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[Groop]Here's what we're missing

For all us groopmates who aren't at Chicago, I have a treat for you.  Ever
wonder what some of the comic creators actually think of fanboys?  I think
this is a good example...  and since I'm going to be presentling in Chicago
this year, and I've never even been to a con, this hits home..  (I've
bleeped out the naughty words... I think I got them all.....Eric...)

COME IN ALONE (from cbr.cc)
by Warren Ellis

I am not at San Diego. 

                 It's Thursday night, and I'm at home in Southend
                 after having taken Niki and Lili out for a meal in
                 nearby Canewdon. Canewdon's witch country, and I
                 believe the local coven still dance naked in the wheat
                 fields at Hallowe'en, the local police maintaining a
                 perimeter presence to keep the t*t-crazed sweaty
                 adolescents out of the witches' way. We wandered
                 out into the wheatfields after dinner, giving some
                 space to sleepy ducks sitting by the pond at the field's
fringe. Lili
                 counted the colours in the sky: Essex has explosive
sunsets in the
                 summer, orange and purple and blue and pink and gold and
bright silver. 

                 At exactly the same time, my peers are inhaling the sweat
of their two
                 hundredth fan of the day. Aspirating their disease-laden
breath and the
                 airborne motes of their last meal. Watching a line of snot
                 their nostril and upper lip vibrate like a plucked string
with every word
                 they say, wondering if it'll fire into your face when it
finally snaps free of
                 one anchor or another (this perfect vision was visited
upon me at a New
                 Zealand convention last year). Sat next to an editor they
                 despise. Being shouted at by a booth runner who wants to
know why
                 they weren't there at 10am like it said on the schedule.
Having your
                 eardrums ravaged by a thousand kids with sharp little
teeth grabbing at
                 everything but the short on your f**king back and
shrieking "Is this
                 free? Is this free?" Being harangued by a thyroid case in
a rotting
                 Spider-Man 2099 t-shirt three sizes too small about having
killed a
                 character who to you may just have been a handful of words
and some
                 pictures, but to him was the woman he loved, damnit -- 

                 Sun's gone down, now. Sitting here with a 21-year-old
Scotch, a
                 smoked trout fillet and a handmade unpasteurised cheddar
from an
                 organic farm. Warm, but not hot, you know? Comfortable.
Phone's quiet,
                 email's light. Everyone's in San Diego, you see. 

                 I've done conventions with actresses. I remember vividly a
                 post-convention drinking session where an actress on a
popular sf TV
                 show came in, downed one drink fairly fast, and then
headed straight to
                 her room to "wash them off me." She had been posing with
fans for

                 photos for approximately eight hours straight. TV SF
fans. The hardcore
                 kind. I was going to ask her how it made her feel, to pose
for personal
                 photos with people who probably masturbate over her at
home. But I
                 figured it was kindest not to. At times like this, senses
of humour can
                 fail. Here's where my sense of humour about conventions
failed: when I
                 found out Claudia Christian had been shot during one of those
                 pose-with-the-fan sessions. Her manager, Damon, told me
about this.
                 (Damon, incidentally, is a diamond, and if you ever see
him at a con,
                 buy him a drink.) Some freak turned up to a con dressed as
a Tribble -
                 enormous shapeless furry thing - and wanted to have his
pic taken with
                 Claudia. Who did the usual, stood next to him, arm around
him, big smile

                 -- and a gun poked out of the side of the Tribble and
fired into her side.

                 Blank round. Extensive bruising, bit of a mess, but she
lived. And now
                 she has a security presence at conventions. And she has a
drink after
                 them. Believe me. 

                 Met another actress from one of these TV shows who
basically travels
                 the world on convention accounts and bleeds dry every fan
of that TV
                 show she meets, just sells them signed glossies and other
crap until all
                 their cash is sucked right out of them. She'll get
convention organisers
                 to drive her into the middle of nowhere if she smells
fifty bucks in the
                 pocket of a fan out there. And she'll get it. She's in
business. Her job is
                 to be Someone From That TV Show. The fans want to touch her,
                 because she has the magic of that piece of sh*t on her.
She makes them
                 smile and feel connected to it. This is a big business.
Damon set up a
                 Women Of SF convention featuring Claudia and two actresses
from Deep
                 Space Nine, and Alice Krige (an accomplished actress who
was in a Star
                 Trek film), evidently got use of a Star Trek attraction in
Las Vegas to
                 host it, and explained that he was essentially going to
make a shitload,
                 and that Claudia was going to make a sh*tload. This
vaguely bugs me,
                 because Claudia, aside from being possibly the most
likeable actress I've
                 met (this doesn't include the ones I've had relationships
with. No, hold
                 on. Yes, it does.), can act. And now her job is to be
Someone Who Was
                 In A TV Show, flapping around conventions looking for
blood to drink. A
                 Star Trek producer told me that there's a guy who played a
Borg kid in
                 some episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation who now
does every
                 con on the face of the planet, billed as WAS FRED BORG IN
                 He was in the show once. That's his job now. Was Fred
Borg, on the

                 convention circuit. 

                 One of the saddest things I ever saw was at San Diego. I
was still on
                 cigarettes, then, and was outside the convention center
smoking the
                 day's seventy-fifth when I noticed something odd. A very
old man, very
                 thin, slightly hunched, was working his way slowly down
the crowds of
                 smokers on the pavement outside the center. He'd stop by
one group,
                 say something. There'd be a strange short pause. And then
nodding and
                 smiles, and they'd all shake his hand, and he'd beam with
joy for a
                 moment, and then move down to the next group. So I waited
for him to
                 get to me. 

                 One of the saddest things about this, by the way, is that
I cannot for
                 the life of me remember his name. 

                 He got to me and said hello and introduced himself and
said: "I was
                 Adam West's dead partner in Robinson Crusoe On Mars." 

                 And it dawned on me. This poor bastard had trekked from
God knows
                 where to come to the one place on Earth where someone might
                 conceivably have heard of him. The San Diego Comics

                 And you know what I did? I said, "Oh, yeah, right!" and
nodded and
                 smiled and shook his hand and told him it was nice to meet
him. Just like
                 everyone else. And his face lit up, and he shook my hand,
and then
                 shuffled off down the sidewalk. To the next group. 

                 Half past ten. Sun's gone down. Right now, it's the
hottest part of the
                 day in San Diego. There was forty five thousand attendees
last year. All
                 crammed into a giant plastic humane mouse trap with two
airholes in, in
                 the middle of summer. 

                 I'm going to open up the conservatory, light some candles
and some
                 garden torches, pour Niki a drink, sit by the
strawberries, the
                 honeysuckle and the lavender, and enjoy the evening. 

                 Bollocks to San Diego. 

Piekos Arts Design ~ http://www.piekosarts.com
AKF Comics ~ http://www.piekosarts.com/akfcomics
Blambot Comic Fonts ~ http://www.piekosarts.com/blambotfonts

Groop maillist  -  Groop@groo.com