Wizard World Chicago: What I Should Have Said to James Marsters

Welcome to the B-Hive, the regular feature written by Blaire Knight-Graves. Something’s got her buzzing in TV-land… Will it be something good, or something bad?


Okay, okay, okay. I know I’m super late on this. I’m really sorry.

But I’m sure you’ll appreciate what I’ve got to say.

On August 10th, 2013 I had the semi-pleasure of going to Wizard World Chicago. I’m personally not a huge con-goer because I’m a bit of a television-recluse: given the opportunity to watch a television show, I will likely pick that over socializing. However, I love meeting other fans of the shows that I love and seeing fandom at its best; there’s something wonderful about seeing joy-filled faces, dedicated costume choices, and shiny objects that I can touch instead of boring my jealousy-infused rage into a computer screen because I’m not actually there. What? Please keep reading, I promise it gets better.

Even though the cosplay, people, and merch were totally rad, my overall experience with Wizard World Chicago was pretty rough. The organization of the event was practically nonexistent and I couldn’t even live-tweet my excitement because there was absolutely zero reception. Top that off with maps that lied about where things were actually located (and some panels being damn near impossible to find even if the map was accurate), I was not a happy camper. Well, except for one thing.


Totally unflattering picture of me aside. LOOK WHO IS TOUCHING MY FACE. It is THE ONE AND ONLY James Marsters. I waited 2.5 hours to meet him, and all 3 minutes of the actual meeting was glorious. Mostly.

My experience waiting to meet the lovely Mr. Marsters was stressful to say the least, but I’m a fangirl who’s loved him since the young age of 12. He played the first character I had ever fallen in love with (ever ever), and I don’t know if the opportunity will ever present itself for me to simply move on from that love. Alas, I know that Spike was ultimately a villain who sought redemption near the end, but the stumbles he took to find it were some of the most damnation-worthy and chilling acts I’ve ever had to grapple with. I’m not here to wax philosophical—about whether or not a villain can ever be redeemed when he sexually assaults the woman he claims to love—rather to proclaim that my little fangirl heart finally met the first crush she can remember.

And what did I say to James Marsters, the man whose face I perused countless www.angelfire.com and www.geocities.com fan sites to encounter, the man whose band’s album I nefariously got a hold of, whose entire acting career I had spent months finding VHS copies of while using my mother’s www.ebay.com account against her knowledge? I said absolutely nothing of worth.

Two and a half hours of waiting, all the while having the opportunity to come up with something witty or classy (or meaningful*)… and I was literally stunned to see him in front of me.

Fortunately, James (can I call him James?) is a pro at working speechless fangirls and while he signed the second season of Buffy—I couldn’t decide whether to have him sign that or season 5 of Angel, because I freakin’ love Angel… I only had money for one, so it might as well have been the season that started it all—anyway, he talked to me about his band that was playing a small concert after the con… a small concert that he invited my roommate, sister, and I to. Sure, it was a little pricy for a band I hadn’t heard since I was 17 (yes, I kept those albums around for 5 years before I had an unfortunate laptop accident that destroyed all of my music files), but why not?


I decided to buy tickets to the concert (literally all of the money I had left for the con) and in exchange for my fangirling James took a picture with me. As you can see above, his face is touching mine. I can die happily now.

I went to the concert and it was a delight. I’ve always really enjoyed the music of Ghost of the Robot, so it was a great experience to see them live. James was very raw on stage as a lead vocalist, very honestly telling the concert-goers what songs were about before each song played, and earnestly stressing that his political songs were not up for debate (he sang one for Trayvon Martin that was particularly raw in all the right ways). He sang of love and heartbreak while his band jammed supporting him, and he even sang one about “the bullshit of television”. Needless to say, I finally bought all three albums when all was said and done, and I even got to talk to the band a little bit.


*By the way, it was only when I was driving away from the concert that I figured out what I needed to say to him: “I had a really sucky childhood and I needed heroes. Even though Spike made some mistakes along the way, I just wanted to thank you for your work as Spike. This sounds really pathetic, but due to my parents violent divorce and my inability to cope the stress that put me through, I didn’t have any friends when I was growing up… but watching Buffy every week didn’t make me feel that way. Your work as Spike, along with the rest of the cast, made me feel like I had someone to rely on. Someone was going to save the world for me. So thank you for all that you did, because my life is better for it.”

I hope to get a second chance to tell this to James one day. One day.

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  1. I like you had a crappy childhood and in my formative teenage years I was lonely and depressed. Until I found Buffy. I too fell in love with Spike and subsequently James. I met him at this con and cried when I told him that he literally saved my life. There had been weeks where I lived to watch Buffy. They were my friends when I had none. He teared up as I spoke and then told me a story that I will leave out because you need to have that experience and I don’t want to ruin it for you if he tells you the same thing. Also, I need to keep that little piece of my encounter for me. But he is my hero, and he is amazing. (I hear he is at Chicago comic con every year… maybe next year is your year) <3

    • Cass, thank you so much for your comment! I would say something similar to any of the Buffy cast given the opportunity. Thank you for sharing your experience :)

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