By Kevin Smith
Updated July 22, 2009 at 05:00 PM EDT

Robert Downey Jr.
Comic-Con 2007: The Con the Iron Man trailer debuted (the July before its May 2008 opening). RDJ was in town, big pimpin’ his Starkness. He and the Iron Man entourage emerged from a freight elevator onto a loading dock at the back of the venue, where I was smoking a cigarette, waiting for a ride. We made brief eye contact, but I’m the guy who never says “hi” to anybody for fear they’ll be like “I hate your stuff.” Proving he’s the bigger man, Downey stepped over, extended his hand, and introduced himself. Class act. We exchanged pleasantries and moved on, but that was always the classiest Con move I’ve ever seen.

Neil Gaiman(author of the Sandman comic series and the novella Coraline, among others)
At last year’s Comic-Con, backstage. I’ve always loved Neil’s writing, so what a delight and relief it was to discover him a sweetheart. He’s now a Tweep on Twitter (@neilhimself).

Joe Quesada & Jimmy Palmiotti
Comic-Con ’95. Then, the rock stars of the comics world, with their Event Comics label, I met Jimmy and Joe at an early Mallrats sneak screening. Afterward, they offered to do artwork for the opening credits, and our friendship began. The boys gave me instant access into a world I’d been interested in even longer than cinema, and years later, they invited me to play in their sandbox.

Alright, this is starting to sound like a gay awakening (which was years later). Lemme dial it back…

Joe and Jimmy asked me to write an arc on Daredevil. That arc was called “Guardian Devil” — later deemed “a modern masterpiece” by respected critic “A. Customer” on This led to me doing a bunch of comics for a while, most of them late, all of them fun to do. Thanks to Joe and Jimmy, I’ve been featured in the pages of Wizard Magazine something like 19,842 times.

Check back later today for Smith’s final two coolest encounters from Comic-Con’s past, including Leslie Mann…