S.P.A.C.E. 2005

by Jeff Tundis

Got in about 4PM on Friday. Neither I, nor Pat got any sleep the night before (and she was feeling ill), so we took a little nap. Thankfully, Margaret called around 8PM and woke me up. Pat stayed in the room while I went downstairs to meet the gang. There at a table sat Jeff Seiler, Margaret, Larry, Matt, Paula and Lenny. I grabbed some White Castle burgers before my nap, so I skipped the food and went right for the bar to order my first Gin & Tonic.

Introductions were made. I was still kind of "waking up" and didn't notice at first that Dave was at the table behind us talking to Andy (Owly) Runton. I asked Lenny if I should go say hi, and he told me that Dave would probably come over to our table when he was finished. "OK, that's cool. I'll wait. Don't want to seem pushy." I said.

Well, when Dave came over with Gerhard, he proceeded to sit at our table directly across from me, and next to Jeff Seiler. (I seem to recall the phrase "Jeff sandwich" coming up). I wanted to say hi, and ended up sitting face to face with Dave. He handed out a 4 page pre-Archive report on "Canonical vs Non-Canonical," and then joked that I had made a lot more work for the group. I responded that "It's like dumping a pile of dirt on top of a mountain. No one's going to notice." Dave answered questions about an unpublished story called "The Pickman Portrait," and the never published Cerebus spin-off series by Barry Windsor-Smith entitled "Cerebus Vanaheim." Most memorable to me was his recounting of a phone call with BWS. In a great British accented BWS imitation, Dave told us that BWS had done a few pages, but felt they were missing something. Dave put out his hands making grasping movements saying "Send them to me!!" No such luck. BWS still has them, assuming they weren't destroyed. Apparently he's very hard on himself, and this limits his productivity.

There was a great exchange between Dave and Matt concerning the unpredictable nature of receiving a package from Matt in the mail. Gerhard gleefully snapped away with his camera. Eventually Dave got up to leave. Still suffering from a virus, he needed his rest for the convention in the morning. The group continued to talk and get to know each other, then slowly began to disperse. A long day loomed ahead...

Early Saturday, I went down to the front desk to get my complimentary tooth paste and razor. There's Dave. Asked him if he was feeling any better, and he said "No. I'm actually feeling worse. I have a habit of feeling better, then pushing myself too hard and having a relapse."

I responded " You have a twenty-something year history of pushing yourself too hard, so..."

I told him I didn't want to bother him with policy speak, but wanted to quickly point out that when I brought up the "Canon" debate, I had no intention of him inserting the stories into the trades, only that they should be considered along with issues 1-300 under the policy "umbrella." He said he understood, but was still open minded about the idea. I described the Matrix DVD to him, and the "pill" feature that opened extra features. We spoke about the "Sin City" movie, which he had seen and liked. He was encouraged by the idea that movies could now look to adapt, rather than rape a comic. Not wanting to take up too much of his time, I broke away to return to me room. We parted ways, and I told him I'd see him later. Yes, by this time I'm geeking out with a case of Sim-overload. What a great guy!

And so, on to the Con! Started with the small room. First ran into Eric Adams, creator of "Lackluster World." My favorite for the Day Prize, and someone my wife is also a big fan of. In fact, as we approached the table, Eric looked at Pat (who was wearing on of his "Where were you the day you died?" t-shirts) and said "Your last name is Tundis." Extremely nice guy.

Made my way around the room, buying lots of stuff. (So much so, that I had to ship stuff home later before continuing on the Arizona. No room in my bag!) Ran into Matt and Paula, bought his mini-comic, and a variant mug. Turns out the variant mug is a very cool "negative" image.

Eventually, made my way to the Dave and Ger sketch line, where I again ran into Margaret, et al. Josh showed up at this time. Thanks for the DVDs!

Dave announced he would be stopping until after the Day Prize presentations, so Margaret, Jeff Seiler and I took this time to do our interviews for Bryan's video project. Poor Margaret was so nervous:) And Jeff S used visual aids to promote his favorite novel, "Guys." (cheater!) ;) Pictured is me and Bryan. (Don't know why I look so pissed off)

Next up was the Gene Day Prize award ceremony. Picture (left) is Karl Kressbach who was nominated for the disturbing "Chromosome Crossroads." He doesn't "do speeches," and he doesn't "do photos," but he is an amazing sculptor!

Below is Eric Adams, nominated for "Lackluster World."

The big prize went to Andy Runton. A beautiful etched plaque featuring the cover of the first "Owly" book. (This actually upset a few people, as Andy's book is actually published by Top Shelf Productions, and not actually self published. He's an incredibly nice guy, though. Maybe too nice, but... y'know... he draws "Owly.") Pictured below is Andy and his award.
Next up was the Lifetime Achievement Award for Matt Feazell, creator of Cynical Man. Pictured below is the presentation to Matt, and a close up Dave and Ger's tribute: "Man and Cynicalman."
On the way out of the room, I ran into Gerhard (pictured), and gave him a copy of my band's CD and a CD-R containing all the newsgroup messages since day one. Also got a picture of Dave's contribution to the giant 2001 Jam strip that was done on giant panels of illustration board all along the front of the room (also pictured below).

At some point, I went back to my room. Entering the elevator, there's Dave again. "My body knows when it's time to pray" he said. I was only on the 2nd floor, so it was a quick "See ya' later" and off he went.

Later, back at the Sim/Gerhard sketch table, I took this pic of Margaret, Dave and Jeff Seiler (after one of his many wardrobe changes!)

I didn't bring anything for Dave to sign, but Margaret was kind enough to donate a sheet of sketch pad paper. While Dave was sketching, I pointed out a fake red-head who was going for a swim in the pool behind his table. Dave smoothly put on his glasses and turned to get an eyeful! It just turned into a joking laugh-fest from that point. Gerhard gave me a cookie. "Wait" I said "We missed a photo op! Let's do it again!" "OK" Ger said "Ready?" "Here, have a cookie!" Thanks Ger"... you get the idea.

"Backstroke, Ger"


"Backstroke" Both Ger and Dave then turn around to watch hot redhead doing the backstroke.

"Good eye, my friend" says Dave.

At one point, Gerhard brought out the CD-R I gave him. "Dave, guess what this is." "What?" "All 60,000 plus newsgroup messages." Hands the disc to Dave, who then pretends to almost fall over as the tremendous weight of the disc drags his arm down:)

Below, a very jubilant Dave, me, my sketch, and Gerhard.


Went over to the main room, hit every table, talked to Matt Feazell for a bit, Andy Runton, Karl Kressbach, etc, etc. Bought a crapload of books. All in all, a great time.

Legs tired, Pat and I returned to our room to change before dinner. Mmm.... sausages.

We gathered back in the lobby, joined briefly by Jason Trimmer, whose main goal was to get to the bar;) We spoke a bit about our day, and discussed Dave's policy handout. We eventually divided into 2 groups, and left for Schmidt's.

After a thrilling ride following Lenny, we arrived at the Sausage Haus! After reservations were made, Lenny, Jeff Seiler, Pat and I went to the Bier Garten to pass the time. After a discussion on religion and celibacy, and a pitcher of Warsteiner, we made our way back to the restaurant. Margaret had already downed half a stein of beer, and we hit the buffet. OH, THE SAUSAGES!! What a great place. Let's try to maintain this tradition!

Below is a group shot out front. Next is an earlier attempt. Notice the blow up of the far right, as the kids mother yells at him to get out of the picture! :D

Spirits were high. I was so happy we all got along so well. Matt (the Kevin Smith like-a-look): friendly, fast and funny. His fiance Paula. Queen Margaret. Larry, who just feels like a guy you could hang out with. Jeff Seiler, one of the nicest guys I've ever met. Willing to talk about any subject. Also willing (one suspects) of walking through fire for you once that initial attachment of friendship is made. Quiet Josh, all smiles. And Lenny, the joyful butt of many a good natured "typical New York Jew" jokes;) (Jeff Seiler handed out postcards to everyone, and Lenny read his aloud-- very loud-- including the part about being one of the "two cocksuckers" - a running gag. Not very funny to the parents of the child sitting across from us! It took a while for us to recover from that one!)

Pictured, clockwise from far left (and simulating our seating arrangement) is Matt, Paula, Margaret, Larry, Jeff Seiler, Lenny, Josh, me and Pat.

No idea where room for dessert came from, but most of us enjoyed these massive Almond Mocha Cream Puffs. Below pic simulates my vision at the time;)

We went back to the hotel. Margaret and I headed for the bar, but they wouldn't let us sit at a table because they didn't want to have to clean up. Instead of getting all pissed off, we decided to go up to my room and hang out. I called Jeff Seiler to meet us, and went up to Lenny's room to let him know. When Lenny opened the door, he seemed to be in a flustered panic! (He was on the phone with his wife. Insert your own assumption based joke here).

We compared notes, were entertained by great stories from Jeff Seiler and Matt. Larry kicked off his shoes, feet up on the bed. Margaret receiving a steady stream of books to check out from my stash. Lenny was all over the place;) Here's an interesting pic of Lenny (thanks Pat). Insert your own funny caption!

The next morning, most of us met again in the lobby. Margaret had already left for her early flight, so Lenny, Larry, Jeff Seiler, his "stray puppy" Nicollette (her story is recounted elsewhere on the group), Pat and I got some breakfast. As we walked into the restaurant, there was Gerhard! (Dave was sequestered in his room). I turned to Ger as we walked in, saying "Don't worry, we won't bother you"

"Oh, that's OK!" he said, smiling.

It was actually Gerhard who initiated the converstaion, which then spiraled into subjects ranging from Cerebus, to remodeling of the house, to plane rides, to the lingering cold of last year's Summer (cutting short Ger's Summer of sailing), sailboats, on and on. A great capper to a fun weekend.

Larry and Jeff Seiler went with me and Pat back to the airport, Matt and Paula showed up and gave Nikki a ride home, and off we all went. On the way to the car, spotted this plate of spaghetti baking on the dash of a car in the parking lot. Must have smelled great in there;)

At the airport, we all went our seperate ways, Jeff and Larry going home, and Pat and I continuing on to Arizona and the Grand Canyon...

But that's another story.

Now, I need some sleep.