Trevor Von Eeden is best known as the co-creator of Black Lightning and is still working on the comic book industry with a style that has been compared to ’80s Todd McFarlane.
He was at Great Philadelphia Comic Con this past weekend. So was Jim Steranko. The first time he had seen the man. He tells Bleeding Cool:
The Great Jim Steranko was at a table about 30 feet away from mine, and I went over there the first chance I got (I was instantly swamped even before I set up my table — made $450 in the first 10 minutes on an 8×10 commission — then the fellow came back later in the day, and gave me another $200 to make it an 11×17 instead! That was fairly typical, as far as the fans went.)
Steranko was busy chatting, and oozing pure (and TOTALLY GENUINE) charm to the fans in front of his table — at one point, gave one of ’em a print for free, ’cause he liked his face — something that I thought only I did… So I just stood there, and waited, just gazing at The Great Steranko HIMSELF — standing right there just a few feet in front of me…and he looked GRRRREAT!!! A full, lush, head of gorgeous, silver hair — which a man his age had absolutely no business having; slightly tinted glasses, a totally natty grey suit over a black turtleneck (which highlighted that marvelous mane marvelously) — and a smile that just made you feel like a kid first discovering comics all over again!
When he finally got to me, after everyone else had left, I shook his hand, and introduced myself as the co-creator of Black Lightning — and said that he’s been an inspiration to me ever since I first saw his work (Nick Fury, I think…) — which remains undimmed to this day. I even turned into Ultimate Fanboy, and told him how wonderful he looked (which was true!) — and that I just wanted to take the opportunity to finally meet him, and shake his hand. Then I started to go back to my table.
Jim Steranko has a habit of holding your hand with both of his, when he shakes hands — and when he did this to me, I automatically did the same. So I was standing there holding hands across the table with this GREAT and TRUE legend of the comics industry, during this whole spiel. But as I’d I started to leave, he held my hand really firmly, brought his face a bit closer to mine, and said “Trevor, I’ve been aware of your work for the past 25 years!”
And as I stood there open-mouthed, and dumbfounded, he continued, “And please, if there’s anything that I can ever do for you — please let me know!” At least I had the wherewithal (again, only because it was true) to immediately reply “Mr. Steranko, all you ever have to do for me is be Jim Steranko!”
So lemme ask you, fellas: Do you know anyone else who got A BIG HUG FROM JIM STERANKO — after he’d already been standing there for almost two minutes holding both of his hands in both of yours??!! — You do NOW, folks!!!!
I gave him my card and asked him to please send me an email because I wanted to send him a pdf of The Batman Annual #8 — which was inspired by his work, along with Alex Toth‘s and Ayn Rand‘s — and just like Rey Mysterio, he put it right into his wallet! (Funny — neither one of us thought of my getting his card… I guess subconsciously, I just wanted to give him mine so that he’d remember me…)
I practically floated back to my table, where my family had absolutely no idea what I was so excited about — but the fans at my table sure did!
The Black Lightning panel also went very well. Cress Williams sat right next to me, and the girls were next to him, then Marvin Jones (Tobias Whale) and James Remar. We all got along great. Cress even patted me on the leg a couple of times after I’d said something reasonably intelligent — and I returned the favor, even going so far as to give him a hug after he’d said something completely cool, in answer to a question. I even mentioned that he reminds me of my brother-in-law, the doctor — whose last name is also Williams, and whose daughter is named Netasha — very close to Nafessa Williams, who plays BL’s daughter. He seemed very amused by that. I also gave him my card, which he put in his wallet. I also got a thumbs-up from China Anne McClain, who plays the youngest daughter, Thunder. It was all really quite enjoyable.
At one point, I got so carried away with what I was saying that I actually got up, walked to the front of the stage, and started addressing the audience directly. When I turned to address the cast, and compliment them on the wonderful job they’re doing on the TV show in relation to a point I was making — every face was glued to me, in rapt attention! Needless to say, that felt WONDERFUL!!!!
All that vanished in the haze when I went into the bathroom afterwards to splash some water on my face (it was pretty hot up there) — and saw these TWO HUGE ARMPIT STAINS on my nice, new, never-before-worn light gray shirt — now with two dark gray pools of hot sweat adorning the fabric. They each seemed like a foot long too… I mean, they were fucking HUGE!!!
So the ABSOLUTE BEST moment of my entire career — and it ended up becoming the most horribly embarrassing memory, all because of something I’d never even considered, much less prepared for… I can only hope that either the MANY cameras there were filming me from the neck up only — or that what I was saying was either interesting, or involving enough, for those watching to forgive such a totally egregious public faux pas. I’ll find out when I finally see the video — which they’ll be sending to me… and yes, I’ll be sharing it, regardless of how I look… I’d be a real dick not to, after all this. But I know that right now, I feel like shit… so I can only hope.
Hey, but at least I can still be happy knowing that JIM STERANKO KNOWS WHO I AM!!!!!
And I sure could use a big hug right now…
C’est la vie, no?
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