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Sci-Fi and Comic Book Fans at Play in a Parallel Universe

November 25, 2001|James Denning

Every four weeks, the Shrine Auditorium becomes a true shrine, for the Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention. The "con" has run every month for nearly 25 years. In September, about 2,000 fans paid $5 each to meet Syd Mead, design genius behind "Blade Runner's" apocalyptic take on Los Angeles, and the cast of "Black Scorpion," a SciFi Channel series about a buxom cop who moonlights as a superhero vigilante. They also browsed scores of tables laden with reverence-inducing tchotchkes, from rare records to replica swords and toys to trading cards.

Robert Hegyes, Actor, Venice

Tell us about guest-starring on "Black Scorpion."

I did an episode called "Aftershock." I played an evil, insane homeless person called Speedbump.

Do you date sci-fi fans?

What kind of car does she drive?

Who's cooler: Wolverine or Batman?

I'm a friend of Michael Keaton, so I gotta go with Batman.

Is fandom an alternative lifestyle?

I didn't know much about science fiction, but I am positively amazed by all this.

Julie Michaels, Actress and "Black Scorpion" stunt double, Los Angeles

Do you go to the store in costume?

No, but after a con once I had to stop for gas. They didn't charge me.

Do you date non-fans?

I married a fan.

Who's your favorite superhero?

Wonder Woman. She did it all in heels, baby!

Is fandom an alternative lifestyle?

I think it's its own Zip Code, actually.

Dennis Miller, Handyman, Van Nuys

Do you go to the store in costume?

Yeah, but it can be a problem. Kids cry sometimes.

Special interests?

Movies, comics, my own characters. I created Mr. El Ni-o and God II.

Who's cooler: Wolverine or Batman?

Wolverine's cooler. Batman is too serious.

Is fandom an alternative lifestyle?

Definitely. I think the police don't accept people walking around in a mask.

Alan Rutledge, Accountant and comic book seller, Santa Ana

What comics do you sell?

We specialize in the Silver Age, the better-known comics from the 1960s.

Best thing you've bought at a con?

"Amazing Fantasy" No. 15, with the first Spiderman appearance.

Are fans getting better looking?

Yes, despite my efforts to the contrary.

Who's cooler: Wonder Woman or Catwoman?

Catwoman. She embodies the bad-girl syndrome.

Is fandom an alternative lifestyle?

Not to me. It's just a hobby, not a way of life.

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