Jude’s Stocking Stuffers – Super Megafest ’21 and Erika Anderson
Hey y’all. This isn’t a recap post but more a general article type of thing for me to continue gushing about one of the few highlights I had this past year, what with the pandemic still going and having to work and living in a goddamn Cthulhu house and my mom having cancer and iT ALL BEING TOO MUCH TO-
Again I feel the need to mention the last couple of years have been a nightmare for all of us, which doesn’t downplay the specific shit I’ve been dealing with. It’s been nearly a year since my Grandpa died and we’re still handling my mom’s cancer diagnosis and every other problem our old as dirt house keeps throwing at us.
Going back to work at Yankee Stadium was frustrating upon realizing we weren’t required to be vaccinated and learning I had coworkers right next to me who won’t get the COVID vaccine. It took all my willpower to not bust open their heads thinking about how selfish they were being. It’s people like them who’re part of the reason my grandpa’s dead.
But it’s time for the good stuff. One specific good thing which happened to me just recently concerning my writing and someone who means a lot to me inspiration-wise.
I’ve dreamed since middle school of becoming a professional writer, and by now I’ve refined that dream to wanting to write YA horror and superhero stories. For nearly two decades I’ve worked in private refining and redesigning a handful of characters born from a massive crossover fan fic I envisioned in middle school.
Repeatedly I’ve talked about Erika Anderson’s role as Greta Gibson in A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. I’ve extensively argued the movie’s better than fans give it credit for, especially due to the character development and the amount of work Anderson, Lisa Wilcox, Kelly Jo Minter, and the rest of the cast did to get us to like Greta, Alice Johnson, Yvonne Miller, and everyone else in this bizarre, Gothic sequel.
Despite that she barely made it to the halfway point of the movie, Anderson’s Greta is my favorite in the film due to how hard Anderson works at making the character believably compassionate, loving, and frustrated.
She’s a rich model-in-training harangued by her obnoxious stage mother, yet Greta repeatedly demonstrates her love and empathy for her friends is the real deal and not some attempt to piss off Mommy Dearest.
The Greta Gibson character’s best remembered by the Elm Street fandom due to her grotesque death sequence. In fact the censoring of this moment in the film is a big reason why critics lambasted the movie during its release. Freddy Krueger offs Greta Gibson during her mom’s dinner party, force feeding Greta her own organs until she chokes to death in front of her mom and her mom’s smarmy entourage of fashion slimeballs.
What Erika Anderson was able to give us in her limited screen time formed part of the inspiration for a character of my own, currently named Erika “Calyx” Dent.
Originally created years and years ago as a bastard child of a B-List Batman villain, over the years this character of mine evolved and grew until she became a central point of my plans to one day write professionally for DC Comics.
The sources of inspiration for her design were Madoka Ayukawa (Kimagure Orange Road), Rei Hino/Sailor Mars (Sailor Moon), Elisa Maza (Gargoyles), and Anderson’s Greta.
Characters who can infamously run hot or cold depending on who they’re dealing with, compassionate women who don’t take excuses and don’t stand for when someone they care about is badmouthed, yet at the same time will absolutely give you shit if you’re being an ass regardless.
Calyx largely fits in my scheme of trying to fix the damage done to DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes, as well as the Titans and the DCU as a whole after a decade and going of poorly thought out retcons and reboots with no consideration to the long term.
Erika Anderson provided the vocal and later namesake inspiration after I became embarrassed by Calyx’s original first name, and some of Greta Gibson’s elements are present in Calyx’s development. Particularly the aspect of a domineering monster of a mother watching her like a hawk. Since I read about Anderson retiring from film work, and I changed Calyx’s ethnicity to Hopi Indian, I figured changing her name would also work.
Super Megafest 2021 gave me an opportunity to meet Erika Anderson in person alongside several other actors from Dream Child. Unfortunately my budget being what it is I could only really stop to meet and get autographs from Anderson and Lisa Wilcox. It feels too weird for me to simply chat with someone at their table without purchasing anything, whether it’s an actor or comic creator. Well, unless I’m already friends with them and asking if they need something.
Anyway, since Megafest was located in Framingham and that’s a three hour ride from where I live I managed to talk my dad into taking us. I was pretty much strapped for convention cash after NYCC, but this was worth it.
I spoke and chatted with Lisa Wilcox first, getting her to sign my convention sketch of Alice Johnson done by Tim Smith 3.
Then I went to speak with Erika Anderson, having brought with me an uncut VHS copy of Dream Child (Lisa Wilcox if you’re reading this I’m sorry I didn’t mean to snub anyone by not getting you to sign the tape I just didn’t have that much to spend with me; maybe next time), as well as copies of Quake and Object of Obsession, two hard to find 90s thrillers Erika Anderson also starred in. Since I’ve imagined Calyx sounding like her I wanted to find more examples of her acting work. I’ve gone nuts trying to find a watchable copy of Shadows of the Past.
Then I get to talking with Erika Anderson about my Calyx, and…
I’m never gonna be able to figure out where the line is between endearing and creepy. God knows I latch onto certain ideas so hard that when I encounter people online who show a slight interest in the same thing I go overboard discussing them. I’ve already alienated quite a few people on tumblr.
Regardless, and to stop sounding so pathetic, I sought a chance to meet and chat with Erika Anderson in person because I wanted to thank her for having helped inspire an idea that’s so dear and important to me. The stories I wish to tell officially with Calyx in the future are meant to be an expression of love and gratitude to the people I care about. I’ve made so many important friends thanks to comic books, especially because of a shared love of the Legionnaires, that Calyx’s development has been an important factor in how I express that love.
In a way, seeking to thank Erika Anderson meant to me that I’m on the right track if she was flattered by what I’m trying to do. She autographed a printout of Calyx’s design by nanihoo, and I gave her a printout of a minicomic I commissioned from Oifaaa on tumblr just before the convention.
This is as close as I can get to officially published content with the character, but I’m happy I had something to show her.
Speaking with Erika Anderson was a true delight for me, and at the risk of sounding I actually cried a bit from happiness afterwards. I went back later to get her and Lisa Wilcox to sign a copy of my Fangoria Presents magazine discussing Dream Child.
These past two years have been shit, and the future’s looking just as scary and unpleasant with everything going on. I’ve done my share of pissing people off, on and offline, and I constantly feel like I’m backsliding.
But good things have happened, too. I’m working with Blue Corn Comics and have submitted work to Arledge Comics, I’ve collaborated with my friend Michael McAdam, and I got to meet one of the people who inspired a creation I deeply care about.
I’m going to keep talking about this as much as I want, because this meeting was a big deal to me and gave me hope that I’m on the right track for my dreams and goals. I’m hoping I might have other chances in the future (when things are safe enough to allow them) to meet with Erika Anderson again and just, be able to talk and chat and hopefully show a published comic with Calyx in it, but for now I needed this after the bleakness of the last two years.