I got up at 3:45 A.M. to get ready and pick up Chew and Klay Hillz. After several cups of coffee and a few good-morning-I'm-to-tired-raise-my-hand-high-fives we left Columbus and headed for Athens at 5:15 A.M. We rocked out to Chew's new and soulful 80's mix-tape: Horseradish Hairnets Part I (featuring the likes of Hall & Oates, Prince, Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson, and Sheila E.). We stopped for Gas and Donuts and discussed Geek topics. We finally arrived in Athens at 8:30 A.M. (I'm sure we could have gotten there sooner, but I obnoxiously observed the speed limit -- sorry, Klay).
There was already a line at the 40watt club and it continued to grow as we stood waiting. By 10:45 A.M. we estimated about 60 to 70 people were in line trying to get tables. If there is no pre-registration next year, I would really suggest (to anyone reading this and planning on going) to arrive early. We rented a whole table this year due to Chew's non-stop-I-need-to-create-comics-and-art-all-day-long pathological tendencies (yes, I'm jealous). Yep. That's right. Chew had (count 'em) five new books on display this year. Klay spent the three weeks leading up to Fluke printing Chew's books. Chew's books look amazing. If you haven't picked up a copy, I'm telling you, you're missing out.
Speaking of books, we made it into the Fluke Anthology this year! Our little five-page story is titled Harold and starts on page 12. The anthology features stories by Drew Weing, Joey Weiser, Falynn K & Kevin Burkhalter, David Mack (and many others) and is full of comic book goodness.
Athens was like a ghost town this year (Easter weekend). Not so inside the 40watt club. With an attendance of over 400 people this year, you could feel the entire place buzzing with excitement. We sold, we laughed, had some coffee, and met some really cool people. Chew left for an hour and sold more books during his absence then when he was behind the table (I think it's part of his sales strategy). Fluke wrapped up a little before 6 P.M. and we headed over to Bizarro Wuxtry and sold some more of our books – and immediately spent the money on their graphic novel collection.
We stopped for dinner at Little Italy and attempted to eat a 18"x18" super- thick-deep-dish-crust pepperoni pizza. We're grown men. And we were hungry. We stuffed ourselves and still had two slices left over!
We left Athens at 8 P.M. Chew and Klay let me listen to the original 13 part NPR Star Wars Radio Drama on the way back and I got giddy like a 11 year-old school girl and I was totally geeking out. We stopped for some more coffee (which was horrible), talked about the day and listened to Klay snore softly in the backseat.
I'd like to thank a couple of people before I wrap this up:
Patrick Dean and friends: Thank you for creating such a cool event. Chew and I look forward to coming every year and it's getting better and bigger every single year. You guys have created something special.
Steve: Thank you for the Blake 7 DVD collection. For you to remember our conversation last year and go through all of the trouble ... you rock. Send me your e-mail and address. You're getting free books for life.
Roger (Our fan club president): It's one thing to buy our books when they come out. It's a whole other thing to drive 3 and half hours and bus friends to Athens to support the home team. Thank you. Roger is relocating to New York next week, so we wish him the best of luck and much deserved success.
Klay: Thanks for printing all the books and coming along. It would not have been the same without you. Hopefully, you all will see some of Klay's comics next year (nudge, nudge).
The Car Rental Company: Thanks for upgrading the car for free when you ran out of compacts. The upgrade was a gas-guzzler but it was roomy, quiet and comfortable.
The wives and kids: Thanks for letting us be geeks, letting us go, and sitting patiently as we recount the day's awesomeness in excruciating detail during breakfast the next day.
The Aztecs, Incas and/or any South American Indian Tribe: Whichever tribe started brewing and guzzling coffee first ... Thank you. This trip would have been impossible without drinking large amounts of hot, steamy Java.
Thanks to everyone who came by our table. Whether you bought a book, traded or just stopped by to say hello, we really appreciate it and hope to see you next year.
– Jeff Tuffenstuff
|Chew's workin' the table|
|Our table at Fluke|
Klay's reading his free Fluke Anthology
Club President Roger and Dan