By Superherologist - July 25, 2009
I’d met Lou before (like when I took the photos during Action Flick Chick’s interview with him) and obviously so has Adam many times. In fact, Lou once discussed Adam with me, but Alex liked the Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man type title so I went with it.
Before our panel, Adam called and asked if I could send someone to show him how to get the room because I’d cautioned him that the Comics Arts Conference (the academic conference-within-the-convention at San Diego Comic-Con International) gets the most out-of-the-way room in the whole huge convention center. Nick and Alex were the first of our crew to walk up, so Nick and Alex went to fetch him. It was a lot of fun for them because Adam chatted and cracked jokes along the way, but it took longer than necessary because kept coming up to Adam and he doesn’t like to hurt any fan’s feelings.
So after the panel, most of my students and I all went with Adam to surround him loosely, blocking people’s views. A few individuals along the way asked to speak and we had to tell them, “Sorry, but a crowd will gather if we stop.” Each time, though, Adam assured them that he would welcome them at his booth.
Along the way, he decided to stop and say hi to Lou Ferrigno. Marko took these pictures. He wasn’t at the best angle. Greg Lemons managed to get a much better shot with me positioned between Adam and Lou while they shook hands. Adam greeted him and asked, “Do you know Travis?” Lou studied me like he was wondering if I was someone he ought to know. I let him off the hook by saying, “We’ve met,” which made me the one talking in Greg’s photo. I’ll show you that one in a P.S. to this post after I get it from him. (If you’re Greg’s Facebook friend, you can see it already.)
I know that sounds phenomenally surreal, but it didn’t feel like it at the time. The moment which felt the most surreal at the time came much later in the day.
After a comics scholars dinner, someone started pitching an idea for a panel we might get Adam to join us for in the future. He rattled off names of people we might or might not invite. “And maybe Michael Uslan could help us get Michael Keaton on the panel.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that kind of thought (and I think very highly of the person who had it). In fact, such thinking can be extremely productive. It’s just that there’s a topic Adam had raised with me on Thursday which, as I realized in the middle of our panel, would be great for the future. I can certainly dream up topics that would serve me in other ways, but for me it’s more fun to help address some things near and dear to his heart. It’s like my approach to helping my students develop their senior research projects: Although I could tell them to conduct only the research that will further a specific line of study for me, I find it more gratifying to help them explore topics that mean more to them.
What made this moment so surreal was that I was experiencing a sliver of what people around guys like Adam get all the time: folks wanting to pitch something to a celebrity through them. Again, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. We all want things from others. It’s how the world works. It’s part of how the species continues to exist. But boy, that was weird. Through my brother-in-law and several other comic conventions I know a police detective in Austin, Texas, who must have experienced that same surreal moment more frequently and on a much larger scale when people have hoped to approach Stan Lee through him.
For now, I’m not going to mention the topic Adam and I discussed because I’m wary of anyone trying to exploit it when any convention where we’d cover it may be a year or more away and, frankly, it may never come to pass. I will share a different topic he brought up when we were heading downstairs after the panel, though.
Adam asked if I, as a psychological professional, thought Batman was crazy. I’ve thought about this before. I’ve written the draft of a chapter on that very topic. My answer boiled down to this: “Not for the world in he lives.” I elaborated a little and Adam nodded. He liked that answer. We agreed that what Batman does would be pretty crazy in our world, but the character doesn’t live in our world.
Friday someone asked me if Adam West is as crazy as he sometimes seems. You know what? The same answer just might apply: Not for the life he lives. He’s been The Adam West for quite some time – and he sure seems to enjoy it.
My Conversation With Batman (Robin Couldn’t Make It)