Editor’s note: Our buddy, comics writer and Entertainment Weekly editor Marc Bernardin joins us today to kick off a week of guest blogging. If you aren’t familiar with his work, read on …
by Marc Bernardin
Buenos dias, everyone. In case the name Marc Bernardin doesn’t ring a bell, here’s what my resume looks like. I’m a magazine editor: I work for Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, usually hatching lists like “The 15 Best Impersonations of a Velociraptor By A Movie Star” and “Carol Channing’s Naughtiest Roles.” I’m also a comic book writer: Last year, my writing partner, Adam Freeman, broke our comics cherry with The Highwaymen and Monster Attack Network—both of which are in trades so run, don’t walk! And this week, we’ve got one of Top Cow’s Pilot Season books, Genius, coming out. (About which you’ll hear more later in the week.)
And so the boys at Newsarama asked me if I’d be a guest blogger for a week. (Okay, in truth, I asked them if I could do it, and promised that I’d totally bake them cookies and get them teat-fresh milk to wash ‘em down with.)
So, here I am. And I’m gonna start off the week with a list, because that’s what I do. Without further ado…My Three Best Celebrity Encounters.
1. STEVE GUTTENBERG. I was working as an intern on the writing staffs of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Brooklyn Bridge during the summer of 1992. (Long story short: I won a collegiate writing-for-TV contest sponsored by Gary “Sit, Ubu, Sit” Goldberg, and the prize was a summer in L.A.) I was walking from the production offices of Brooklyn Bridge to the soundstage where they were shooting—a trip that took me clear across the Paramount lot. I round a corner and I see Der Guttenberg heading my way, in conversation with someone. Thinking nothing of it, I just keep walking, but he stops talking to his traveling buddy, swerves over, and greets me like an old war buddy. “Hey, man, great to see you! How’s everything? Good, good. Send my best!”
Now, I’d never met the man. Only ever saw him in a couple of movies. And why he mistook a 20-year-old kid for someone he knew is beyond me. Maybe he was waiting for me to make the cop-siren noise with my mouth.
2. NATHAN FILLION. Every year, during the Sundance Film Festival, EW throws a party. A big party. We’re one of the sponsors, so we have to rep-RE-sent. And on the first Saturday of the festival, it’s the only ticket in town. The third year I went to Utah, in my role as then-editor of the movie reviews, the party was thick to the rafters with celebs of every stripe: Paul Rudd, Kevin Bacon, Gretchen Mol, Nick Cannon, Parker Posey, John Cusack, Winona Ryder, and so on. And those were just the ones I saw. And, because I’m a professional entertainment journalist, I was cool. That’s how we roll when it comes time to press the flesh with the famous. Unflappable.
Until I saw him. Captain Tightpants himself, Nathan Fillion. I’m a big Firefly fan, see. Huge. Not that I bought myself a brown trenchcoat and ran around practicing my Chinese profanity, but I thought Joss Whedon’s aborted Fox show was some heady televisioning. He’s in the corner, dancing his chiseled head off. (Yes, I’ve got a teensy bit of a man-crush on him. Shut up.) My friend and coworker Whitney was talking to Elisabeth Banks’ husband (still unclear on how they got to be buddies, but doesn’t really matter…although I got to meet Elisabeth, who was really sweet), who asked “Hey, have you met Nathan? He’s a good guy, lemme go get him.”
He ambles over and talks with us for a good 10 minutes, the usual actor-journalist-festival conversation: What are you working on, Do you have a film here, Have you seen anything good, When do you fly out, etc. Super-nice guy. I decided to leave him to his booty-shaking reverie, but as we were shaking hands good-bye, I leaned in and said, “Hey, I’m one of the original EW Browncoats. It was really good to meet you.”
And when I said that, his already-friendly face shifted a little, and got, I dunno, sincere. He pulled my hand a little closer and said, “Aw, man. Thanks for that. That really means a lot to me.”
3. NEIL GAIMAN, FRANK MILLER, KYLE BAKER, AND BILL SIENKIEWICZ. For a brief flurry there in the early ’00s, EW was one of the few—if not only—mainstream magazines doing regular, ongoing comics coverage. As the dude who ran the comics coverage, I got invited to some pretty cool shit. DC was having one of their “media mixers,” where they would gather a bunch of their talent, throw them in a room with journalists, and then chum the water with booze. What began as a weird, awkward little pas de many—in which I’d be introduced to people by the DC publicist, they’d say hi, and I’d be shuffled off to meet someone else—ended with me and the four gentlemen I referred to at the top, huddled around a small table, just shooting the bull, talking about comics we loved.
And then I had to go and make it uncool by asking Neil for an autograph on the just-out Sandman: Endless Nights hardcover. Because, while I was a stoic journalist on the outside, that night blew the back of my geek head out.
Okay, enough about me. Tomorrow, I’m talking to the editor-in-chief of Comic Foundry magazine, Tim Leong. We do, it seems, have a bit in common—aside from being dazzling urbanites. Maybe next time, I’ll tell you about the time I called Lucy Lawless a man.