Steve Bein, writer & philosopher

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Comicpalooza debrief

Probably the best thing that’s going to happen to me this year: I shook hands with Peter Mayhew. That’s right, Chewbacca himself.

There was serious star power in Houston this weekend. I saw Stan Lee, George Takei, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Larry “the Soup Nazi” Thomas. I talked to Barry Bostwick and Nell Campbell, whose names you’ll know well if you were a Rocky Horror Picture Show kid like me. I was in the same room with Rosario Dawson, which is enough to make me swoon.

I met fans too, of course, and signed a few books, and spoke on a couple of panels, and met some great authors that way. I’d known the name Rachael Acks already, mostly because I absolutely love her "Suffering for Charity" movie reviews. It was great to talk geology and feminism with her on two different panels.

It was during an autographing session that I had one of those chance meetings that make a con like this a truly special event. There I am, sitting next to Jonathan Maberry, a Seriously Big Deal in the world of comics, science fiction, and horror. He sees I’m in a cast and asks me how I hurt myself.

“Jujutsu,” I say.

“Oh, what style?” he asks.


“Oh, cool. I did Shinowara-ryu jujutsu for fifty-one years.”


Look, I’ve been in martial arts for twenty-two years. Every now and then I meet someone who’s been training longer than I have, but I almost never meet someone who’s been in it more than twice as long as I have. Much less someone who also nerds out on comics and sci fi stuff. Much less someone who’s kicking more ass with his pen than he is with his sword.

The two martial artists take their fighting stances.

The two martial artists take their fighting stances.

So Jonathan Maberry and I spent an hour on Saturday afternoon talking about martial arts and the writing biz. It was the best hour I’ve spent at one of these things. I ran into him again on Sunday, and he told me Daughter of the Sword would be his in-flight reading on the way home. How cool is that?

Jonathan, please don’t be offended if I say it’s almost as cool as shaking hands with Peter Mayhew. The only reason he outranks you is that Chewbacca outranks everyone in everything.