Comic-Con 2019 is a wrap, and it’s going down as one of the most memorable ones ever for the Deligiannis clan.
A few weeks ago, Nickelodeon asked my family to be part of something they’re making that will air on the network later this Fall. It was an exciting proposition, and they were kind enough to provide some coverage at our booth, which meant I didn’t have to worry about working every day, and we were able to go out and enjoy the show together as a family. This was also my son’s first SDCC, marking the first time all six of us were there, so it was great to have that opportunity. We took in a couple of panels and made Krabby Patties at the Krusty Krab. The kids got to meet the cast of SpongeBob Squarepants, and my oldest, Sophia, got her first comic book autographs - Kevin Eastman, Ciro Nieli, Andy Suriano and Ant Ward (the latter two also known as daddy’s bosses). Oh, and we dressed up in costumes - twice! All of this happened while cameras and boom mics followed us around inside and outside the convention. The whole experience was different and pretty exciting, so I’ll probably post more in-depth about it when the time is right.
Aside from the filming schedule we laid out with Nickelodeon, our family only had one major goal for SDCC 2019: to meet DJ Lance Rock.
All my kids have been diehard Yo Gabba Gabba fans virtually since birth; we still watch it regularly and the soundtracks remain on rotation whenever the kids are in the car (and sometimes even when they aren’t). We’d briefly met him a couple of times before at Comic-Con 2012, back when our oldest was our only, and barely a year old. But this year with the whole gang in attendance, it was our main mission to track him down.
I walked in to the convention hall on Wednesday afternoon to set up the booth, and my good friend The Gute was already there. “Hey, mate,” he says. “Guess who just came by here.” The Gute has two kids of his own and he had much the same goal this year, so he was feeling pretty good when he told me that DJ Lance had just passed by; he was at our booth and I missed him by literally mere seconds! I asked which way he went, and ran off in that direction. It didn’t take long to spot the orange hat and tracksuit, casually browsing a selection of t-shirts. What went down from there is the stuff of Comic-Con legend.
I apologized for interrupting (I hate being that guy) and asked if I could take a photo to send to my kids. We chatted for a minute and I told him we were set up at the nearby booth where he’d just met The Gute. He said he’d come by later to meet the kids, and then he asked me their names. He took a moment to memorize them, looking down and repeating them silently to himself. Then he looked up and said, “okay,” and launched into the full DJ Lance persona we know and love. He recorded a video saying hello to each one of my children by name, and telling them to, yes, stay awesome. I sent it to my wife and kids, and they all absolutely flipped. Comic-Con hadn’t even started yet, and the mission was pretty much accomplished. Even if we couldn’t see him again during the show, we were good.
But we did see him again during the show. A lot.
If I had to guess, I’d say that DJ Lance probably gets stopped every ten feet by overzealous parents just like me, so I didn’t expect him to actually come by to meet my children. But there I am later that afternoon, in the middle of a sale to a customer, when I hear some commotion behind me. I turn around to see what’s happening, and DJ Lance Rock from Yo Gabba Gabba is in our booth, on the floor, giving high fives to six ecstatic little ones (if you’ve ever visited us, you know our joint is like a daycare). He’s talking to each one of them on their level and entertaining them all like a modern day Mister Rogers. It was unreal. And this scenario played out numerous times throughout the week. I would turn around and random times, and there’d be DJ Lance, popping by for a quick “hello, friends” and greeting everyone by name. He even brought his new friend Cecil over to visit a couple of times. I feel okay saying that by the end of the convention, our kids pretty much became BFF’s with DJ Lance Rock.
I did this drawing at the booth on Sunday to say thanks to DJ Lance for being so kind, and helping to make an already incredible Comic-Con 2019 even more special. It was, in a word, awesome.