Panel Recap: Evangeline Lilly
by Emily Offshack (@CanadianEmily)
Evangeline Lilly, best known for her role as Kate Austen on Lost, stopped by Nerd HQ to promote her new children’s book, “The Squickerwonkers.” Based on a poem that she wrote when she was 14 years old, the story follows a girl who encounters the Squickerwonkers, a kooky crew of characters who are each identified by their particular vice. It’s a dark tale, more reminiscent of Grimms’ fairy tales than their modern-day counterparts. The book is illustrated by Johnny Fraser-Allen, whose film credits include Tintin, King Kong, and The Hobbit trilogy. His art gives life to the marionette characters who are intentionally a bit scary.
“Kids find this yummy,” Lilly said. “They like dark, scary stuff.” She admitted, however, that she hated to be scared as a kid and would hide in the bathroom when her friends would watch scary movies. “But for some reason, I understand that I was weird and that most kids do really love it.”
With elements of graphic novels and children’s storybooks, “The Squickerwonkers” doesn’t fit neatly into any existing category. Lilly knew that Comic Con was the right place for the initial release of the book, which was limited to 1,000 copies. She said that Comic Con attendees know graphic stories, hold the bar high and have sophisticated tastes, so she wanted to use the convention as a litmus test for her book.
It was a treat to have Nathan Fillion moderate the Nerd HQ panel. He reminisced about his role on Lost as Kate Austen’s husband. As Lost fans know, Kate drugged her husband and left him passed out on the floor before running away. She just couldn’t do taco night.
Fans had a chance to ask questions at the panel, and many great stories came out of the session. Lilly’s birth experience needs to be repeated: after 30 hours of labor and eight hours of pushing, she gave birth naturally, on her patio, during a power outage in the middle of a thunderstorm. This is a true story and not a (very long) scene from Lost.
Lilly talked about her time working on Lost and shared a story of a time that the cast and crew halted production to watch whales breaching off the shore of Oahu. She recognized how amazing it was that this had been her “office.” Lilly said she was a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien long before being cast in The Hobbit, and the Silvan Elves were her favorite part of the story. “I was completely enchanted by these elves,” she said. “I would have given anything to be a Silvan Elf, and now I am one.” Lilly even delighted the fans with a few words in Elvish!
One thing that stood out during the Nerd HQ panel was that Lilly remembered the names of several fans who had stopped by the WETA Workshop booth to get their copy of “The Squickerwonkers” earlier in the convention. One of the fans that made an impression, Briana Lynch, has a Lost tattoo that deserves to be shared.
Lilly generously signed copies of the book and took pictures with fans after the panel. She was a delight to talk to and is truly passionate about her writing and the future of “The Squickerwonkers.” It is her intention to create a series of Squickerwonker stories, and there is a possibility of a television or movie adaptation in the future.