Comic-Con Album Pt 25

Cindy (Furgatch) Freeling, aka Princess Anne Droid, Harware Wars, Comic-Con International, San Diego Convention Center, Marina District, San Diego, California. Ilford Delta 3200 Black and White 35mm negative film. © Michael Buntag.
Cindy Freeling, Comic-Con autograph area.

Located across from the Portfolio Review Area, Comic-Con's Autograph Area is the pop culture equivalent of Artist's Alley - A motley gathering of celebrities, starlets, has-beens, and ne'er-do-wells detached from the madness of the main exhibit hall. Some of them can be very charming, such as the lovely lady pictured above. Most of the time, the atmosphere of the hall is relatively sedate.

Speaking of has-beens - I don't remember at which Comic-Con this took place at, but I once spotted Wil Wheaton when I was rushing between review sessions. These were still the lean years before Wil's tireless blogging and courting of the Web 1.0 crowd would catapult him to nerdlebrity status. This was before Nemesis. Before w00tstock. Before The Guild. Before geeks conquered the media landscape. Those days were filled with high anxiety, self-doubt, narcissistic brooding, fannish nostalgia, and a pathological disconnect as narrated with a heavy dose of self-depreciating humour in his autobiography several years later. Of course, I didn't know that at the time. To me he was just the actor formerly known as Wesley Crusher.

Wil's table was located so that he was split off from the majority of the autograph group, his table facing so that his back was turned towards them. Wil didn't have any immediate neighbours to either side of him. Well, at least I didn't see anyone when I was there. He was alone. And he looked utterly miserable just sitting there. A part of me wanted to walk up to him, say "hi", and tell him that not everyone hated him when he was on ST:TNG. But a bigger part of me felt awkward about approaching someone in such a state, felt unsure about how to reach out. I was too wrapped up in my own personal shit at the time. And I've gradually realised that I'm not the most empathic individual. Or maybe I was just paralysed by a sense of impotence to help. So I moved on to whatever it was I was currently occupied with.

An that's why I don't have a picture of Uncle Willy.

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