Wizard World NOLA: Fan Experiences

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by Veronica Sepulveda (@vRONIs)

Welcome to part 2 of my nerd-venture to Wizard World NOLA! As I mentioned previously, the people you attend a con with can really enhance your experience. It’s ideal to surround yourself with folks who are as enthusiastic and passionate as you are about the nerdiest things! Never fear though, I have attended plenty of cons alone and it is super easy to make friends. You would think it would be difficult to make friends with nerds, but we are all there…with some common interests…it’s super easy to start a conversation in a photo-op line. So next time you’re in a con line…save your phone battery, take a look around and say hi to your neighbors!

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Laura and I spent quite a bit of time chatting about photo op experiences with the rest of our Chris Evans photo line folks. Including this awesome fellow, Matt Ditullio, who proved to be quite a collector of Hot Toys and other goodies. He had Renner, Mackie, and Evans sign their respective figures. We were all in awe and he was quite proud!
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Needless to say, Laura and I got our Capgirl photos with Chris, and he was a soft spoken sweetie. The only recommendation Laura and I would have, and this is for any photo op you may have, please don’t scream in a person’s face and charge at them. Sure you may be very excited, but try to put yourself in their shoes and think about how you would feel about a stranger screaming and charging at you like a linebacker. It may prove to be a little frightening. We luckily kept our cool, but we were witness to a little “over enthusiasm”.

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I got a little cuddle time with Falcon himself, Mackie! Our convo went like this…
Me: May I have a cuddle? Anthony: Come on! Cuddle buddies…Cuddle buddies! (Picture is taken)
Me: Thank you! Anthony: You know it’s all Netflix and cuddle, Netflix and cuddle!
All I can say, is he’d make and excellent cuddle buddy! lol!

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Our buddy Matt also got an epic photo op with Renner and Mackie holding the Hot Toys!

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Now as epic as all of our experiences were, someone had us beat! Meet Heather, she’s a good friend of Laura’s, and I had the pleasure to meet her.

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Yes, she did get everyone’s signatures! Chris, Jeremy, Grillo, Hayley, Anthony and the Russos. I let her know that I would want to get a recap of her experience and she was nice enough to oblige. She has so many great stories not only from the photo sessions but the autograph sessions as well. She was worried she wrote too much, but I didn’t have the heart to cut anything out…

Heather’s Story


Chris – My autograph story starts months and months ago when I came across a post on Tumblr toting that they had found the perfect candle that supposedly smelled like Chris Evans. Of course, I immediately hit the nearest Yankee Candle to seek out the candle, Mountain Lodge, because, hey, when has Tumblr ever steered me wrong? It really did smell like they described! Now, I couldn’t actually verify if it smelled like Chris at the time but I was determined to find out one day. That day came much sooner than I thought and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make Chris aware of the phenomena. Fast forward a few months and as we were traveling to New Orleans and we came across a New England Patriots throw. Neither of us are fans (go Cowboys and Bangals!) but I thought it’d be a fun thing to give to Chris during our autograph. I never imagined I’d actually get the time spent to share my goodies with him but amazingly the staff was not rushing anyone and we had a great exchange! I gave him the throw as he finished signing my shield and he said “Aw, thank you.” I then proceeded to tell him it was for him to cry in to when the Bengals beat his Patriots and he chuckled, rolling his eyes with a smile saying “Oh here we go, I was waiting for the catch!”

I then asked if he was aware of the Yankee Candle that supposedly smelled like him to which he got this really surprised look on his face and said “No! Is it like a Captain America candle or a Chris Evans candle?” I told him it was a Chris candle. I gave him a little one and asked if it was accurate. He smelled it and closed his eyes saying “Oh man! I wish I smelled that good!” Having nothing more to say I took my Captain America shield back and floated away on cloud nine.

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Jeremy – My all time favorite comic book character is Hawkeye. I remember seeing a comic panel of this absolutely tragic looking guy who had a fondness for coffee and who looked like he’d gone ten rounds with Cap. I google-fu’d and found out it was a comic book by Matt Fraction centered around what Hawkeye got up to when he wasn’t avenging. It’s pure magic. I highly recommend it. I fell in love immediately with the series, the character, so much that I willingly got a tattoo of Hawkeye’s bow. Which, if you know me, is a huge deal. Well, being so invested in Hawkeye, I was excited to see more of him in Age of Ultron. Jeremy Renner is amazing in all things and I’ve not been disappointed in his portrayal of Clint. However, for me personally, there was some disappointment in where they took Hawkeye in AOU. When I met Jeremy the first thing I told him that Hawkeye is my absolute favorite, I adore that character. He said “Aw, that’s great! Thank you!” As he was signing my shield I told him that while I enjoyed the new movie, I couldn’t help wanting to see Clint show up with a one-eyed dog named Lucky and a plucky sidekick. He laughed in the most adorable way and gave me a huge smile while telling me “that’s awesome!” Again, in the face of a disarming smile I slowly took my shield back, thanked him and drifted away.

Anthony – The week before the con I was visiting family and had taken my nephews shopping. While there I decided to buy two Marvel mystery keychains as they were on sale, as if I need a reason to buy nerdy things. When I got home I opened them both and scored a Captain America and a Falcon! It could not have been more perfect. I decided right then that I had to give the little Falcon to Anthony. I walk up to Anthony and hand him the little Falcon. His whole face lights up and he says “oh man! This is so cool. I collect keychains!” His assistant comes over as I was explaining the mystery keychain packs and he said he’d bought so many trying to get the ones he wanted. Anthony stopped and leaned back saying “wait, you didn’t just buy this? You didn’t know what’s in the packs?” I told him there’s a 1/12 chance of getting anything and somehow I ended up with a Cap and Falcon. He laughed and said that couldn’t have been more perfect! He thanked me again and we talked a bit about food places to check out while I was in NOLA. He was such a genuinely nice guy! The people in front of me were super shy and weren’t saying anything so Anthony asked them multiple questions to get them to open up. So, so nice.

My experiences with Frank and Hayley weren’t quite as exciting but both were very kind. I told Hayley that I knew she had won the war but I still miss her dubsmashes, and that they were always a highlight of my day.

I’ve been to quite a few cons and I’m still amazed by how nice the con workers were and how generous the actors were with their time. I could’ve easily been shuffled along but I wasn’t and no one else I saw was either.

Chris photo – As we were waiting in line for our Chris solo photos you could hear con workers announcing that there would be “no hugs, no kisses, and no leaping in to their arms, they are not actually superheroes.” No hugs?! I didn’t drive 2,100 miles to not hug this man. The nice guy at the curtain entrance told me to just ask Chris and try. Butterflies in my belly I stand in a small room, watching as Chris is the Rose to someone’s Jack and then it’s my turn. I walk up and ask if I may have a hug to which he immediately responded with an “of course!” We hugged and I’m pretty sure only one sense at a time can function around that man because I have no idea what else happened other than the extreme softness of his sweater. I said thank you and scurried off to grab my photo. After I saw it I was disappointed that I hadn’t done something fun so with that thought, and the thought of when the heck am I gonna meet this gorgeous man again, I shelled out the cash for a second solo with him. Moment of insanity made entirely worth it when I saw my second photo. The next time round I handed him my shield and told him to strike a super hero pose while I pretended to be super unimpressed with him. It was so hard not to smile! After the shot was taken the photographer laughed and said “Nice!” which I took as a good sign that the photo would turn out okay. Boy did it! It is officially my all time favorite photo op and I’ve had some pretty great ones!


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Group – The group shot with the whole crew was pretty quick. I think it was hard wrangling Frank, Hayley and Jeremy! I stood beside Chris and Jeremy and all I can remember is Jeremy looking at me saying “hello” and “thank you” with a smile on his face. That man is too nice to be real.

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That’s it! That’s my story! One frantic text from a good friend saying Chris would be in NOLA and I was sold. The price tag was large but with the help of family and friends I was able to make it happen. It was the greatest birthday/Christmas present a nerd girl could hope for and I don’t regret a single dollar spent or mile driven.

Annnnnd…I’m totally enamored with her story telling! 😀
I wholeheartedly agree with what Heather had to say about the con, the volunteers were very nice, there wasn’t much confusion and everything seemed to be well organized. The photo ops and autographs didn’t feel as rushed as usual. There were a few minor schedule delays, but manageable. The most disappointing thing was Matt Smith and Karen Gillan canceling due to legitimate issues. Still a bummer though…I was really hoping to meet Matt finally.

The Russo brothers were a particular highlight for me. They held multiple signings, moderated the Civil War panel (rightly so) and were taking selfies with folks at their table. I let them know I had been a big fan since Arrested Development and when I found out they’d be doing Winter Soldier, I was excited. Now that they are in charge of Civil War and Infinity Wars…I’m relieved, excited and super nervous for them. It’s a lot of pressure, but I know they will handle it with grace like always.
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Overall it was a great con! I was glad to experience it with my friends! Stay tuned for part 3 we’ll talk panels!

Nerd On!
~R


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