Chicago Nerdfest 2008
Michael And Boom Boom’s Most Manly And Heterosexual Road Trip Ever!

So, as many of you already know, the talented Mr. Harris, our friend Alicia, and I took a trip to Chicago, this past weekend, for the 2008 Wizard World Chicago Comic Convention. This is our story.

I pulled up in front of Michael’s apartment sometime around 7:30 in the morning, parked my car and headed up the stairs to help carry some of his luggage down. Along the way, I saw Alicia and Stephanie — who insisted I be nice to her sister while on the trip, under threat of getting cut –parked on the other side of the building and gave them a wave. Thirty minutes later, my trunk filled with their luggage, we made our way to the nearest Kinko’s, so Michael could make a few more last minute prints, and, by 8:15, we were on the road to Chicago. Michael shuffled through a stack of CDs, finally shoving Tegan And Sara’s So Jealous into the CD player, setting the mood for our most manly and heterosexual road trip ever.

Conversations faded in and out as CDs were changed. So Jealous was swapped for Gogol Bordello’s Super Taranta, just to butch things up a bit, before putting on some comedy albums – Jim Gaffigan’s Doin’ My Time and David Cross’s It’s Not Funny! — and then we wrapped things up with Hot Chip’s The Warning and the Scissor Sister’s self-titled debut album, whose single, Tits On The Radio, became our road trip’s theme song.

After stopping once for both gas and lunch, we arrived in Chicago around 1:00. We made it to our hotel, on the other side of Chicago, almost two hours later. I am convinced that no one in Chicago works — they just drive around all day – because we seriously sat in traffic much longer than anyone ever needs to sit in traffic.

We checked into our hotel and found out that, even though we requested and had held for us a two bed room – and all of this after finding out, the day before we left, that the hotel had lost our original reservation when they got a new computer system a few months ago – that this particular hotel did not even have two beds in any of their rooms. Alicia then requested her own room and Michael and I decided we would share the bed and sleep head to toe. Hot!

The three of us then headed off to the convention center, made our way through herds of nerds, and set up our table. Michael insisted that every bald-headed white guy, myself included, was Brian Michael Bendis. We quickly made friends with our table neighbors and started playing Con Games, such as counting how many guys passed our table with pony tails and how many hot girls there were with douche bags. (I think I won the pony tail one; I must have spotted two dozen of them within the first twenty minutes we were there.)

Once everything was out and on display, I took a quick walk and found the tables where my friends Aaron Norton and Erik Rose were located. Aaron was seated at a row of tables with most of his friends — B. Clay Moore, Jeremy Haun, Jason Hurley, Jason Latour, Dennis Hopeless, and Kevin Mellon – and Erik was seated with his wife, Robyn, and Wayne Chinsang (who wouldn’t show up until Saturday), promoting their new book, The Roberts.

I took a quick walk around Artists’ Alley with Norton and he pointed out who’s who, before buying the first copy of my books, The Number Sixteen (And Other Stories That Aren’t As Good) and the mini comic anthology Comic-Tron 2.0 – which was co-created with Mr. Brame and Mr. Harris – both of which are still on sale.

Michael made some money, but that was the only copy I had sold that day. I chalked it up to the fact that we were only at the Con for about two hours on Friday, but not selling anything became the norm for the rest of the weekend.

At 6:00, Michael, Alicia, and I made our way back to the hotel, stopping first at Denny’s for dinner. Alicia went to her room for the night and Michael and I took a quick two hour nap – HOT! – before getting ready to head over to the Hyatt to meet up with Norton and his people for a night of drinking and nerdiness.

We left for the Hyatt around 10:00, but somehow ended up on the highway, driving around Chicago for about twenty minutes. Finally getting back to the main road, we found the Hyatt again, parked the car, and entered the hotel.

First of all, let me just say, for those of you who’ve never been to the Hyatt before, that bitch must have been designed by some white guy with too much money, because that shit was confusing as hell. We sneaked in the back door and walked around the lobby of the hotel for a few minutes, before discovering that the escalator at the far end of the room takes you up to the main floor. There, we took an elevator up to Norton’s hotel room, where he — along with B. Clay Moore, Jeremy Haun, Jason Latour, Jason Hurley and a few others – were sitting around, drinking, bullshitting and drawing. We took a seat, Michael broke out his ginormous bottle of Everclear, and quickly joined in conversation. B. Clay Moore finished a con sketch – of Skrullpocalypse, the combination of two Marvel Comics characters, with a raging boner, and signed it as Greg Land – and passed it around the room.

A while later, we – Norton, Michael, and I – took a trip downstairs to the bar area, where Norton pointed out several professional comics writers/artists and introduced us to a number of others; people who I not only got to talk to for a time, but actually remembered who I was throughout the rest of the weekend. We drank and walked and bullshitted for a while. Norton ran a pitch for a new book idea past me. I talked Michael up, trying to get him the job of drawing that book. And Michael talked to some purple-haired girl – that everyone else was hoping would show him her tits – for the rest of the night.

We took several trips back and forth to Norton’s hotel room, where they had a stash of Canadian beer, and, on one particular trip, B. Clay Moore entered the room right after us and informed us that he was just told comic artist Michael Turner had just died of cancer. Someone made a crack about having to do sketches of Aspen, one of Turner’s characters, for the rest of the con. I made my way back downstairs and found Michael.

Have you heard the news?

No. What?

Dude, B. Clay told us that Michael Turner just died.


MICHAEL (cont’d)


Dude! Come on. The man just died. I may not have liked his work, either, but I never wished he would die. Just that he would permanently break his hands and couldn’t draw anymore or something…

AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! I need to call Dave.

So, Michael called Dave, but Dave didn’t answer.

Michael talked up the purple-haired girl for a while longer and I walked through the bar, talking to various people. Last call was announced around 1:25, but we stayed around the Hyatt until 3:00-ish, when Norton and his friends decided to call it a night. We left the hotel and got in the car, dreading the $17 parking fee, but found the parking gate up. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, we drove straight through, saving ourselves $17, singing the chorus to Tits On The Radio at the top of our lungs.

We arrived back at our hotel minutes later, unloaded our belongings, changed out of our clothes and into pajamas, and climbed into bed.


Your friend (and part-time lover),
Boom Boom Storm Cloud