

I thanked him as he continued, "That means a lot to me, what you just said."

"Good," I replied. "I literally haven't wrote you on Facebook or anything like that because I wanted to tell you in person."

He thanked me again and asked my name. I told him. Then I nervously blurted out, "I talked to you at Wondercon last year and mentioned that you should do something with Jim Lee. I'm so glad I'm still around to see it."

The room laughed as Geoff said "we knew we were doing it then anyway." To lighten the mood from my opening I told him that I've been telling everyone that his pairing with Jim Lee was my idea. Everyone laughed again as Geoff said "Well anytime someone asks me why Jim and I decided to work together, I'm gonna now tell them that I met a kid at Wondercon in 2010 named Siike and he told me to do it." I laughed too with the rest of the room.

I went on, still nervous, but easing up a bit. "I actually released a book this year and am sold out of it. That book was inspired by what all of you on the panel and DC as a whole do monthly, and I'm in for all 52 issues (referring to the relaunch in September)

"So my question is to Ed Benes. I'm a hug fan of yours. I guess I'm curious on… what visual style or new style you might bring to this Red Lantern series? Since Rage is so distorting, is that gonna be seen in a visual way on how the Red Lanterns see the universe?"

Ed Benes doesn't speak more than broken English, so he discussed things with his translator. Eddie chimed in that Peter Milligan (the writer of the Red Lantern series) will be exploring that from a story standpoint. Geoff also added that the Dex-Starr valentine day special was still a go for next year.

Ed (through his translator) answered that he wasn't familiar with the Red Lanterns before starting the book, so he is approaching things from many new ways, rather than just one. He is enjoying his exploration of the Red Lanterns and how to make them visually appealing.

With my head lowered due to all the release of pressure and nervousness from my neck, I thanked them all and headed to my seat; only to be stopped by Bob Wayne's voice. My head felt like it weighed a million pounds, so I looked up with a crooked glance. "And for seeing Green Lantern six times we appreciate the support, so…" Bob Wayne held out the nearly impossible to get Black Wayne Casino poker chip. Water filled my eyes as I hobbled up to receive it, the pressure returning to my head and shoulders as the whole room broke into a roaring applause. I wish my mother could have been there to see me is all I could think.

So there you go. An actual transcript of what went down. It felt good to say what I wanted to say to Geoff and everyone on the panel for their involvement in the book that taught me life is worth living. The book that taught me not to question why I'm still here, but to be happy that I am and move on.

I guess I never thought about it, but there were online bloggers and comic new sources in the room. Including the people that record the panel for the dccomics.com website – go to their website, click download – then DC comics. scroll down and see the Green Lantern panel (explicit) from Sat July 23rd. It's a free download if you have itunes. you can hear my question about 15-20 minutes in)

Again, thanks to all those that supported me and encouraged me over the years, especially this past one. It means more to me than you could possibly imagine and I'm forever in your debt for it. Thanks for reading.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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