Second Saturday in October

That was one busy Saturday eight days ago. Some of you will understand the need (of my wife) for us to clean the house in anticipation of someone coming over to clean the house; that was the post-breakfast activity. And we were also trying out a new babysitter, Annie, to replace our old sitters Anna (who went to college) and Anne (a busy HS senior).

So the babysitter came, the housekeeper came, and I got picked up by my friend Rocco. Rocco was a kid who used to be a FantaCo customer who became a FantaCo employee in the early 1980s. We traversed over to the Elks Lodge in Troy to go to a comic book program, organized by former FantaCo customer Dave Palladino.

We went to the artists’ table and talked to three guys with a strong FantaCo connection:
John Hebert was the artist on a book I co-wrote, Sold Out and worked at a couple FantaCons, before moving on to fame and fortune. He’s getting married next year, and herein is the proof:

Fred Hembeck, who I saw for the third time this year (yay!), was doing the big reveal of an anthology of his seven books published by FantaCo, plus over 600 MORE pages, news that would soon be wildly and exuberantly cheered by the comics blogisphere. He had on hand a binder that featured the black and white version of the color cover:

Bill Anderson, who I see more often than the others, worked at Fantaco, off and on, between 1984 and 1996, but even before that, embellished some of Hembeck pages, before becoming the inker extraordinaire.

Rocco and I had great conversations with them and with Fred’s daughter Julie, between her stints reading homework. She told me she likes doing these trips because it gets her out of the house and because Fred “really needs a navigator,” which even he would admit is true.

I also had some lengthy conversations with other former customers and employees. Talked at length about the late Raoul Vezina (a post for next year) and FantaCo’s founder, Tom Skulan, who has gone into a different line of work.

At some point, I returned to the artists’ table, and a couple little kids asked me to sign a Mars Attacks mini-comic that FantaCo had published. I didn’t have anything to do with it, except shipping it to distributors, and escorting its writer Mario Bruni a Capital Cities Distributor show in Madison, WI back in 1988 so we could promote it. But I signed them anyway.

I now remember why some folks find comic book people really weird, as I heard a number of stories, including Golden-Gate, some debacle involving Michael Golden and a Doctor Strange drawing. It’s interesting in a very bizarre way.

I had a surprisingly good time, though I didn’t buy anything, except for some food. Check Fred’s October 20th post for his take on the event.

Rocco dropped me home long enough to go back out to the drug store and grocery store, before a second babysitter came. We’d NEVER had two babysitters in one day, EVER, but we really wanted to go the 30th anniversary party for our friends, Paul and Mary Liz Stewart, as it turned out, at my church. After a wonderful dinner, there was a short segment of singing to and telling stories about the Stewarts, MCed by me (I learned about this at 10 a.m. that day), thus once again ruining my self-image as a shy person.

It was a good day.


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