So I woke up about 8:30 this morning, but the Spawn didn’t show much sign of life until 10, and it was 10:40 when we walked over to the nearby breakfast place. It was busy (as one might epxect the Saturday of Fathers’ Day weekend to be), but our server was terrific. Interestingly, I don’t think I’ve ever had bad service at IHOP, but even with my high expectations, Crystal went above and beyond. We talked about the comic conventions, and she talked about how her two sons are nuts about comics, and she threw in an impression of her youngest playing Spider-Man that had both the Spawn and me chuckling. A little later, the Spawn said, “Make sure you give her a big tip.” I told her I had already decided to do that, and I praised Crystal to her manager as well. And then it was off to the convention.
We arrived shortly past noon, and after the first few minutes, split up for a while. I stopped by the booths of some folks I’ve met and mentioned in previous years, chatting with Yale Stewart, who does JL8. I suggested to him that he incorporate the B-list character who is possibly my favorite — or at least give him a cameo. Yale paused for a moment, and said “You know, that’s a really good idea.” But he may have just been being nice. We also talked a bit about criticism and how to deal with it; I passed along some advice I received from my writing guru, the late James Baker Hall: Listen with wide open ears. If something goes in one ear and out the other, ignore it. If something goes in and smacks into something that’s already there, it may be worth your attention. Yale seemed to like that as well.
A little later, I swung by Brad McGinty’s booth. Brad is the furry-eared madman behind Glorp Gum, a front for comics that combine elements of Basil Wolverton, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, and pop culture kitsch. I picked up one of his comics and a button, and I think that there are several surf and garage bands that need this guy to do album covers for them.
A little later, a sign at one of the booths caught my attention: “Kentucky Kaiju.” I told Justin Stewart (one of the authors) that I happen to think of myself as a Kentuckian, and he mentioned that the three folks who collaborated on the book (a guide to various monsters said to inhabit assorted oddly named Kentucky towns) are from Lexington, a city that plays a sizable part in my biography. So $15 later, I had a copy autographed by Stewart and Shawn Pryor. As I leafed through the book, I noticed monsters that hail from the hometown of Mrs. M’s best friend and the site of our first apartment when I was in the magazine business.
However, I was especially tickled to see a booth for the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center. This year happens to be Kirby’s centenary, and they had quite a few of his pages on display, and some works available for sale (although not in my price range.) I mentioned to the guys that I had met Kirby in 1971 or 72, when I was five or six years old, at a comics symposium at Vanderbilt U that I attended with my dad. I mentioned that Mr. Kirby had been nice to me, signing a book and posing for a photo with me. The guys asked if I could send them a copy or scan of the photo, so now I have some homework when I return to Mondoville. (As a side note, I also met and was photographed with Stan Lee, which may be the last time that happened for free.)
Meanwhile, the Spawn was having adventures of her own, including a run in with an Aquaman villain:
She also found a Transformers print that she intends to frame and hang in her room. We compared our hauls over beverages from the snack bar, and we also ran into a former coworker of mine, who now works at a different college that isn’t too far from here. It was good to see him, and to hear that he’s doing well.
After that, the Spawn and I made one more trip around the convention floor, where I bought a couple of T-shirts with old EC-style designs on them. They were in my size, and the two shirts cost only slightly more than I’ve paid for a single one in the past, so it was, as they say, such a deal. After that, though, it was time for us to make our exit — we had a movie to catch.
We walked a few blocks to the Studio Movie Grille at Epicentre — one of those highfalutin movie houses that include full service food and drinks, and has wonderfully comfortable seats — and watch Wonder Woman. It was great fun. The critics have been praising it, and I understand why. It was quick-paced, energetic, and fun in a way that the DC movies typically haven’t been lately. Gal Gadot gives a fine performance, and is quite believable in the role. The Spawn and I would both cheerfully recommend it.
From there, it was back to the car and then back to the hotel. Because the Spawn consumed the lion’s share of the popcorn at the movies, I wanted dinner, so we stopped at the burger place across the street from the hotel, where we’ve gone on Saturday night for the past two years as well. I was somewhat surprised when the counterman recognized us — “Haven’t seen you guys in a while!” — but I guess I’m pretty easy to recognize. Or maybe it’s that the Spawn is memorably lovely. In any case, I had a chili cheeseburger and fries, and the Spawn ordered some fries as well, but I wound up polishing those off for her. After that, we strolled back to the hotel, where we called Mrs. M and learned that she has been a whirlwind of domestic activity today, cleaning showers, doing laundry, spackling some scratches the Hound had left in the drywall, and even installing an over-the-range microwave and vent to replace the one that conked out last week. Heck, if I didn’t live there, it would probably be an HGTV Dream Home.
And so here we are, and I’m getting ready to call it a night. I hope your day was a good one — ours was.