Aaaaaaaaand THEY'RE BACK, Ladies and Gentlemen!!

As the sun rose over San Diego, CA on the morning of July 17th, 2003, the PIRATE COVE crew were racing headlong for the convention center in anticipation of Comic Con!

Packed into the backseat of Joe's Jeep were over 2000 copies of the 2003 San Diego Comic Con Edition PIRATE COVE Sampler Comic (see image to the left,) 500 PIRATE COVE refrigerator magnets, and a couple standees of Joe and Brian (dressed in full Bigfoot garb, natch!)

Along for the ride this time around were Joe D'Angelo (writer/artist,) John Arscott (commonly known as Webmaster John,) Randy Carter (Pirate Cove Message Board Moderator,) and Jon Bailey (Host of the PIRATE COVE archives server.)

As usual, Comic Con was a veritible madhouse this year. Thank God there were four of us to man the PIRATE COVE table because there were always so many things we all wanted to see!

Thursday got off to a great start when Joe moseyed over to the Exhibitor Check-In booth only to be greeted by a Comic Con volunteer who reads the strip regularly! After claiming their badges, Joe and Randy set up camp at Small Press East table V-10 just as the doors to the Con were opened to the public. Joe immediately abandoned the table to jump onto line to purchase the Convention-Exclusive Boba Fett figure which was probably for the best since the line ended up extending past the PIRATE COVE table, winding off into the distance of the immense exhibitor's hall. The day progressed much like the previous year, except this time we had the added bonus of people who had actually READ the series coming over to the table! A "one per person" limit had to be imposed on the magnets as supplies were limited this year and people felt the need to grab as many as they could (one guy bolted over to the table, swept the displayed magnets into his open bag, grabbed 2 copies of the sampler comic, and moved on to the next tables so fast, it barely had time to register what had just happened!)

In a drop-dead tired stupor, Joe and Randy checked into their hotel where they finally met up with John & Jon who had been traveling forever from Colorado. Joe was pleased to discover that the bathroom contained a jacuzzi but sadly had to report to the others not to use it: the jacuzzi launched water high into the air and across the length of the bathroom for about 15 seconds before Joe managed to turn the thing off... time enough to drench anything and everything within sight!

Friday was a bit calmer. The diehards who had arrived on Thursday now had their sights set on obtaining the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE exclusive Keldor figure (if you want a bit of light reading, ask Randy what he thinks of convention exclusives over on the message board.) The lighter load of traffic at the table also allowed more time for everyone to explore the convention hall, dine at The Tin Fish, and for Joe to buy some Micronauts from the Palisades Toys booth (see his restraint in the photo to the left.) Dinner that evening brought everyone to Dick's Last Resort in the Gaslamp District where everyone got to witness a bunch of men running by in red dresses, Randy got a tray thrown at him by a waitress, and PIRATE COVE fan Larry (who joined us halfway through the day) won $20 from Randy after drinking a hideous concoction of beer, lemon juice, tartar sauce, tabasco, and probably some kind of meat.

Saturday was the busiest day as evidenced by the Boba Fett line which was now being tended to by a variety of Jedi and Stormtroopers. Larry got into the spirit of things and began handing out PIRATE COVE sampler comics to those waiting in the 3-hour-plus line. A certain strip of PIRATE COVE continued to do its job as one mother came over to the table to return the book, furious over our letting her 8-year old read it (see: November 12th, 2002.) While Joe did sketches and chatted with the readers who found their way to the convention from as far as England, Randy and Webmaster John diligently handed out comics, doing their best to avoid the question "what's it about?" (If you can answer this, PLEASE let us know!)
Several new fans who had just read the comic for the first time when handed the sampler comic on Thursday returned to the table on Saturday to express their enthusiasm which really made our day! After all, this was why we were there in the first place! Alas, Weird Al did not show up again this year. Perhaps we'll get that photo next year!

Sunday found the whole convention winding down and packing it in. One last lunch at The Tin Fish, one last shuttle ride back to the hotel, and everyone was back on the road to Los Angeles. For a little while, anyway. Traffic was so bad that we pulled over for lunch in the hope that things would clear up by the time we were done. It didn't. Welcome to Los Angeles.

On one hand, it would be nice if Comic Con were not limited to only four days a year. On the other hand, four days is more than enough! Either way, we're already making plans for next year's trip! PIRATE COVE was the first Comic Con 2004 applicant from the Small Press section so I'd LOVE to see them try to tell us we didn't get our application in on time again!

Thanks to everyone who helped us out, to those at Comic Con who make this all possible, and especially to the readers who support our ridiculous behaviour year after year! Without y'all, what would be the point? Hope to see you next year!!
Joe and Webmaster John make an offer you can't refuse!
Joe shows great restraint in purchasing only a select FEW Micronauts...
Wolvie must like the comic. He's not shredding it and using for toilet paper.