On Friday, at around 6:45am, I was waiting in line to get my badge. For a minute, or rather a “few” minutes, I thought I was in the Hall H line. I was far enough, and waited long enough, to see the platoon of Navy SEALs go back and forth maybe a dozen times, doing their morning run along the dock. Hooyah!
Unlike the Hall H line, we eventually started moving. I had been listening to some tunes on my phone (Fitz & The Tantrums’ “More Than Just Dream” – in case you were wondering) and just zoning out, which was impacted even more by me oversleeping a bit and not having enough time to grab a cup of coffee, so I was a bit oblivious to my surroundings.
I had turned around to open up my back pack to make sure that I had packed my 70-200mm lens, when I noticed a father and son, who seemed so genuinely happy to be there – which was in stark contrast to some of the moody people in line, constantly complaining about how they were going to miss Walking Dead and Game of Thrones in Hall H (which is one reason I put my headphones on in the first place).
I had to find out what was up with these two suspicious people. So I struck up a conversation with Tony and Nathan Kaplan, and did an impromptu interview with them after we picked up our badges. Turns out – this was their first Comic-Con experience!
We were talking earlier in line – this is your first time at Comic-Con right?
Tony: This is my first time – I am EX-CI-TED!
And you are from?
Tony: The Temecula area.
So living in Southern California, I’m sure you’ve heard of Comic-Con.
Tony: I have, I’ve heard about it for years. I’ve always wanted to attend. This is my first time – It’s fantastic…I’m so excited that I got in.
You had mentioned earlier that you were a huge Avengers fan…did you collect The Avengers and Marvel comics in general predominantly when you were younger?
Tony: Yes! I did. Been a long time reader, but I’ve only been seriously collecting The Avengers since early 2000. I started collecting as a hobby. I probably have over 500 and I’ve read every single one of them.
What other titles were you into?
Tony: I have Spawn, the very first one and a lot of the early issues. I have a lot of Spider Man – like when he puts on the black suit for the first time. I have the whole death of Superman series of books, some still in the bag, never opened. I have so many…so many that I don’t remember what I have. I’ve been going through my boxes and every so often, I’ll find one and be amazed that I don’t remember having bought it.
Nathan, how old are you and what are you into?
Nathan: I’m 11 and I’m kinda into gaming…Xbox 360.
Which titles do you like to play?
Nathan: Call of Duty and GTA (Grand Theft Auto).
Oh yeah? Does playing video games get in the way of your homework?
Nathan: No…uh… (Both Tony and Nathan laugh) I guess sometimes.
Tony: I was going to say…“don’t lie!”
So what do you think of Comic-Con so far?
Nathan: It’s cool…I’ve seen a lot of costumes.
Is that what you are looking forward to…the costumes?
Nathan: Yeah, costumes and taking a lot of pictures.
How about you Tony, are you looking forward to anything in particular?
Tony: You know, I’m just in awe of the whole thing. I’m going to take 1000 pictures – if not more. Just take it all in and just enjoy it.
How many days will you be here?
Tony: Just for today, we weren’t sure about multiple days yet. Since this is our first time here, we wanted to experience it, see what it’s like and then hopefully we’ll be able to get in next year and then if it’s something we are looking into, that we enjoy, then we’ll make it multiple days – I’ll have to take my leave days from work (laughs).
Are you into video games as well?
Tony: Not really. I’m an old school video game guy. If I have to read a book to play – I can’t really get into it. I want to be able to use my two thumbs with just a few buttons and that’s it.
What are some common interests that the two of you share?
Tony: I like watching him play the games…like Call of Duty. I’m retired military, so I like looking at him and saying “that’s not real!”
Thank you for your service. Is there anything else that you guys like to do together?
Nathan: We like mythology.
Tony: Thank you. Yeah…we like the mythology kind of thing, we both read the…
Nathan: Percy Jackson.
Tony: Yes…the Percy Jackson books. We look at the comics. We also watch comic book movies like Spider Man and the other ones that come out together and I try to explain to him what’s in or not in the comic. Me, as an older person, I’ve read the comics from the originals, the beginnings – so when I watch the movies I can pick out how they “hollywooded” it up.
If you don’t mind me asking how old are you?
Tony: I’m 48 but I’m still a kid at heart.
Nathan, are you keeping your dad young?
Nathan: Yeah…especially when it comes to video games!
Thanks Tony and Nathan for taking some time out to share your enthusiasm and wanderlust for this – your first experience at Comic-Con!