Comic book fans and science fiction lovers – the two are not mutually exclusive by any means, but in spite of the broad cross-over appeal between the two, it's pretty nifty when a sci-fi title throws up props to comic book history. Meltdown Comics hosted a signing and silent auction for Fox's Fringe on Sunday – a perfectly chilly, drizzly evening, nicely evoking the show's mood – to benefit Autism Speaks, and giving fans a chance to bid on some seriously cool comics-related props from the series Season Two finale.
Series creators J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner, along with beloved series star John Noble – i.e. the best performance on television you're not watching, unless you're as big a Fringe lover as we are (and if you're not, don't admit it!) – stopped by to greet and sign DVDs and posters for the fans. (And in Noble's case, quite a few Lord of the Rings items from some very dedicated Tolkien geeks – all hail Denethor!) Consulting producer (and Oscar winner) Akiva Goldsman also stopped by later in the evening, as did several of the writers for DC's upcoming Tales From the Fringe series of comics. Meanwhile, some truly awesome bits of memorabilia were on display in Meltdown's gallery for guests to peruse, everything from a chunk of “amber” (In the alternate universe, supernatural anomalies are quarantined by preserving the contaminated site – sometimes entire cities – in amber. Yeah, it's bananas…) to the iconic alt-verse currency, featuring Martin Luther King on the $20 bill and a silver dollar with Richard Nixon's mug on it.
The alternate universe at the core of mythology in Fringe is the sort of thing sci-fi fans like to gorge on, like a giant banana split of nerdity: rich with detail, both character-driven and stuffed with cool alternate science and pop-culture winks. The show has been steadily building toward a full reveal of the Alt-verse, as it's become known, the result of a temporal anomaly caused by the experiments of Noble's daft yet brilliant (and tragic) scientist Walter Bishop. Currently in its third season, Fringe has slammed on the gas pedal with both feet and is currently, pound for pound, one of the most fascinating shows on TV, every twist and turn in both universes causing its protagonists to question whether they're really fighting for the best of two worlds or not. (Also, comic book diehards may protest, but the many details and ramifications presented by events being slightly altered in the mirror universe presents just as fascinating a fractured view of history as Alan Moore's alternate 1985 in Watchmen. Debate is ripe for the taking.)
In an apartment in the other universe that has been kept for Joshua Jackson's Peter Bishop, framed vintage comic book covers grace the walls – however, per Fringe's M.O., all of them pay homage to actual legendary covers with slight differences. These sublimely geeky props served as the auction items for the Autism Speaks benefit, and before night's end, five very lucky fans got to go home with such beautifully detailed alt-takes as “Crisis On Infinite Earths” #7 with Supergirl cradling Superman's dead body (not the other way around, as on the real cover), or the reversed-prism adventures of Red Lantern and Red Arrow.