James Marsters said he doesn't get around much. Oh sure, he's been all over the world and recently returned from a European tour with his band, Ghost of the Robot, but he usually judges a city from the comfort of his hotel room.
"I love Pittsburgh. The bed is great!" said the actor best known as Spike on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
Mr. Marsters arrived Thursday in preparation to take his place as a celebrity panelist at Pittsburgh's first Wizard World Comic Con, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center through Sunday (Details: http://www.wizardworld.com/programming-pittsburgh.html.)
He did a little sight-seeing, though, crossing the bridge from Downtown to the North Shore to visit the PG Studios and talk about his rise to pop-culture fame from "Northern Exposure" to "Buffy" and the "Angel" spinoff to TV bad guys such as Brainiac on "Smallville" and Victor Hesse on "Hawaii Five-0."
It's good to be bad onscreen, and not just because the villains often have the best lines.
The heroes get to do all the heavy lifting and the running around, he said. As a villain, "You can just stand there and lurk."
The 53-year-old actor and musician also has written a "Buffy" graphic novel, "Spike: Into the Light," for Dark Horse, and has narrated "The Dresden Files" audiobooks, among others.
A Trekkie from way back -- he attended a mid-1970s convention in a homemade Spock uniform, pointy ears and all -- he can appreciate the fandom he has witnessed at convention centers worldwide. "Star Trek's" Captain Kirk, William Shatner, will join him among the celebrities here in Pittsburgh, but he gets to geek out these days when he meets fans from other walks of life, from NASA's Mars Rover project to the NSA.
He can talk to other actors any time, he said. “At the conventions, the most interesting people are the fans."
Mr. Marsters shared much more for a video at the PG Studios Friday afternoon, before going to the convention center for the first time. He will hold a Wizard World solo panel from 2 to 2:45 p.m. Saturday in the convention center's Ballroom B.
Sharon Eberson: firstname.lastname@example.org and 412-263-1960. Twitter: @SEberson_pg.