GeekOut

A celebrity's take: Comic-Con is all about the fans

Though it may sometimes feel like there are two Comic-Cons, and the fan experience meeting celebrities at conventions can certainly run the gamut, there are also celebs for whom meeting with fans is the biggest reason to attend a Con.

The late Andy Hallett ("Angel") exemplified this spirit, with a smile and a kind word for just about everyone he came across at conventions.

And today, there are fan favorites such as Chris Hardwick ("Nerdist," "The Talking Dead") and Ashley Eckstein ("Star Wars: The Clone Wars") who will tirelessly meet and greet with those who admire their work.

So, it was on the Friday of San Diego Comic-Con 2012 that a similar scene could be witnessed at the Gentle Giant booth, as actor Doug Jones ("Pan's Labyrinth," "Hellboy") wrapped up an autograph session, to be replaced by his friend and frequent collaborator, director Guillermo Del Toro.

It was something to witness as Jones pointed out various fans he recognized in the crowd and waved at them, even "signing" messages to them as they waited patiently for face-to-face time. It's also not unusual for a fan to be enveloped in one of Doug Jones' famous hugs.

Del Toro warmly greeted fans as well, enthusiastic to speak to each one. Del Toro was ubiquitous a this year's convention, not only appearing at panels but conducting signings at booths throughout the show.

Jones understands the importance of conventions like this to the fans.

"People section off their calendar [for it] every year," he said. "They schedule vacation time. They save money. So this is their time off work."

The actor – best known for roles as monsters or aliens, like in the new sci-fi comedy "The Watch" – sees the members of his fanbase as his "favorite folks" at any convention.

"These are the people who bought my house for me, and have fed me all these years. I just owe them all a big thank you."

He described the highlight of his Thursday night at Comic-Con: "I was at a couple of after-parties, and I see a lot of my celebrity friends, and I love them all and we have a great time. But on my way home, I was standing at a tram stop to get on the metro and go back to my hotel. I talked to a couple of fans, with a lot of sunburn on them, carrying big bags. They look exhausted from being excited all day. The talk I had with them was my favorite part of the entire day. It's not us – it's the fans."

As for his friend Del Toro's non-stop meet and greet sessions, Jones said, "Of the people in his strata – his level of fame and accomplishment and craft – he's the most accessible to his fans I've ever known. He's so warm and friendly to each one of them. The number he remembers from year to year is breathtaking. He knows their names and I don't know how. He does care. I really appreciate his hands-on appreciation of the people who put him where he is."