Spent the morning at Wizard World Comic Con before oh, in about a half-hour, heading to take in a little of the City Theatre Backstage Block Party. I didn't stay for any panels, just checked out the cosplayers, vendors and signings going on the David L. Lawrence Convention Center's Ballroom B, with just one person I wanted to talk with today: "Gotham's" Alfred, Sean Pertwee (above).
Having had the distinct pleasure of doing a video interview with James Marsters in the PG Studios Friday (who knew Spike was such a mensch?!), and because I was there as a fan, I wanted to talk to the screen Alfred who to me is closest to my favorite comic book Alfred — the kick-ass butler from Geoff Johns' "Batman: Earth One." It makes so much more sense to me than any other iteration. Plus, Pertwee's father, Jon, was the third Doctor Who. I mean, talk about geek creed!
So, of course, Pertwee was late, almost an hour past his scheduled autograph-signing time. At least that gave me the opportunity to talk with volunteer Rose, a horror fan from Beaver County who was keeping the lines straight for Marsters and Pertwee. A regular at any pop-culture conventions within driving distance, she said the Cleveland con she worked during a winter snowstorm dwarfed the one here in attendance, but this was Pittsburgh's first, and the day was young.
Cheers went up for Jewel Staite and then Adam Baldwin, arriving at their signing booths. Then Marsters came by and stopped to say hi.
When Pertwee did finally arrive, I of course had walked away for a bit, attracted by a nearby display of steampunk jewelry ...
Joe Wos, former head of the ToonSeum, touting his book at Wizard World Saturday.When I returned, Rose brought me to the front of the line — we geeks are kind and no one complained — for a two-minute conversation, and I got to tell Perwee how his Alfred, with his military background and ability to both protect and teach young Bruce Wayne, had brought me back to "Earth One."
"It's kind of like that. We're going that way, aren't we?" he said with a twinkle in his eye.
Then I asked about the upcoming season of Fox's "Gotham," which I called "The Year of the Villains."
"Rise of the Villains," he corrected, but in the nicest way. "I watched the first three last night, that's why I'm late. I should have gone to bed earlier, really, but they are fantastic, phenomenal. There's a real sort of change in the pacing of it, a sense of confidence, and the scale is operatic. They are like stand-alone movies. Peter Roth, the head of Warner Brothers [Television], came on the set, and I've never seen him smile so much. They've really built on episode one and two to a huge episode three ... with the Joker, Jerome, played by Cameron Monaghan. It's a phenomenal episode. It blew me away."
And that final scene of season one, heading downstairs below Wayne Manor?
"It was a thrill," he said.
Then someone came over with a silver Sharpie ("A present from Mitch Pileggi") and the signings got back into full swing. I have to admit, I can't quite make out from my tape what he said before "... with the Joker ..." so that will have to remain a mystery -- for now. "Gotham" returns Monday, Sept. 21.