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Re: [Groop]Groo Fest

A play by play documentation on my experiences Thursday.

7:07 AM:  Awoke and arose.

7:22 AM: Got dressed for work and sat for a few minutes thinking about the opportunity of meeting the Groo crew.

7:45 AM:  Ate breakfast and spent several minutes in quiet meditation.

8:05 AM:  Called in sick.

8:22 AM:  Showered and shaved.

8:55 AM:  Got re-dressed for my day off.

9:22 AM:  Left for San Diego (about an hour away).

10:27 AM:  Arrived in San Diego.

10:30 AM: Searched fervently for parking, and found no luck in several filled lots.

10:37 AM: Broke several traffic violations. Saw an old man walking a chihuahua.

10:42 AM: Found an $8 spot about 4 blocks north of the Convention Center. Exited my car and, got in line to pay. I was in line directly behind a man with a salt and pepper pony tail and a white embroidered shirt.

10:44:02 AM: Realized that I was in line with Mr. Aragones. "Excuse me.. are you Mr. 'A'?" I asked sheepishly, not wanting to draw attention to him from the horde of obvious convention attendants. "Yes, yes... here waiting in line like everyone else", he replied smiling.

10:44:12 AM:  Silently widened my stare, and freaked out to myself.

10:45:01 AM: Regained approximately 30% of my mental facilities. Remembered to pull out some money to pay for parking.

10:46 AM:  Watched Sergio stuff $8 into his parking slot.

10:47 AM: Tried in vain to fold $8 into a wad thin enough to slip through my ridiculously small money slot.

10:49 AM: Finally completed payment, and while simultaneously wondering what to say to Sergio, turned to see that he had disappeared.

10:50 AM: Caught up with him a block and a half later. Informed him (while walking) that he was the reason that I came to the convention, and introduced myself. "Oh yeah?", he said, "Have you ever been to one of these before?" "No.", I replied. "Well... you're not gonna believe it."

I already couldn't believe it. I parked in the same lot as Sergio Aragones, met him while in line, and now was walking with him on the street.

I noticed he had a wrist brace on, and offered to help him with his samsonite. "No thank-you. This is nothing." We walked by a mexican restaurant, and he recommended it to me. "Good food, and beer.", he said. After reaching the entrance I said, "See you inside!" He said, "Ok... nice to meet you Rocky." He remembered my name! How very cool.

11:00 AM: Got in line behind several hundred people in a line that stretched onto the harbor.

11:50 AM: Finally got inside the con. Pretty amazing. The Image, DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse exhibits were large and killer. There were an incredible amount of dealers and manga and everything comic. There seemed to be a really good vibe among the fans, and some of the costumes were fantastic.

12:10 PM: Found Sergio again and asked if the "mtg" was today. "No, it's tomorrow." Left him to his booth, and went exploring.

1:15 PM: Found Stan Sakai's booth. Met his very polite wife and spoke with her about the publishers Usagi had been published under. Mr. Sakai returned from a break and I purchased TPB #1 from him. It had a pre-drawn sketch inside! Shook his hand, and thanked him for his work on Groo.

1:25 PM  Felt warm and fuzzy inside.

1:50 PM Returned to Sergio's booth and saw a guy in an orange T. I knew it must be Gary "Dessesbo" Grossman. What a cool guy. We spoke for several minutes, and hung out by Sergio's booth, just generally having a good time talking about Groo.

2:10 PM Tom Luth came by. I was so involved the conversation with Gary, that I didn't fully realize who he was introducing me to. By the time I realized it was Mr. Luth, I must have seemed like an idiot. Gary presented him with some very cool Tom Luth cards, for which he was very impressed. After a little history lesson, including the harrowing tale of the infamous Gordon Kent, Tom and Sergio joked about coloring Sergio's work. Tom informed us that it took nearly 4 days to color the two page full circus ship shot in SC#1. Sergio then whipped out an issue of Mad and opened to 'A Mad Look At Gladiators' and said, "Next we'll get you to color this one." It was typical Sergio mayhem set in the Coliseum with about a thousand gladiators and romans. Tom laughed and said, "Yeah right."

2:28 PM:  Met Jeff.  Cool guy.

2:30 PM: I ran up to catch the end of the EC Comics panel, where Mark was moderating. Quite a comical panel with an emotional ending as one member of the panel closed the meeting with some heartfelt expressions.

3:00 PM: Met Larry, Rich, Rueben, (and one other?) who were in their orange attire.

3:15 PM:  Shook hands with ME.

3:20 PM:  Met an interesting young lady dressed as "Harley Quinn".

3:45 PM: Returned once again to Sergio's booth. Gary was watching it for him while he was at a signing for Dark Horse. Spoke for several more minutes with Gary about all things Groo and Sergio... Checked out some of the spanish Groo TPB's. Soon we were joined by Rich, Larry, Reuben, and Jeff.

4:25 PM: Sergio returns, and a host of people show up simultaneously. Included are three different publishers who publish Groo in different countries. One of them gives Sergio a large vinyl "Mr. Burns" Simpsons figure. "Ah... pure vinyl." he said. Gary then explained to me that Sergio is an avid Simpsons fan. Another of the publishers gave him a copy of a german "Lobo" comic with a Sergio cover. It was a cool cover, but the details escape me. I had to tell Gary to look quite abruptly just before Sergio zipped it away into his secret stash. (Side note to those who've never met Mr. Grossman: He often finds himself in several conversations at once. Just the nature of the guy. Thus my abrupt action.) I was beginning to think that one of the three publishers was going to say something to the effect of: "Sergio... we saw a star in the sky, and we have traveled thousands of miles..." because of all the gifts. But it was not so. No gift from publisher #3.

4:50 PM: Purchased "Boogeyman" TPB from Sergio. As he was about to autograph it, a couple came up to the booth that he knew, and he sketched Groo sappily handing over some flowers on a card for them. Despite years of forewarning, I was taken aback at the speed with which he rendered the card. Already impressed, I watched as he sketched himself creating the dead lady (from the cover) inside the book for me! Wow. How cool is that? A treasure I shall keep forever.

5:05 PM: Bid farewell to all my new friends, and made my way out of the convention center.

5:40 PM:  Stopped at Carl's JR for a Western burger and Lemonade.

Had a really good time, and was very happy to have met all the Groo Crew. I'll let Gary fill in any gaps I may have left... and I'm hoping someone will report on the panel...(hint, hint)


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