At the 1980 Comic-Con I met Adam West.
I was a judge for the costume contest. Judges sat in a marked-off section of the front row. I arrived early. I’m almost always early for everything.
As the audience was streaming into the auditorium, a little girl came wandering down the aisle. I’m not good at guessing kids’ ages, but she couldn’t have been more than seven. All the seats near the front were already filled except for two judges’ seats next to me.
The little girl asked me if she could sit in one of the seats. I said that those seats belonged to two other judges who would probably show up soon, but she could sit there until they did.
I asked her name, which I forget, sorry, and where her parents were. She said her parents couldn’t come because they had to take care of their table in the dealers’ room until the room was locked up. But she wanted to see the costumes.
I asked if they knew where she was. No.
I didn’t know what to do. Maybe call one of the Con staffers to take her back to the dealers’ room? That seemed cruel. All she wanted to do was watch the show.
Then the official occupants of the two empty seats showed up, Adam West and his wife. Marcie, I think? Again, sorry about names slipping away….
I introduced myself and quickly explained the situation.
Adam and his wife took over. They summoned a Con staffer, had another chair brought for the little girl and, I think, had word sent to the parents that all was okay.
So, the little girl sat with Adam West and his wife, just in front of them in her own little row in front of the front row. They were the best baby sitters ever. No child at that show was better cared for or better attended. She had a ball.
I don’t think she had any idea who Adam and his wife were, or who any of us were for that matter.
That was great. I got to talk with Adam and his wife a little, before, during and after the costume contest. They were/are the nicest, most interesting, best people you could ever meet.
After the contest, the little girl was safely escorted back to mom and dad.
Later, the next evening, I think, I attended the banquet. To my pleasant surprise, Adam West and his wife were seated next to me, on my left—and Wally Wood was on my right!
Talk about best seat in the house….
I had worked with Woody twice back in the 1960’s on Captain Action #1-2, but that was long distance, through the mail. Years later, while working at Marvel, I had met Woody and seen him briefly several times at the office and maybe once at Continuity Studios. He did a little bit of work for Marvel. Or, at least, his studio did. At that point in his life, his assistants did most of the work. Still, anything he touched had that unmistakable style. What a brilliant, amazing artist.
I had a great time talking again with Adam, Marcie (?) and Woody.
My respect for Adam and his wife only grew. First of all, I was impressed and thrilled that they remembered my name. And, the more we talked the clearer it became just how smart, informed, insightful and thoughtful they both were. And nice. Yes, I covered that above, but I can’t emphasize it enough. Gracious. Genuine. Finest-kind people.
Woody spoke less, but displayed flashes of his famous acerbic wit. We talked about anything but comics, except for what was happening there at the banquet right in front of us. They were giving awards, I guess. I really wasn’t paying much attention. Sorry.
Woody seemed to be hurting. In pain the whole time.
His skin looked gray. It was hot as hell in that hall, but Woody had on several layers—a tee shirt, a collared shirt over that and a flannel shirt over that.
I turned to say something to Adam at one point and when I looked back, Woody was gone.
He came back in a little while with a coat on. He said, exactly, “I’m freezing, man.”
That’s not good.
Like I said, we had a great time. And I got to thank Woody again for giving me my first splash page credit on page one of Captain Action #1, which he drew and inked from my layouts and script.
What a night. Lifetime highlight reel stuff. Once and done, gone forever, except in memory.
I haven’t seen Adam or his wife since. Woody died a year or so later by his own hand.
NEXT: More Strange Tales