Wowsers! I’m not going to the San Diego Comic Con! This is the time of year when comic fans all over the world cluster in bars or pubs, nursing a pint mumbling to each other “it’s not as good as everyone says”, “personally I thought the local mart had more atmosphere, closer to real fans, y’know” and “you’ve seen one guy dressed as a Klingon, you’ve seen them all”.

So I thought I’d keep a small diary of the many splendid things I see and people I speak to as I don’t go to the San Diego Comic Con. Wow!

Thursday

I walk out of the door and check I’ve got everything I’ll need for the long day ahead… keys, my wallet, my mobile phone. Yup, that should do. I take the public transport into town to my office. Personal hygiene is mportant when not going to a comic convention, I’m freshly showered, packing deodorant and a fresh pair of trousers in case the unfortunate happens.

I notice how few people are in costume this year. Even the sandwich man has decided not to dress as Flash. However, someone who has decided to dress ludicrously is Jonothan Ross who walks past my window in the stupidest green trousers ever. Jonathan, TV presenter and producer used to own a comic shop in Soho. He’s even claimed to read some of my comics. What he’s doing today, talking into his mobile phone, and ducking down an alleyway I can’t even imagine to guess. I don’t follow him, that would be rude. Mind you, he’s not even wearing a name tag. Thank goodness he’s on the TV every other night otherwise I wouldn’t recognise him.

In the pub that night I look over and who do I see but Kurt Busiek! No, sadly, it’s a man called Frank, but he looks like Kurt, honest! I talk to Frank about his recent work on Shockrockets, but he doesn’t return my
conversation, looks oddly and walks off. I’m quite shocked, how dare these people-who-slightly-resemble-comic-creators treat us fans so rudely. It’s our money that pays for the people they slightly resemble to live it up with jacuzzis and scantily dressed women. I vow not to ever buy a Busiek book again. Unless it’s really good or something. Damn, did I get the latest Shockrockets?

Friday

Killer hangover, stumble out of bed and shower. Hygiene is very important when you’re not going to a comic convention, you can be sitting at a desk for hours with barely any air conditioning.

After work I bump into Al Davison in Soho Square. Oh bloody hell, here my non-going-to-a-comics-convention structure falls apart. Al Davison, is the artist on books such as Tainted and Dreaming, and moreover is the writer artist of such monumental comic works such as Spiral Cage and Minotaur’s Tale. I heard talk last Bristol convention that he was up for some ABC work, but Al isn’t telling. He is, however, keep to talk about the production, art and choreography work he’s done for King Of The Schnorrers, a play currently on in London’s West End at the Camden People’s Theatre near Warren Street tube station until the 6th of August. He gives me a beautifully painted leaflet and you can find out more yourself at Camden People’s Theatre – go see!

Events continue to conspire against me – I open a copy of The Independent, and there’s a large feature on the From Hell graphic novel. This is like a panel or something. I realise I just can’t escape comics even when I’m not going to San Diego, so I give in and go into both B-Hive and Comics Showcase near where I work to buy comics. Including the latest Shockrockets.

Saturday

I’m a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So rather than travel 6000 miles to meet series creator Joss Whelan, I simply watch the show taped earlier in the week. Much more fun, and a good Zander episode too. I strike up a conversation with my wife about how he’d make the perfect Spider-Man. She walks away and makes a sandwich. Sometimes you meet people when you don’t go to cons who just don’t want to talk. That’s fine, don’t worry about it.

She comes back however and I notice she’s wearing a very flimsy costume. You get used to this not going to San Diego Comic Con. I try not to stare and ask her what she’s promoting. She tells me and we disappear for a bit. Not going to San Diego, you meet all sorts of people, and this is just the kind of thing that usually happens, not surrounded by pictures of people in skimpy leotards, or not even that sometimes. It’s a meat market it really
is. Or rather isn’t.

That evening, we meet up with friends, some of whom we haven’t seen for a week or more. We end up in a tapas bar, La Manchas. However, despite being so close to where I live, they aren’t giving a discount for non-convention
goers which is disappointing. I end up being sick over someone who looks like Glenn Fabry. Mind you, everyone looks like Glenn Fabry after I’ve been sick over them.

Sunday

Well, it’s my last day not going to the San Diego Comic Con. There’s so much I wanted to do but never got around to, like meeting Warren Ellis and Alan Moore, who both don’t go to San Diego. And rather than not go to a panel on Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics, I read it instead, tucked up in bed with an apple danish.

Later in the day, I’m determined to get some last minute bargains. The local supermarket had two for one on bagels, so I grabbed a couple of bags. I passed on the three for two yoghurts but found a pack of Quorn sausages – I hadn’t seen these for weeks so I grabbed the last three.

In conclusion? I had a great time. I can heartily recommend not going to a comics convention and I intend to do the same next week too!

Rich Johnston

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