About three months ago, my 14 year old daughter Shannon came to me and said: “Evan Peters is going to be at Comic Con in Philadelphia in June. I want to go there so I can meet him.” I responded immediately: “So….who is Evan Peters?”
This elicited the textbook teenager response of simultaneous eye rolling, disbelief, annoyance, “How could you not know, Mom?” look, followed by a loud sigh of frustration. Of course, aside from the obvious crime of not knowing who Evan Peters was, I didn’t really know a thing about Comic Con either. Wasn’t it just a big trade show for comic books? With people dressed as Superman and Spiderman walking around? What on earth would Shannon want with that? And why would I have to take her? I was totally intimidated.
So, I did what all smart moms do in this situation, which is stall until you can gather more information. I said, “Well, let’s see what date it is, to be sure there’s nothing else going on.” Then, I set about doing some research.
First, I went straight to my sources – my friends and colleagues Ed and Matt, who I knew would be able to fill me in on everything about Comic Con (Matt even works in a Comic book store on his day “off”…) I got the scoop from them that it’s much more than comic books, it’s also celebrities promoting movies or cult TV shows (lots of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” actors attend) – as well as booths selling merchandise and comics. People dress up because….well, they just dress up. But you don’t have to dress up, I was assured. They also said the Philadelphia “con” would be not as crazy as some of the other ones around the country. That settled, I set about finding out who this Evan Peters was.
Shannon got hooked early this year on the first season of American Horror Story. Evan Peters is an actor who plays the character of Tate Langdon, a complicated, very disturbed, but cute boy who falls in love with the teenage daughter in the show. In case you plan to watch it but don’t know anything about it, I won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say he is the ultimate “bad boy.” This ain’t Beverly Hills, 90210 teenage fare, folks. He is also in season 2 and 3 of AHS playing different characters, so he’s got a bit of a following there.
But, Evan also has a role in the latest X-Men movie, playing Quicksilver, so bingo, that’s why he would be appearing at Comic Con – to promote the movie, but also in the process scoop up all the teenage fans of AHS who would gladly pay for a photo op and autograph with their beloved Tate.
So, now that I understood the “who”, the “what” and the “why”, I thought to myself, wow, if I had been able to meet say, Tom Cruise at Comic Con when I was age 14 or 15, I would have wanted to go too. So we got the tickets, and Shannon happily handed over her hard earned money saved up from babysitting to pay for the photo op and autograph.
The day we went to Philadelphia was a typical hot, June summer day – and there was a girl dressed as Captain America waiting for the train with us. The convention center was filled with families, kids, some dressed up, some not, all very friendly and having a great time. Our first order of business was to “redeem” our online purchase for the photo op. The guy working behind the counter took my paper and said: “Oh, wow, Evan Peters. Have you guys seen the new X-men movie? “No not yet”, I reply, “But I’m sure we will!” His eyes got big and round. He leaned forward in his seat. “He is AWESOME. He has the most AWESOME scene in the movie. It’s incredible. You’ve gotta go see it – totally awesome.” “OK,” I reply. Super fan. He hands over our little red card with “Evan Peters” written on it, and we go on our merry way.
“Hey Shan” I laugh, “there is a guy over there dressed as a bowling pin!” This was bound to be a fun day.
We started to roam the floor, looking for the booth with the big “EVAN PETERS” sign and photo above it so we’d know where to go for the autograph signing. But we did even better, because he was already AT THE BOOTH, and when I gestured over to it and said casually, “Oh, there he is..” – Shannon practically fainted – I mean full teenage fan girl completely took over her body like she was possessed. Fighting the urge not to giggle, but I think I did just a little bit… (just give me the horrible mother award) – I said: “Breathe, Shannon, collect yourself. You don’t want to start crying when you meet him. Guys don’t know what to do when you cry.” She composed herself, and since the line was short we seized the opportunity – despite her emotional state – to get the autograph. I hoped that he would be nice, because well, frankly you just never know.
I snagged a photo of her in line with Evan in the backround despite the Comic Con “guards” in front of the booth waving their arms at us yelling: “NO PHOTOS! Move along!” Yeah, well I’m likely not to get this opportunity again any time soon, so just try and stop me. She came out of the line with her signed photo, and was practically hyperventilating. We stopped to get some water, and I asked, “So, what did you say to him?” She responded, “I couldn’t even speak! He asked me if I was having a wonderful day, and I said, YES, I’M HAVING A WONDERFUL DAY! I asked if he was having a wonderful day and he said, ‘Yeah, I am’. And he touched my hand!!!!!” OK, so Comic Con mission part 1 accomplished and it sounded like this Evan guy was OK.
Continuing on with the wonderful day, we made our way over to the line for the Photo Op, across the floor from the autograph booths, (and as we walked along I oogled, look, there is Christopher Lloyd! Ralph Macchio, the Karate Kid! Right THERE!) I took photos. We were directed to the taped lines that said, “Evan Peters.” There was a teenaged girl and her mom in front of us, behind us, well, pretty much everywhere – all brushing their hair. The line moved pretty quickly, and as we approached the front of it, I moved to wait with Shannon’s stuff at the exit to the little curtained area that they were all funneling into. Two girls came out with big smiles. Two more came out fanning themselves. Another girl promptly laid down on the floor and her friend covered her with a pre-made Duct tape “cape” of sorts to take a photo. (See the X-men movie and this will make sense). I just chalked it up to another phenomenon of Comic Con – soaking it up and not really questioning too much.
Shannon came out from the curtain like she was going to pop up through the roof of the building. I thought for a moment she might have actually cried while she was in there, but no, I could then see she had held it together. She asked me for more water, and I tenuously asked her: “Well, was he…nice?” She said, “I hugged him. I think my photo may look like a stalker fan. But I DON’T CARE!” OK. “I told him I loved him, and he said, “I LOVE YOU TOO! Evan Peters told ME THAT HE LOVED ME!”
Well, the day clearly could not get more wonderful than that, so onward we went to eat some lunch while we waited for the photos to come out. A girl dressed as Poison Ivy came over and talked to us and the family sitting at the table with us. We marveled at the line of people waiting to see WWE Monday Night Raw wrestler star John Cena. (Most wearing bright green shirts with his signature phrase: YOU CAN’T SEE ME!) I saw numerous tiny kids with superhero capes on and big smiles, all clearly having a wonderful day themselves. Someone dressed up as a Transformer walked by to get a taco from the Mexican food place. Other AHS fans smiled at Shannon and told her they loved her “Normal People Scare Me” T-shirt. She was thrilled. Though I couldn’t find the guy dressed as a bowling pin from earlier, my day was pretty wonderful too.
As we looked over the photos that other girls took with Evan, (yes, we’re now on a first name basis) – Shannon’s looked pretty tame. Yes, she hugged him, but with fourteen year old happiness. It was cool. She of course immediately texted her friends with her news. The response (with all good girlfriend love I’m sure) – “I HATE YOU”. Followed up by: ‘I HATE YOU SO MUCH.” Hey, their moms could have brought them to Comic Con too.
We now have two framed photos of Evan Peters that I’m sure Shannon will keep for the rest of her life. I have since seen the X-men movie and can concur with the Comic Con guy that it was pretty darn awesome. I am now in the midst of watching the first season of AHS (with my eyes closed half the time), but I am impressed with the acting and the story is compelling. More importantly I can now have informed conversations with Shannon about it and not be the clueless mother. Will there be more Comic Cons in my future? Well, if Evan Peters is there, I assure you the answer is yes. He was nice to my daughter, and in the end that’s all you really need to do to be wonderful in my book. Thanks Evan, for the wonderful day.