Taken at a fan event in 2014, Todd Jones poses with Nathan Fillion, who plays Captain Malcolm Reynolds in the cult-classic science fiction show "Firefly," and Adam Baldwin who plays Jayne Cobb.

Taken at a fan event in 2014, Todd Jones poses with Nathan Fillion, who plays Captain Malcolm Reynolds in the cult-classic science fiction show "Firefly," and Adam Baldwin who plays Jayne Cobb.

Geeking out with comic con director and former Juneauite Todd Jones

Todd Jones never thought his career would one day involve driving his idol Leonard Nimoy, who is famous for his portrayal of Spock in the original Star Trek series, to and from a comic con in Seattle.

The 43-year-old, who was raised in Juneau and is a 1991 Juneau-Douglas High School grad, met his idol through his position as the Celebrity Operations Director of the Emerald City Comicon. It was Jones’ job to negotiate celebrity guest appearance contracts, coordinate travel and on-site scheduling, create guest-featured programming and ensure all guests were well taken care of during the convention.

Sometimes his duties meant being the one to drive guests to the convention center, like Nimoy, which Jones described as an honor.

“While we didn’t discuss world peace or anything, I will always treasure being able talk to him one-on-one for a few minutes each day,” Jones told the Empire. “The kid from Juneau who grew up on Original Series re-runs, who can still quote Wrath of Khan verbatim start to finish, who has been and always shall be a Trekkie, had the incredible fortune to spend real time with Spock himself. I will never forget that.”

Nimoy passed away in 2015. Jones fondly recalled his memory of Nimoy at the convention and how gracious he was with fans.

“He was such a genuine and caring man, attentive to every fan, and gave so much to the event that I can state that his presence really lifted the show to the next level,” he said.

It’s these moments that make all the hard work in his job worth it, Jones said. He has had the opportunity to meet many creators like Geoff Johns (DC comic writer), Robert Kirkman (author of The Walking Dead), cast members of shows like “Star Trek,” “Firefly,” “Supernatural,” “Arrow,” “Flash,” “Battlestar Galactica” and iconic franchises like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and The Avengers, which he said is a geek dream come true.

But the gratifying part about his job is watching other fans’ dreams come true as they get to meet their idols, Jones said, mentioning the excitement from fans when they get to see famous figures like William Shatner, Stan Lee, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.

Of course, Jones didn’t always have this job, and how he got into it was unexpected. After he graduated college with a pre-law degree in Seattle, Jones spent a few years in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore area as both a criminal and insurance investigator before returning to Seattle, where he fell into a career in real estate.

A comic book reader and a self-described pop culture junkie, Jones frequented a local comic book store enough that he became friends with the owner, Jim Demonakos, who founded Emerald City Comicon and held its first convention in 2003. A few years later, Jones started volunteering to assist putting on the convention.

ECCC started inviting celebrity guests in 2008. Jones was asked to work with actress Julie Benz, who played Darla in the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and assist her with autograph sales and keeping her schedule. Jones and Demonakos discussed after the convention how to improve and grow in the celebrity portion of the convention.

“From there, my current career was born,” Jones said.

The following year he was put in charge of running the ECCC autograph area and became the Celebrity Operations Director. ECCC continued to grow, having as many as 32 celebrity guests in 2015 and 25 in 2016. ReedPOP acquired Emerald City Comicon in January of 2015. They hired Jones as their Global Talent Manager, and he and his wife made the move to Connecticut where ReedPOP is headquartered.

“When Ms. Benz came back to Seattle for ECCC 2015 after I’d been hired by ReedPOP, I took the time to personally thank her for being my origin story,” Jones said.

Now Jones curates all the celebrities for autographing at all of ReedPop’s domestic pop culture shows — Emerald City Comicon, New York Comic Con, C2E2 and Star Trek Missions. He also works with all of ReedPOP’s international pop culture events.

The job does come with its own unique set of challenges, such as trying to get the best possible guests in a highly saturated industry to attend ReedPOP events when over a hundred different comic cons occur annually. With one or two conventions happening every weekend domestically, and well over a hundred each year, trying to secure guests can be competitive. For international conventions, there are also the challenges of working with different shows and within different cultures. Despite these challenges, Jones described his position as the job of lifetime, one he strives to never take for granted.

To anyone looking for the path into the industry, he said there is no set path — people create their own.

“I will say that these shows rely on the people who work on the front lines — the volunteers and contracted staff who give up their weekends and then some to help us to do literally everything — are the real stars,” he said. “People who excel in these positions get noticed, and when the timing is right, you never know what could happen.”

• Contact Clara Miller at 523-2243 or at clara.miller@juneauempire.com.

The leads of the CBS show "Supergirl at C2E2 in 2016 pose on either side of Todd Jones. Melissa Marie Benoist who plays Supergirl is on the right and Chyler Leigh West who plays Alexandra "Alex" Danvers is on the left.

The leads of the CBS show “Supergirl at C2E2 in 2016 pose on either side of Todd Jones. Melissa Marie Benoist who plays Supergirl is on the right and Chyler Leigh West who plays Alexandra “Alex” Danvers is on the left.

The voice cast and director of Warner Brothers' "Justice League," taken at New York Comic Con 2015. Top row, left to right: George Newbern, Kevin Conroy, Todd Jones, Carl Lumbly. Bottom row, left to right: Susan Eisenberg, Andrea Romano, Maria Canals-Barrera, Phil LaMarr.

The voice cast and director of Warner Brothers’ “Justice League,” taken at New York Comic Con 2015. Top row, left to right: George Newbern, Kevin Conroy, Todd Jones, Carl Lumbly. Bottom row, left to right: Susan Eisenberg, Andrea Romano, Maria Canals-Barrera, Phil LaMarr.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 18

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, May 22, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Campaign buttons urging Alaskans to repeal ranked choice voting in Alaska sit on a picnic table at the home of Phil Izon, a backer of the initiative, in Wasilla, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 14. Arguments are scheduled May 28 in a lawsuit challenging the state Division of Election’s decision to certify the initiative for placement on the ballot this year. (Mark Thiessen / AP)
Ranked-choice voting has challenged the status quo. Its popularity will be tested in November

Arguments scheduled Tuesday in Alaska lawsuit involving ballot initiative repealing RCV.

A sperm whale is seen in an undated photo published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (NOAA photo)
Alaska fisherman pleads guilty to federal charges after ordering crew to shoot whale

A Southeast Alaska troll fisherman has agreed to plead guilty to a… Continue reading

Juneau high school seniors Edward Hu of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé (left), Elizabeth Djajalie of Thunder Mountain High School (center) and Kenyon Jordan of Yaaḵoosgé Daakahídi Alternative High School. (Photos of Hu and Jordan by Juneau Empire staff, photo of Djajalie by Victor Djajalie)
Senior Spotlight 2024: Three top students take very different paths to graduation stage

Ceremonies for Juneau’s three high schools take place Sunday.

The entrance road to Bartlett Regional Hospital. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file photo)
Bartlett Regional Hospital looking at eliminating or trimming six ‘non-core’ programs to stabilize finances

Rainforest Recovery Center, autism therapy, crisis stabilization, hospice among programs targeted.

A king salmon. (Ryan Hagerty/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Biden administration advances bid to list Gulf of Alaska king salmon as endangered or threatened

Experts say request could restrict activity affecting river habitats such as road, home construction

Mayor Beth Weldon (left), Deputy Mayor Michelle Bonnet Hale and Juneau Assembly member Paul Kelly discussion proposals for next year’s mill rate during an Assembly Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Assembly members support lower 10.04 mill rate ahead of final vote on next year’s CBJ budget

Initial proposal called for raising current rate of 10.16 mills to 10.32 mills.

Dave Scanlan, general manager of Eaglecrest Ski Area, speaks to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on April 13, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Dave Scanlan forced out as Eaglecrest’s general manager, says decision ‘came as a complete shock to me’

Resort’s leader for past 7 years says board seeking a “more office-process, paper-oriented” manager.

Most Read