By John King Tarpinian: I will never stop feeling the love people give to Ray Bradbury at such events. I’ve said it before but again having people of all ages stopping in their tracks and going wide-eyed or misty-eyed when they see Ray never ceases to amaze and delight me. Fathers telling their sons about the first time they read “The Veldt.” People just shouting out “I Love You Ray.” One young woman was visibly shaking and crying, tears of sheer joy, when she was brought before Ray to sign her well read tattered book. Many of us welled up for her joy.
When Ray was with Jerry Robinson there was a young woman who walked by wearing a spot-on Harley Quinn costume made of body hugging spandex and latex. Being the helpful person that I am I went up to her to say that the man with the beard is the creator of her boyfriend. I got a blank stare (something I usually deserve). I went on to tell her that he created, The Joker. A light bulb never went on for her…the poor dear. I can only say I tried.
Ray’s favorite part of Comic Con is the Old School stuff, the only booths that have been around for the 41 years of the Con, the comic books and the Artist’s Alley, which is where he spent most of his time on the floor. Many old friends of his were there, Stan Freberg, Jerry Robinson and William Stout, among others.
At just a few weeks shy of 90, Ray still can fill a 2,000 seat theater…being a living legend helps. Ray received the obligatory standing ovation when he went on stage. He gave a lovely speech that he has had many years to perfect with Sam Weller filling in minutiae. The Q&A proved that Ray still has a quip or two left. At the end of his talk he received a very spontaneous concert of Happy Birthday from the crowd.
After the lecture Ray and Sam signed for about an hour. Before he left for a well deserved dinner and long ride back home he made one final tour of the Artist’s Alley to say good-bye to his old friends.
Photo captions: (1) Ray with Jerry Robinson, noted Batman illustrator and creator of The Joker; (2) On Stage: Arnold Kunert, Sam Weller and Ray; (3) Frank Ley and Bill Stout: The producer/director of the just released DVD, Ray Bradbury’s Chrysalis and noted dinosaur artist William Stout; (4) Big Screen: What people at the back of the hall enjoyed. (5) Signing: Sylvia Mancini, Sam Weller, Ray, Patrick Heffernan (manager of Mysterious Galaxy). Photos by John King Tarpinian.