One keg of Triple Crown. Three bottles of Jameson. Two bottles of Rum. Twenty-Eight pints of Guinness. Twelve double rum and cokes.

For my six friends and I that was just the first 24 hours of Wizard World.

And while I managed to stop “celebrating” a few days ago, my sponsor’s shindig is still going. If you’re quick you can jump over to Dynamic Forces’ website as they celebrate a successful convention with this Daily Special:

* Darkchylde: Redemption #1/2 Wizard Special Red Foil Cover
* Tales of the Witchblade #1/2 Wizard Special Gold Foil Cover
* Ultimate X-Men #1/2 Wizard Special
* Ultimate Spider-Man #1/2 Wizard Special
* Fathom #1/2 Wizard Special
* Divine Right #1/2 Wizard Special

All of these books in one set for just $19.93… but be quick!


Thursday
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Rewind to Thursday. I received three calls at work between 2 PM and 5 PM from Matt and Dan who were at the airport four hours before takeoff. They were drunk when they made call one.

Four of my boys (Jamie, Brian, Erik and Chedy) drove out from Syracuse, NY. They made it to my apartment safely around 7 PM. An hour later I had to pick up Matt and Dan from the airport. I took Jamie and his brother Brian with me in case there was.. trouble. When we found Matt and Dan they were destroyed. Matt literally fell on me. Dan headbutted me. And for some reason they were accompanied by an equally intoxicated woman who obviously had a stroke. Half of her just didn’t move well.

Matt and Dan apparently befriended this woman at the bar in North Carolina before the flight left for Chicago. When they arrived all three had been drinking for over 5 hours. It was insane. Matt would not stop yelling obscenities and Dan was obsessed with helping Stroke Lady with her bag, even though he could barely stand. Mothers and their children fled in horror at the sight and sound of them.

On the long walk to the car Matt had an incoherent conversation with two old people on the escalator. He may have mentioned something about monkeys. And there was something about Stroke Lady having an open relationship with her husband.

On the drive to the bar, Matt and Dan kept screaming at me that something needed to be done by “Fucking Noon”. Jamie and Brian had to hold them back so they didn’t headlock me while I was driving.

When we got to the bar we met up with the rest of our friends and my girlfriend, Nicole. Matt tried to uproot the bar’s outside fence and Dan kept jumping over it. A half hour later I drove them back to the apartment where I was repeatedly insulted for my taste in movies, particularly Whale Rider. It was then that I realized that my friends are more retarded than Jess Lemon.

Friday
We checked into the Hyatt at “Fucking Noon” and immediately proceeded to drink the Triple Crown for two hours before hitting the convention. Jameson and rum was placed in flasks to keep our buzz going on the Con floor. We wandered around, drunk and aimless for an hour, and got separated. At 3:30 I went to the Superman panel with my friend Jamie. I had every intention of taking notes and doing the reporter thing, but as soon as Brian Azzarello was introduced and drunken Jamie started yelling “AZZARELLLOOOO!!!” at the top of his manly lungs, I knew the effort was useless. I took a hit from the flask. It was the only panel I would attend.

We left early after some ass clown asked Mark Waid if he planned to write about Clark Kent before he became Superman in Birthright. We went to the room and drank. Dan threw a glass off the balcony. It didn’t break. Dan was mesmerized.

Hours later we resurfaced in the Hyatt sports bar, Knuckles. I met Rich Johnston and he was very friendly, but he looks like a damn hippy. In fact I’m pretty confident he could pull off some bell bottom pants and an Indian-bead headband. But despite his Boehemian appearance we managed to get past that little fight we had on Millarworld a month or so ago. Rich didn’t hold a grudge and neither did I. While talking to him he told me about a run-in with Paul Jenkins who accused him of writing something about some other dude like 3 years ago. Rich claimed he knew nothing about this. Read this week’s Lying In the Gutters if it’s up. He’ll probably explain what happened. I also learned that Rich is allergic to something in beer. Why Rich revealed his kryptonite to me I don’t know. But the knowledge that I can kill him with a pint of Pabst Blue Ribbon is pretty cool.

In any case, Rich seemed like a nice guy. Much more easy going than I imagined. I bought him a drink (not beer). I don’t know what that damn hippy ordered.

Also got to meet new Youngblood: Genesis writer and fellow SBC columnist Brandon Thomas. I talk to that dude all the time online, but I was unprepared by just how damn smooth he is in person. He’s like Billy Dee Williams doing a Colt 45 commercial. And you should hear his cell phone message. Me? I’m not that smooth. I think I scared some Wizard magazine interns by saying they looked like babies and knew nothing about anything.

Oh, here’s a quick aside: I once interviewed for Wizard. Fun place. Nice people. I brought in 3 pages of notes on how to improve Toyfare magazine and they furiously copied down every suggestion I made. They ended up not hiring me because I didn’t do well on a pop copyediting test (I didn’t expect it and they gave me very little time). I was told that if I had done better I would have been offered a position. But truthfully, I would have turned them down anyway. The job paid squat and the cost of living in Congers, NY is expensive. Any time an interviewer tells me that most staff members need to live with 4 or 5 roommates in order to make ends meet, there’s gonna be a fucking problem. I gots to get paid! So I ended up taking a job in Chicago with a more prestigious title and twice as much cash. And they let me take the copyediting test at home. I aced that shit. So what if my girlfriend helped.

Anyway, as I was saying, B is a hell of nice guy and I enjoyed hanging out with him. But man, I was drunk. I know I volunteered to kick someone’s ass for him. He declined my ass-kicking offer but accepted a Guinness, albeit with some hesitation. Apparently B doesn’t drink. Unable to comprehend this I said, “fuck that, bitch” and handed him a pint. It was funny watching him force the cup to his lips. I don’t think he even finished it. Hopefully we’ll hang out again soon and I’ll buy him a Sprite or some milk in a sippy cup. (Just playin’ B. You know you’re my dawg)

Brandon was going to introduce me to Millar and I was hoping to work up the American/British (and other Euro states) drink-off, but I got sidetracked once we met up with Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets).

The boys and I had a great time with Brian who has graciously tolerated our drunken bullshit for three years straight now. He’s a cool guy. After talking to him I have no doubt that he is going to rock Superman. I remember an interview with Steve Seagle where he said he was going to put the “super” back in the title. Unless you count that annoying new superho as the added “S” power I’d say he’s failed. Brian will do it right. He’s gonna give you the Superman you want. Mark my words. I may ask him to do an interview over some beers if he isn’t sick of me. We’ll see.

I should also mention that Brian’s wife Jill Thompson is outstanding. Aside from being extremely kind, she let Brian come out and play which made us very happy.

After talking to Azz, things start to blur. I know that around 1:30 or 2:00 PM I went to the room, ordered pizza and passed out, only to be awoken by some cranky lady at the front desk who told me the pizza was at the hotel. I stumbled downstairs and paid for the pie. A few minutes later I was eating the pizza in bed and I think I passed out with crust in my mouth.

Meanwhile Matt and Dan got to hang out with John Cassaday and Mark Millar somewhere in the hotel. Apparently those bitches think they can drink. I’m told Cassaday and Millar did shots together at like 9 AM every morning. Matt tells me there were lots of whispered conversations between Millar and Cassaday Friday night. They are definitely working on something together. Probably one of Millar’s creator-owned deals.

Saturday
The boys and I woke up at 10:00 AM on Saturday and Matt and Dan immediately started drinking. I couldn’t see Matt’s eyes until after the first pint. He seemed better once he got it down. His eyes opened. It was on. We ate lunch at the convention diner and the food sucked. I don’t know how a restaurant can fuck up a burger and mac and cheese, but somehow it was accomplished. We went on the convention floor and I hunted down Mark Waid’s old Captain America issues. Always wanted to read them.

Saturday was the worst. It was so crowded I had to walk the floor like I just had a stroke. We soon got bored with the crowds and puffy Captain America people. And why the hell wasn’t that Miller Lite Vampirella chick at the Con?

Headed back to the hotel to finish off the keg and kicked it fast. Hard stuff was gone too. Ordered pizza. Ate pizza. Threw pieces of unwanted pizza off balcony like children. I think Matt and Dan started knocking on people’s doors and running away.

Back to bar. Drank beer. Very retarded.

Boys left to try and get tickets for the Wizard Party from our “contact”. They also went to check and see if we won some toy called Keldor. It’s an exclusive figure at the con. You go to a counter and get a ticket and later in the day the winning numbers are announced. But get this, you don’t actually win the thing. You win a chance to purchase Keldor for $20. What the fuck?!?!?

For those of you who don’t know, Keldor is He-Man’s arch nemesis Skeletor before his face melted off and he turned into Ghost Rider. The figure comes with three interchangeable heads. Of course we didn’t win.. oh, I mean we weren’t lucky enough to have the opportunity to buy a toy for 20 FUCKING DOLLARS!!

Dan and I stayed behind while the boys tooled around. When we left the bar, a five or six-year-old little girl is walking down the hall toward us. She turns to her Dad and says, “Dad, do you smell bacon?” Dan fell over laughing.

The boys come back to the room and Matt is pissed about Keldor. And not just from having a losing ticket. Apparently, on the way up to the room he saw some guy carrying a case of Keldors and he tried to buy a couple off him. The guy says he can’t let any go because they’ve already been pre-sold. Somehow Matt finds out what floor this guy is on and vows to knock on every door until he finds him again. Then he says he plans to force the guy to sell him the toy. We all think it’s an A-Team worthy plan, but we soon get thirsty and quickly abandon it. We had two connecting rooms. Matt goes into one room, picks up the phone and calls the other. He asks for Markisan A. Naso. I pick up the receiver.

    Hello Mr. Naso. This is the front desk. You have a message from Matt. He says to tell you IT’S FUCKING ON!

We immediately leave to find more beer.

I find out that the boys only scored one ticket to the Wizard party, good enough to get two people through the door, so we think about going downtown. But first we hit the bar for a drink. Matt miraculously meets up with Keldor guy in the hall and basically bitches him out for not selling. Then we all sit down. Matt is so hammered he forgets to order a beer.

Keldor guy comes up to us and says that he knows a guy who knows a guy who can get us the figures. But first he has to go to the Wizard party. He says he’ll get us the goods after that. Soon the group splits up and I get the sneaking suspicion that Matt and Brian went to the Wizard party without the rest of us. About a half hour later the fucking Keldor guy comes back. He says he can get one of us into the party. We send Dan because he’s the most drunk. A few minutes later, our “contact” comes up to us and says she can get the final four into the party too. Off we go.

At the party most of the food is gone but free alcohol is still on. It’s crowded. We meet up with Matt, Dan and Brian. Matt is beaming, “I fucking worked my ass off to get everyone in, motherfuckers!!”

At the party we got to meet a bunch of people. Dan introduces me to Mark Millar. I ask him where his God damn beer is while he waits in line to get one. He says this is the longest he’s ever gone without a drink. A casual onlooker informs me that the length of time is 3 minutes.

A lot of the party is fuzzy, but I remember Dan talking to Marvel EIC Joe Quesada, who remembered him from last year. Dan also got blown off by Cassaday who was working his game on some chick. On Friday Cass asked Matt why Dan was completely wasted every time he met him. Apparently he was puzzled by this.

Alex Ross was at the Wizard party and he talked to Millar a lot. Probably another project in the works.

While we were at the party our “contact” introduced us to Danny Miki. He’s that guy who inks fucking everything. I don’t know how he had time to hang out with us, now that he’s added Ultimate Fantastic Four to the 18 books he already does. We must have told him to go trace something 100 times. Fun guy that Miki.

I also met this punk rocker guy who wanted to use a penis clock for his band logo..!? Jesus, I was drunk.

After the Wizard party we got into the Marvel party, where we networked very badly and drank free shit. I must also point out that the Marvel shindig offered animal crackers to guests.

Then we fucked about, drank more, hung out with some more creators in teh lobby and tried to get back into the Marvel party after they restocked beer. The bouncers let us in, but some short troll bitch said we had to leave as soon as we walked through the door. I don’t know who he was. Maybe I should have brought animal crackers.

We went to bed between 3:30 and 4:30 AM very, very drunk. And we never got those Keldors.

Sunday

Sunday was hard. Packed shit up around 11 AM. I had the honor of sharing the hotel elevator with Amanda Connor on the way to the checkout counter and breakfast, but I was so hung over I decided not to say anything for risk of embarrassment. So, if you’re reading this Amanda, you are one of my favorite artists and I should have said so when I had the chance.

I should also apologize to the talented and affable Beau Smith, who I said I’d meet but didn’t. I stopped by the IDW booth but you weren’t there! Later on I stumbled past the booth a few times with flask in hand. If you were there I couldn’t see you clearly. I blew it pal. Sorry.

I’m also told that there were other professionals who recognized me and wanted to say hi, and for whatever reason, I didn’t meet them. Sorry folks. I didn’t think anyone would know me. This was my first time at the convention as a columnist and I just did what I always do — hang out with my friends. I felt weird just approaching people and saying, “I’m Markisan. I write All the Rage. Drink with me.” But I’m a nice guy. If I fucked up, please email me and tell me. I’ll do better next time.

Thanks to those people who actually recognized me and told me that they like the column. There was one nice guy who stopped me on the convention floor Saturday and he said he reads ATR every Monday first thing. I was so hammered that I could barely muster a reply. So, whoever you are, email me and let me know your name. I promise to get a sentence out this time.

Oh, and if anyone wants to send me a Keldor, please do.

So there it is, a really long account of my time at Wizard World Chicago, minus some private details of course. Since I was pretty much intoxicated for 36 straight hours I didn’t really get many rumors. Didn’t really care to actually, as I was more about the fun than the work. But here’s a couple just so I can say this is still ATR..

Pressing Concerns

An ongoing rumor at the Con was that CrossGen’s recent schedule changes are due to unpaid printer costs. A source tells me that he spoke to some industry professionals at the convention who say they’ve heard the same thing. One of those professionals mentioned that even when things weren’t looking good for his publisher financially, the printer was always paid.

This Has An “According to the Fine Print” Factor of Six Out of Ten


Micro-Management

I hear that Micronauts will be cancelled or moved to another publisher. My source says that he doesn’t know the whole story, but believes that low sales aren’t the only factors. “Rumor has it that something else got fucked up, but I have yet to find out what.”

My guess would be the rights.

I’ve also been told that Future Comics may have bought the Micronauts license and plans to hand the book over to former ‘Nauts artist Pat Broderick.

This Has A “I Was Fucked Up All Weekend” Factor of Eight Out of Ten


A Novel Idea

Over the weekend I heard that Warren Ellis received an offer from a major publisher to write a novel. I was directed to a recent issue of Warren’s weblog, Bad Signal, where he writes:

    I’m not going to be able to say anything substantive about these things until contracts are signed and PR departments give blessings. But I am even more unsufferably smug than usual today. I’ll leave you to make the obvious comments. You bastards.

(Book Agent is also smug, since I’d said to her: “You’ll never sell it. The Godzilla Bukkake scene alone kills it.”)

This Has A “Lizard King” Factor of 10 Out of Ten


Back On the Cats

Wildcats 3.0 writer Joe Casey recently revealed that artist Sean Phillips (Kingpin) is coming back to the Wildstorm book in an interview conducted by SBC’s own Ambidexterous columnist Brandon Thomas. Apparently current Cats artist Dustin Nguyen will be leaving the book to work on another DC project. And Sean’s DC book, Sleeper will be going on hiatus after issue 12. When you put all this together, it sounds like Phillips will be the regular Wildcats artist, right? Think again. I asked Sean about the new Cats gig and he says there isn’t much to say.

    Joe says I’ll have a script in a couple of months. I’m just back for a flying visit. Eleven pages of flashback in one issue.

Sean tells me that Casey asked him to do the flashback.

      I owe Joe a lot for taking a chance on me originally for

Wildcats

    after Travis Charest left, so I’m always keen on working with him more.

When asked what Wildcats appeals to him Sean says a team book is always a challenge.

      Before

Wildcats

      I drew

Hellblazer

    for three years. Just one man in a raincoat, much easier to draw.

I also asked Sean about Sleeper since people seem to be worried about whether or not it will return.

Sleeper

      will almost definitely be back. Ed and I along with Scott Dunbier and Jim Lee really want to see it return, but there’s nothing official yet.

Sleeper

    was always planned as a series of arcs with a gap in between, so hopefully that will be the case. I think we’re planning a four or five month break between arcs. The first trade is out in December with the second trade to follow with the second arc.

This Has A “Sean Should Go Regular” Factor of Seven Out of Ten


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