Well, it was September and I was bored. So I went to SPX! I drove down with the folks from the best comic book store in existence, those being Mal, Hope Kean, Chris, Scott and the distressingly famous Jason.

It was an exciting ten hours from Toronto to Bethesda, Maryland, made all the more exciting by a lack of hotel room when we got there! But we made do and piled into one giant... pile on the one bed that was available. I don't have a picture of this, I was too damned tired.

Everyone looked wonderful after the drive.

Especially Kean.

After a few hours of pile-sleep and debate analysis, I ran over to the hotel next door to surprise Dylan and Erika with my wonderful arrival! Erika was SHOCKED.

For some mysterious reason the hotel room had the exact same picture over both beds.

I met Dylan's terrific boyfriend Ben, a tall beardy sort with fine taste in trousers and music. Here they are doing a trick. Dylan's excellent schoolfriend Lisa was also in attendance, but I don't seem to have a single decent photo of her. Let me just tell you that she was awesome, and you can imagine her up just fine.

God has a hard on for the Marines because they kill everything they see!

After a shower and some lie-down we skipped next door to the finally-opened festival. It was time for meeting PEOPLE!

Our friend Douglas from Publisher's Weekly!

Drew Weing! A treat to meet.

Jason Little! Erika and I had a very nice lunch with him.

Jason Thompson, man about town!

L'il Jeffy Rowland!

The splendid and amazing Jon Rosenberg! He gave me approximately three million stickers. Canada will soon know the truth about Republicans.

Les McClane had great sideburns!

I am never washing the inside of that puppet again because it has touched Mike Mignola!

Neil is just not fast enough!

All of Hope's hard work ruined!

Oh, Raina Telgemeier, why can't you stay out of trouble!

Look out, Dave Roman!

Okay, Todd Webb, you're not even trying.

Finally we all had enough and Ben showed the punchmonkey who was boss. Now we could do other things!

We all went out for dinner. Neil bore the brunt of a vicious double-attack...

...but it turned out alright in the end.

We went to the Rock Bottom, a Bethesda drink and eatery, where we met Rich Stevens.

Two of these were consumed somehow.

Jon ponders the task before him.

Ben is a seriously cool dude. Ten points to Dylan!

Dylan and I inserted an entire butter knife into the mighty 'fro of Antar. You see that little glinty thing? That was ALL THAT REMAINED. We love Antar.

During the entire festival I was dealing with a fairly bad cold. Things came to a head after a few drinks and I suddenly started shaking like some kinda sex toy with the worst chills of my life. I was seriously considering crawling inside of Jeffrey Rowland like some kind of miniature Tauntaun! I wound up going to bed and missing any fun that might have followed.

At some point during the next day Neil was adorable.

Here's me with my excellent friend Jeff.

Dean Trippe and Antar had a conversation.

Erika stood next to a lady from the booth next to the Flight one. I didn't get her name, but she seemed very nice.

Saturday night was spent in the Dumbrella room. Jeff stocked up for the occasion.

We sat on the bed and looked at photos of legoland and pirated Photoshop. You all should totally party with us sometime.

Some of the people in the room, including a lady from the Waffle House, apparently.

As if the room weren't stinky enough, Kean decided he had to smoke his cigar. We went outside for that.

Little did we know that we would meet the members of Interpol! Actually they were just some Dutch guys but oh they were fancy.

There were also some drunk dudes.

We all know Rich is a great guy.

Funny faces were made.

This picture accidentally took itself with no special planning whatsoever.

Finally Kean had wore his poor lungs out from puffing and Erika and I parted ways with our gentleman friends for a night of sleep and talking about boys.

The next day Dylan, Ben and Lisa left early for Connecticut. I will never forgive them.

Erika, Jeff and I went to a webcomics panel.

Then Erika left me! What the hell!

Things were wrapping up fast. I took some quick pictures with my Dumbrella friends (And some strange man who inserted himself on the right of the pictures) and leapt into the minivan. We drove like the wind for the sunny beaches of Canada, and I was back in my Oakvillian bed at 4 in the morning.
What a trip! I came less for the shopping than for the chance to hang out with people I usually get to see once a year. And you know what? Mission accomplished. Thank you, everyone! See you next year!

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