Fandom and Show Love – The SPN Family at Supernatural Chicago Con

j2 grin

Our weekend at the Chicago Con brought a surreal feeling of coming full circle – in a wonderful way. Chicon was our very first Creation Supernatural con, way back in 2007 (SPN wasn’t even popular enough to warrant its own convention then, so we shared it with a few Buffy and Angel alums). We did the first interviews for our book here, and met one of our favorite people, Richard Speight, here. Back then, we didn’t know if our little book on Supernatural and its amazing fans would ever come to fruition, and we had no idea the circuitous route it would take to finally get published. It seems fitting that Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls was published this month, and here we are back in Chicago once again. It seems even more fitting that Richard is here too, along with two of the photographers who contributed their beautiful photos to the book, Chris Schmelke and Lizz Sisson, and of course quite a few of the actors whose interviews are some of the best parts of Fangasm – Jared, Jensen, Misha, Matt, Richard and Samantha. What we could never have anticipated is that everyone connected with our favorite Show would be so supportive, let alone that they’d all actually read it!

We also had the pleasure of getting to know one of the newer stars of SPN, Osric Chau, whose journey as Kevin has been such a treat to watch. Look for our exclusive interview with Osric coming up soon. The fandom has embraced him as one of us — he’s a fanboy, and a fan of Supernatural. Onstage, he wore a fan-made hoodie complete with fur hood and tail, fanboyed Crowley and Mark Sheppard, and won the hearts of everyone watching. He spent the rest of the con sitting in the audience with the rest of us. Every now and then, he’d hop across the fan/actor boundary and interact with one of the other actors onstage, much to the delight of the fandom. He cosplayed Castiel for the costume contest, and wore the footie pj’s that he had on at karaoke to most of the con, chatting with fans in the hallways and causing a lot of delighted double takes.

Osric bonds with fans
Osric bonds with fans

Fan: Would you kiss Crowley to sell your soul?

Osric: I’d kiss Crowley for a lot less!

Us: Who wouldn’t?

On a more serious note, a fan asked what Osric would sell his soul for –

Osric: For fandom and Show to get along.

See why we love him? Our first SPN book, Fandom At The Crossroads, was all about the reciprocal relationship between fans and producers (actors, writers, directors, producers, etc), which has been fascinating to see as it evolves. Recently, that reciprocity has been fraught with hurt and confusion, which is perhaps an expected part of an evolutionary process, but one that’s been hard to watch. We love the Show and we love fandom, so Osric’s wish actually made us tear up a bit. Tissues, anyone?

Richard Speight proved himself the host with the most by swooping in to ask questions of the actors onstage whenever there was a lull in the question line. His interactions with Julie McNiven quickly descended into R rated territory, as fans and guests alike came up with creative euphemisms for getting it on (and this was with no Sebastian Roche in sight!).

Julie McNiven
Julie McNiven

Favorite tweets:

Richard: So, after Dean parks his car in your garage, what was that like?

Julie: Well, his car is really big, so it’s a tight squeeze…

Fans: lol

Julie: I haven’t really ever fangirled anyone, I haven’t worked with anyone gigantic.

Fans: What about Jared?

Julie: lol

Samantha Smith’s mom was at the con, so Richard kept it PG, but again he saved the day and kept the energy level at the con high whenever things got too quiet. Creation’s decision to have Richard emcee the SPN cons? Brilliant. And just another thing that our cons have that others don’t. Yes, I’m con proud, what can I say?

Favorite tweets:

Samantha: Mary would be so pissed at John. Like, how many times have my sons died?? #onlyonspn

Samantha: I hope they give me that nightgown when the show is over. So I can burn it.

Samantha Smith
Samantha Smith

Friday night Julie, Samantha, and Osric all came to karaoke, which was off the charts fun as always. Samantha’s mom even came onstage to do a song! Richard and Matt Cohen were disturbingly realistic zombies, thanks to a local Chicago theater makeup wizard – the fact that they were a zombie Ackles-garbed gym coach and a zombie crossdressing cheerleader only made it more awesome. Sebastian Roche was his usual delightfully dirty self (and woah, can that man dance…) and Julie and Samantha not only dressed up for the night but took some turns at the mic too. Creation’s head honchos joined in the fun as well, with Adam Malin channeling his inner 70s dude complete with shoulder length wig and Stephanie Dizon belting out Janis Joplin so well it gave us shivers. We love karaoke – no other cons do it the way we do. Because we’re the best! We’re repeating ourselves, but hey, it’s just a fact.

Saturday always finds us (and everyone else, fan and celeb alike) a bit bleary. Luckily Richard and Matt’s panel was so hilarious, we all woke up – it helped that we laughed so hard we cried, which then helped our eyes actually, you know, open. Favorite moments:

Matt’s interpretation of a fan’s question which was a bit hard to understand

Matt: Have I ever thrown Jeffrey Dean Morgan on a table? Yes – and you can ship that!

Fans: Okey dokey

Matt Cohen
Matt Cohen
The Dick and Matt Show
The Dick and Matt Show

Fan who came up to Richard and Matt at karaoke:

Fan to Matt: You get hotter every time I see you.

Same fan to Richard: Oh, hi Richard.

Audience: (shouts) We love you Richard!

It’s true, we do.

The Host with the Most
The Host with the Most

We also do not dispute the fact that Matt is hot. Here’s a gratuitous shot to prove it.

You're welcome
You’re welcome
Awww shucks...
Awww shucks…

We had a lovely interview with Osric over lunch, then the three of us raced back to the ballroom so we could catch Sebastian Roche’s panel. We have no clue where the guy gets all his energy, but he is amazing in his ability to a) never stop moving and b) make the most innocuous statement sound dirty. Here he is showing off a) his ass and b) his happy trail. lol

seb butt

Sebastian's happy trail
Sebastian’s happy trail

The highlight of his panel was the entire audience singing “Get Lucky” while Sebastian danced on chairs and skipped across the stage and generally got us all pumped up and grinning. SPN Family, hell yes!

seb chair

Mark Sheppard and Mark Pellegrino are a good team for their panel, with Mark S’s dry sense of humor amusing Mark P as much as it does the rest of us. They both have genuine fanboy cred too, and have worked in so many genre projects, I think fans could keep asking questions for hours. They’re also funny as hell. (See what I did there? Lol) Favorite moment:

Mark S. told a story about a crazy fan experience in New Zealand, when a fan told him she was so nervous she was trying not to shit herself.

Mark P. (deadpans) Keep trying!

Mark Pellegrino
Mark Pellegrino
Mark Sheppard Looking as Sassy as Crowley
Mark Sheppard Looking as Sassy as Crowley

We also got first time SPN con guest Alaina Huffman, who is drop dead gorgeous and almost as sassy as her character. Favorite tweets:

Alaina: I apologized to Jensen for talking so dirty to him. But it was fun.

Fans: (smirking) For us too.

Alaina’s friend, on seeing her Twitter feed: Who are all these people and why do they love you?

Alaina: Because I’m the Queen Bitch.


Alaina Huffman
Alaina Huffman

She closed her panel with a heartfelt thanks that made us all warm inside.

Alaina: I’ve been around, but I’ve never felt as welcome as I do in the Supernatural family!

Then it was time for the costume contest. At our first SPN con, there were perhaps a dozen people inspired enough to participate. Then a certain trenchcoat wearing angel joined the show, and suddenly the costume contest was very popular. Once again, the stage was filled with Castiels – and of course, the only appropriate judge was Misha Collins. One of the Cas cosplayers really stood out….because it was Osric, doing his fanboy thing right along with the rest of fandom. Misha did the logical thing – swept Osric up and gave him away as first prize.

costume mi oz

costume mi oz prize

costume mi oz 2

Misha’s panel was both entertaining and controversial, much like Misha himself. He set the tone by giving fans permission to “ask me anything” though he did add that he reserved the right not to answer and probably would not be taking off his pants. (There was more than one disappointed sigh at that bit of info).

Misha Collins looks good in leather...
Misha Collins looks good in leather…

He asked how fans were feeling, and if we were upset by the wank that’s swept through fandom after last week’s episode and some producer tweets. Reaction to what Misha said was mixed, both in the convention ballroom and on the internet, but we were impressed that he didn’t shrink away from talking about the elephant in the room, and that he did so with what seemed to be a genuine desire to help. We had a chance to chat with Misha later, and let him know we applauded his attempt. Every time we’ve ever interviewed him, or worked with him on one of our books, we’ve been impressed with how much he cares about not just the show, but the fans. His concern about the hurt feelings and disappointment and anger and confusion on all sides seemed like a breath of fresh air after all the name calling and vitriol flying around last week. We love SPN fandom and we love the Show – it’s what we write books about and are passionate about – so it’s heartbreaking to see anyone hurting.

Misha also talked about the fact that we all read texts differently, whether they’re books, films, paintings, or tv shows, and that everyone watches the show for different reasons. Keeping the text open to interpretation is what allows all of us to read into it what we need to and to take from it what we want – it’s what makes the Show so validating to each of us. Sure, the author of a text (or the writers of a television show) have their own idea in mind when they create it. But we don’t all read it the same way, and that’s okay. When we were writing Fangasm and Fandom At The Crossroads, we talked to Eric Kripke about the multiple interpretations fans had of the little show he’d created – and like any savvy creator, he welcomed them. All of them. He was thrilled that fans wanted to come ‘play in this sandbox.’

The other thing Misha expressed was concern for fans who were upset, and we shared that concern. We hate seeing any of our fellow fans hurting. We’re all passionate about this Show, and with passion comes investment. That brings the potential for some very real pain. That the show is about fictional characters is entirely missing the point — because the pain itself is anything but fictional. There’s no reason to dismiss anyone else’s genuine reactions; we’re all allowed to feel. Misha also spoke sincerely about how much fandom and Random Acts have changed his life, and said that he carried around a letter from a fan about how Supernatural had changed her life as a reminder of its importance. That, right there, is the reciprocal relationship we’ve come to value.

The rest of Misha’s panel was a bit less serious. He came onstage dancing, much to fandom’s glee.

Misha Collins dances onstage
Misha Collins dances onstage

He enlisted the assistance of the fans to send a little recorded bedtime message to his kids…

Fans tell West and Maison not to have too much fun
Fans tell West and Maison not to have too much fun

And he left the stage only after picking up Richard Speight Jr and carrying him across the stage, over Richard’s vehement protests.

Caption this one yourself...
Caption this one yourself…

Also, he looked damn good. Just sayin’

misha cam2

misha 3

misha smile

Sunday, as always, was J2 day. We also were treated to a panel by Nicki Aycox to close out the day. She came out and saw the gigantic ballroom and was clearly surprised.

Nicki: You guys really love this show, huh?

Fans: #understatement

Nicki: One of my favorite parts of working on SPN was the episode where I got to tie the boys up and just go at it.

Fans: #nobrainer

Nicki also kept expressing her heartfelt gratitude at being embraced by the fandom.

Nicki: I’m here because you guys are wonderful and you make me feel good

Fans: Back at ya!

Nicki Aycox
Nicki Aycox

The rest of the day belonged to Jared and Jensen, and the theme of SPN Family continued. Set designer Jerry Wanek’s nephew came to the con, and got up to the mike to ask a question about set design. After the boys answered, Jensen took a moment to praise Jerry, which must have been a wonderful moment for his nephew.

Jensen: When I walk onto Jerry Wanek’s sets, it takes me right to the Supernatural world.

Fans: Us too!

Here are some of our other favorite tweeted moments of the J2 breakfast and panel, from our live tweets @FangasmSPN. Jensen, as always, brought a cup of coffee to the breakfast panel. Two of our favorite things in one photo…

brek ja2

The boys demonstrated how they used to film scenes of Sam and Dean driving in the Impala with crew members with flashlights running by the car to simulate motion. The first time we were on the set, we saw them do that, while another crew member rocked the Impala up and down propped on a 2 x 4 and an apple box to make it look like she was bouncing over an uneven road. It was amazing to see the scene later and realize that it all came together to look so real! Also, bowlegs dayum…

brek drive

brek jp

brek ja

Jensen patted Jared on the back, literally and figuratively, praising his performance as both Zeke and Sam this season.

Fans: Awwwww

A pat on the back. Awww
A pat on the back. Awww

Jared did a hysterical imitation of Sebastian portraying Lucifer, which consisted of Jared sashaying across the stage and posing for us, while Jensen watched and laughed. Actually it was kinda hot, not gonna lie.

j2 jared seb luci

At one point, a fan asked them what superheros they’d be, and somehow after a long discussion that included Jared insisting that whatever superhero Jensen played, he should have to wear tights, and most of fandom agreeing, it was decided (by Jared) that Jensen would be “Tightsman”. Jensen, knowing when he’s outnumbered, just shrugged and went along with it. Hopefully there’s fanart already in the works.

j2 tightsman

j2 tall

Fans were also pitching script ideas. One pitched ‘Sam gets a haircut.’

Jensen: (deadpans) And Dean cuts it.

Jared: (aghast)

Haircut? *gasp*
Haircut? *gasp*

Jensen: I’m still resisting Twitter.

Jared: (open mouthed) But I follow you!

Fan to Jensen: You (Dean) raised Sam, so do you feel sort of like his mother?

Jensen: Oh sure. I’ve had to reprimand him….spank him…

Fans: (silently) Is it hot in here?

j2 jared cam

j2 jen cam3

Clearly, the answer to that question is a resounding YES. *fans self*

Fan to Jared: Is that VFX, with your Zeke eyes?

Jared: (deadpans) No, I’m doing that.

Audience: lol

Fan: What would your Halloween costumes be?

Jared: Jensen would be the gym teacher.

Jensen: (deadpans) That’s just a Tuesday…

j2 aww

j2 grin 2

j2 laugh

j2 look3

They both agreed that there could easily be a two hour gag reel for every season, which fans were totally on board for. In fact, they may even set up a separate camera to film whatever ‘happens’ during Misha’s episode. Poor Misha, we feel bad for him already.

Fan: Jensen, you’re perfect, but…

Jared: (interrupting) Perfect butt?

Jensen: (jumps up and shows off said perfect butt)

"great butt...." lol
“great butt….” lol

Jared: (jumps up and shows his off too)

Fans: Wow, that was a good question…

j2 great but2

Jared told a story about being a little kid and squeezing the leg of his little sister when their parents were trying to take a family portrait. Apparently not much has changed.

Jared demonstrates his leg squeezing propensity…. On Jensen.

Some things never change
Some things never change

Jared and Jensen’s panel ended, as all panels do, with Richard Speight coming onstage to give the time’s up. But this time, another member of the SPN Family joined them too — Osric, who literally leapt into Jared’s arms. Sort of like the spider monkey and the moose. Jensen couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to give Osric a playful whack on the butt, and then the boys just grinned happily at each other, while everyone in the audience did pretty much the same.

j2 oz jump

j2 oz jump2

Jensen gives Osric a whack
Jensen gives Osric a whack
SPN Family
SPN Family

If you read this blog, you know we can’t take notes at the meet and greets anymore and are asked not to share details, which we couldn’t anyway since we invariably don’t remember them. But we do tend to remember our own conversations, so here’s a few tidbits from Jensen’s meet and greet. The meet and greet room had a whiteboard at one end with dry erase markers, which was right behind Jensen’s chair. He came in, glanced in surprise at the whiteboard, then joked that he should start teaching a lesson.

Fans: (looking much more attentive than our students ever do…) Yes please!

Jensen: Forget it, you guys all know a lot more than I do!

It’s that kind of self deprecating sense of humor when he’s interacting with fans that make conversation with Jensen feel so comfortable. Before he came into the room, some fans who had never met him were nervous – once he’d joked around and let everyone know that the respect we give the boys is mutual, most of the anxiety was gone. Or at least lessened!

j2 jen cam

Of course Lynn had to ask about Dean, her favorite fictional character in the history of ever. After watching last week’s episode, Lynn was still worrying about him. Dean, not Jensen. But since she can’t really ask Dean anything…

Lynn: I’m feeling so bad for Dean this season. It’s such a difficult thing to keep a secret from someone you’re very close to, and Dean is having to keep such a big secret from Sam.

Jensen agreed that it’s starting to really take a toll on Dean, who is dying to just sit down and say, look Sam, this is what I did and this is why I had to do it, but he can’t. Jensen compared it to ‘Breaking Bad’ (which I’ve never seen, so I hope I’m getting this right….) and the same frustrating situation of doing something you think is for someone’s own good and yet being unable to explain that to them. He actually spoke quite passionately about how hard it is, with as much empathy for Dean’s situation as Lynn was experiencing. That’s one of the things we love about all the SPN actors – they really care about their characters, just like we do.

Lynn: You had a line of dialogue where Dean talked about ‘getting whiplash’, and it really must seem like that for him.

Jensen agreed, and said that it gets even worse for Dean over the next episodes, as he inevitably gets tangled in a web of lies. And never knowing if he’s talking to Sam or Zeke makes him constantly walking on eggshells. Dean is used to having Sam to relate to, to share with, but he can’t share everything because Zeke could be listening.

Lynn: Is it hard to play?

Jensen: (nodding) It’s challenging. (He paused, then smiled) And exciting.

In fact, Jensen seems excited by Dean’s story arc this season because it is challenging for him to deal with so many changes in the two people he’s closest to, Sam and Cas. Both of them are different (boy, is that ever an understatement!), and Dean has a lot to deal with. It sounds like things are going to get pretty rough for Dean, and it sounds like, as an actor, Jensen is very much up for that challenge. He mentioned in the panel later that the mid season finale episode is going to be particularly challenging for Dean. Jared, Jensen and Misha all seem to be anything but daunted by the acting challenges facing them this season; in fact, they seem to be relishing them.

j2 jen cam2

We weren’t the only ones tripping down memory lane at this con – at the end of the meet and greet, Jensen was also remembering that he’d now been to six years of Chicago cons. A fan asked what was different. How did he feel then, and how does he feel now?

Jensen: That first con, it was overwhelming. We’d been up in Vancouver filming, and had no idea.

And now?

Jensen: Now it’s comfortable. I know so many of you, see so many familiar faces. It’s gone from overwhelming to….

He paused, trying to come up with the right word, then smiled.

Jensen: Inspiring.

Fans: (are smiling right back)

They inspire us, we inspire them. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Check back soon for our interviews with Osric, Richard and Rob Benedict. And you can read our books on Supernatural and the best fandom in the world, the SPNFamily, by clicking the amazon links at the top right of this page!

21 thoughts on “Fandom and Show Love – The SPN Family at Supernatural Chicago Con

  • Omg Omg Omg! This is amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this for all of us… really there are no words to thank you enough… God bless you! You just have me my first bday gift! And i love it!♥

  • Thanks so much for sharing your experiences at the various Supernatural cons. I attended my 1st con in Dallas this year, partly because of the various articles of yours I’ve read. The experience was totally amazing. I already have 2 other Cons booked even though I have limited mobility and funds-but figure @ 67 yrs old it’s time I allowed myself the luxury of becoming part of this wonderful fandom/family. I would love to meet you at a future con, Love your book.

  • Thank you once again for sharing your adventure at the Con!!! This has got to be the next best thing to being there and I look forward to reading every time!!!!

  • I love Jared he’s such a sweetie. And thanks for your con write up and the love you have for show and J2.

  • What a recap! It is so generous of you ladies to share the fun that was Chicago Con. I enjoyed meeting and chatting with both of you as much as I enjoyed the rest of the con. I can’t thank you enough for all you have done to erase the stigma that fandom is akin to insanity. I suppose I have always been a fangirl at heart. Many years ago it was Robby Benson and David Cassidy; now it is Supernatural with all its attractive facets: Two incredibly hot men, the sexiest car on the earth, and a compelling storyline of brotherly love, sacrifice, and fascinating lore. It took a long, long time for something to grab my fangirl heart again, but the cast and crew who create the world of Supernatural has done so. I am so in awe of the devotion you gals have put into this effort and look forward to more of your insights! Many thanks……

  • This was perfect. I knew there would be a large amount of flack and people hurting each other over the third episode. as I believed it could be done no other way, I became a hermit and quit going to the sites. I stayed on my own pages on FB and was careful on Twitter. I had no intention of lowering myself to being attacked.

    The cons seems to have been awesome. Thank you for sharing.

  • Thanks a billion for sharing your little but amazing Jensen Ackles M&G report and Thanks Lynn for the questions you’ve asked to Jensen b/c that’s exactly what i wanted to ask Jensen. Loved the report as always. Thanks once again!

  • Reliable and complete as always. Thank you for the specific info on Jensen’s perspective. It’s hard to hear fans complain about his role when I think it’s meaty and awesome. So to hear that he’s into it, well that helps me quite a bit.

    Osric is too adorable for words. What a blessing both he a Mischa are to the fandom.

  • “Misha also talked about the fact that we all read texts differently, whether they’re books, films, paintings, or tv shows, and that everyone watches the show for different reasons. Keeping the text open to interpretation is what allows all of us to read into it what we need to and to take from it what we want – it’s what makes the Show so validating to each of us.” – that’s exactly what Steve Carlson says about his music and how he tries to make his lyrics “accessible” for everyone!

  • Thank you as always for your lovely con report. This was my first con, so it’s been fun reading and remembering this wonderful weekend. All the actors and actresses were so great, and it was fun getting to see them in person and not just read about them. I’m sad that Creation doesn’t let you share the meet and greet stories anymore (I for one wouldn’t mind you sharing the questions I asked about Dean’s self-esteem). Anywho, it’s always nice to know that somebody it documenting the experience so that more fans can share in the fun.

    • I would love to know more about the question about Dean’s self-esteem. I’ve been dying for them to explore this more fully for years. Parentification of a child is a sad, sad and terribly humanly damaging thing that either gets romanticized or glossed over on this show, IMO.

  • so sweet of you to share all this with us:),and what to say about the boys,i always wanna be a part of atleast one con but can’t,so these details makes me feel that i’m there too seeing jensen and jared,asking questions and looking them doing fun:)thank you fangasm:),misha is now a big star too,leather really suits him and jensen can be a great TIGHTSMAN.:)hahhahahahaaa……,jared always pull his legs but soooooooo cutely:).jensen i must say is a very down to earth person,he always keep it so real and simple with fans(as i saw from your articles)and makes them feel warmth and like the part of the show.i love him for his simplicity and jared on the other hand is very funny and like a kid:),unlike his character sam,love you guys.keep on doing great job in spn:),with best wishes.:)

  • “Dean, her favorite fictional character in the history of ever.” DITTO!

    Oh Lynn, you asked the exact question I have been wondering each episode. What a heartbreaking thing Dean is doing. You can tell it is eating him alive. Gosh.

    That last paragraph made me cry. I just love this family we have become. We are inspiring to them and they inspire us.

  • I would like to know how you get information on the different cons throughout the year and if you really have access to the celebs for autographs and such. i have never attended one, but i would love to go if there is one that includes Supernatural, The Walking Dead, and Sons of Anarchy…do you know if such a con exists? I would so greatly appreciate any information you have !!! thanks! Deborah Russell

  • Thank you for sharing! Esp. The M&G with Jensen and Misha’s comment about the interpretive power of the viewer — exactly! I remember a film class in college that talked about this idea of the viewer collaborating in the process of “creating” the film by providing his/her own interpretation and imagination, just like readers do with a book. I would hate for the SPN writers to fill in all of the possible back story and between-the-lines ideas, as much as I wish I could see it ALL — that’s why I’m so inspired by this show! It engages me by leaving some things unsaid and un-shown!

  • Awww, Jensen is such a humble, down-to-earth and just all around nice guy. He has so much talent, especially acting, I love reading what he has to say.

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