Poater for Mid-Ohio Con, 25th November, 2007  
25th November, 2007
Battelle Hall,
Greater Columbus Convention Center,
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.

  Fan Sapien Katie, after corresponding with Doug for three years, finally got the chance to meet him at Mid-Ohio Con. Thanks to Katie for her wonderful report and pictures!!

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image

First off, I apologize if this is long. I also kinda added and abridged several things from my original report elsewhere, but it's still the same story.

Second, I want to take the time to thank my beloved, wonderful mother for putting up with me and taking me to the convention. If she hadn't gone with me, I probably would have been a sickly mess for most of the weekend, as I do not travel very well, especially when you consider this was the first time in 7 years that I've flown on an airplane. She's quite possibly the most loving human being on the entire face of the Earth and I will always thank her for taking me to this.

Now then....

Sunday morning started off fairly normal. If Shadow Cat thought she had butterflies in her stomach when she first met Dougie, then I had them about 10x worse. It didn't help that I still had left over remnants from my horrible nausea attack the night before, but mom once again came to my aid and made sure I was taken care of. After meeting up with a now-decostumed Kusanivy (though her friend was still in her Kroenen costume), we headed inside to see if Doug was there in his booth at all.

Eventually a line began to form and luckily we were near the front of it. Much to my horror, I realized they only took cash only for photos and autographs, but I didn't know what I was in for later on that day that would be much more valuble than an autograph on a glossy piece of  paper. We kinda waited in line and Kusanivy was trying to change a Bumblebee figure she had gotten a while before to much frustration. I just kinda waited and waited until we got close.

Then, my turn came up.

Now, moments before I figured it would be a good time to switch my con badge around to the other side, which had a beautiful badge done for me by my friend - and fellow Hellboy fan - Diane with two of my original characters. She'd written my net handle in a way that could be kind of hard to decipher if you don't look at it closely. So I then reversed my badge and hoped he'd see the name that was smushed off to the side of two fairly happy looking characters.

The first words out of my mouth: "Hi, I'm so sorry I don't have anything for you to sign …" He then was like "Oh not a problem, how are you …"

He literally paused in mid-sentence.

Doug then proceeded to shoot up and out of his chair, had his arms outstretched towards me and then gave me a huge hug after finally realizing what name was written on my custom badge.

I then proceeded to cry a little (although I didn't feel any tears, oddly enough) and he held me for about 1 minute. At least, it felt like a minute.

He was so sweet to me. He told me how happy he was to see me and just ... it was wonderful. He then hugged me a second time and asked me how my trip to Columbus was. He also was fairly surprised at the fact I flew there, among other things. I got hugged even more and even got a kiss on the cheek as well.

Seriously though, it's really hard to describe the whole situation in words/details, since it all happened so fast and so many things were said. It was one of those things that really should have been seen to be believed, I think.

After the realization that I was holding up the line, I let Kusanivy have her turn, since she was set to leave around 4 that afternoon. She showed Dougie the mask for her Abe costume and they generally chatted for a few minutes, giving Doug a fleece blanket with dolphins. I'd better let her describe her experience, so I'll just kinda stop here in that regard out of courtesy.

Anyhow, we left the con hall and were pretty much riding high on excitment. Since that was pretty much the reason why we all went there, we really didn't have much else to do. Kusanivy attempted to get us to play the BPRD/Hellboy HorrorClix, but that ... didn't turn out so well. We then decided to just pack up the game and go back and see if the line for Dougie's booth was any shorter.

... It wasn't, so we 'did laps' around the convention hall. Kusanivy's friend had gotten a headache and ended up sleeping out in the foyer for most of the rest of the morning. I decided to let Kusanivy talk to Doug for most of the morning, as she was leaving that afternoon and figured she needed to get the most out of her trip. I'll admit, it was kind of frustrating for me to watch, as whenever she had the opportunity to talk to him, he was distracted by trying to sign things or more people suddenly showed up out of nowhere.

All good things have to end eventually, and Kusanivy and her friend had to leave by 4. I decided to head back up to my hotel room to drop off my bag and let them have their chance to say 'good-bye' to Doug. After saying farewell to them and taking a moment to rest, I decided to head back downstairs, as Doug had mentioned something to me earlier about meeting  with him in the lobby after the convention was over, though at the time I couldn't hear exactly what he said about that, so I figured I'd see if he'd be in the lobby afterwards.

While I was watching something at Barry Kitson's booth (Kitson being the artist for the Marvel comic 'The Order'), as it was right next to his on the right side, Alberto -one of the guys at Doug's booth - came up to me - as Kitson's booth was literally next to Doug's booth - and said  in a fairly heavy Mexican accent: "When you're done with what it is you're doing, Doug would like to speak to you." Now bear in mind that's a rough paraphrase, but I was like 'Oh, okay!' and I went over to see what it was that Dougie wanted.

He stopped signing some stuff for a moment and asked me if I was alone now, as Kusanivy had left about 2 hours ago. I told him that I wasn't, as my dear mom was upstairs in our hotel room working. He then asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner with him and his friends (Derek, Alberto and two other people whose relations to Derek I've now forgotten. Sorry guys!) later that night. Realizing this, I attempted to call my mother, but after trying 9 times I got no answer. Since it was about 5-7 minutes to con closing, I told Doug that I would be right back. He then told me that if I couldn't make it back in time, he'd call my hotel room.

With literally whatever adrenaline I had, I made a mad dash for the elevator and the 6th floor. Turns out my mom had her phone on vibrate, but said I could go with Doug and his friends for dinner anyways. After thanking her profusely, I dashed back downstairs and made it to Battelle Hall just in the nick of time. It was 5:00, but somehow I managed to sneak back in and made my way to Doug's booth. He then let me hang with him until they all left, afterwards they let me sit in and watch a couple of interviews he was doing with people.

The first one was for a site called FearNet. It was basically stuff that I - and other fans of his - knew already about Hellboy II. I did learn that he's going to be in bit parts in two upcoming films as 'himself', meaning, no make up. This was also the first time I've heard about a possible Actor's Strike in the summer, and he has about 4 projects lined up that he has to pick which one to do before said actor's strike. Then there was another one that was okay, I guess, but it took forever.

So after the interviews were done, we all decided to head back to our hotel rooms. Derek was going to find a restaurant for the group to go to, and Doug had to drop off the armfuls of stuff he had gotten from people during the day. Me being me and attempting to make myself useful  - since up until then I just followed him like a lost puppy - for once, I helped carry some of the stuff upstairs and figured I'd go back down to my floor after dropping the stuff off.

Unfortunately, this is where things got a little sticky.

Somehow, Doug had a bad key to his room and was essentially locked out. With the stuff still in our arms, we went all the way back down to the lobby - he was on the 20th floor, mind you, which was the very top floor of the hotel - and he told them about being locked out. Sadly, they couldn't give him a new key as his ID and stuff were still in his room. Ack! We were told to go back upstairs and wait for someone to come and open the door. We knew this would take a while - though luckily the place wasn't a total zoo like it was the night before - so we got comfortable and waited for someone to come and open the door.

Poor Dougie was so tired and if it wasn't apparent before, it sure was now. While waiting, he told me that he'd forgotten to tell people that the boots he was wearing that day were the same ones he wore as Abe Sapien during the filming of Hellboy II. He pointed out some scuff marks on the front and told me that they came from a scene in the Troll Market where Abe is chasing someone/thing and ends up falling down, essentially. He showed me the exact pose too, which was cool. Not long after, he regained access to his room and after I dropped off the stuff, I waited outside for him.

We all then went to dinner at a nice Italian bistro-type place. Dinner itself was fairly nice, there was lots of talking (although I will gleefully plead the fifth if someone asks me what my religion is from now on and I'll leave it at that) and that sort of thing. When Dougie got his salad, he proceeded to put at least half of it on my empty bread plate, saying cheerfully that 'a growing girl needs to eat her greens'. Normally I'm not one to eat salad, but this was actually pretty good. Main plates came and we all pretty much stuffed ourselves, myself to the point where I felt pretty ill. Bear in mind I still felt kind of nauseous from that morning, but travel sickness is common in some parts of my family, but I didn't want to say anything out of not wanting to worry Doug or anyone else at the table.

However, I then saw the waiter come out with a three-part tower of desserts with candles on them. He set it in front of me and everyone at the table proceeded to sing 'Happy Birthday' to me. Golly, I almost cried. Derek then revealed that he was the one who told the waiter it was my birthday. D'aaaaaaawwww!! I ate the Creme Brulee while everyone else ate the other two dishes. Doug stopped for a moment and pulled out one of the candles from his mouth, having accidentally inhaled it. Poor guy must have been really tired, even though the moment was quite funny.

So we headed back to the hotel in the chilly rain and said our goodbyes to Derek and his company for the night.

Doug and I got into the elevator after everyone else, and he decided to get out on the 6th floor with me. As I stepped out into the hall, I remembered one last thing I wanted to do. I invited him to come down to my hotel room and I introduced him to my mother. It was a really nice  meeting and after that, I got one final Dougie hug and we said good-bye with the hope that we will meet again someday soon ... and hopefully not that far away from Nebraska too.

I went to sleep feeling extraordinarily happy and equally blessed to have met such a wonderful, loving, caring and genuinely nice man. I think, that after 3 years of correspondence, our 'relationship' has evolved from 'Oh yay, he played my favorite character!' to something on par with a friendship, although I hesitate to call it such: I don't know for  sure if he considers me a friend or not. Regardless, that entire day is something I will cherish in my heart for the rest of my life, for as long as I live.

The next morning ... I woke up feeling like I was going to throw up the entire trip home! How's THAT for a birthday surprise?

But then I got better. And I got home.

Thanks to everyone this weekend: Kusanivy, my mother, Derek and his group and Dougie: I love all of you and thank you so much for making my entire year!!! You seriously don't know how much I've wanted a good time like this!!!

All the best!

Katie / Elegance Liberty,
27th November, 2007

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