Free Comic Book Day 2015 came yesterday with one week to go before I leave southern Florida. I decided to make the most of it and go to Past Present & Future Comics in West Palm Beach because they were hosting a guest appearance by my favorite Transformer artist José Delbo. Stalking Mister Delbo over the last few years at all his public appearances made my time in SoFlo truly memorable. FCBD 2015 then was a bittersweet experience for me since this would be one of the last times I'd ever get to talk to the guy. But he'll be doing another appearance at a con the day before I leave Florida next week so hopefully we will have at least one more awkward con experience to share.
HOLY UNPREPARED FOR THIS ADVENTURE WE ARE BATMAN
Like the most dedicated of comics fans/relentless stalkers, up to this point I have just about every major Delbo Transformers book in my collection signed by him already. So in the weeks leading to this appearance I looked through his enormous catalog of work online and found two interesting non-Transformers, yet still 80s toy related books he'd done. The first was a Wheeled Warriors picture book called Message from Audric. I scored that one off eBay with plenty of time before Free Comic Book Day. The second comic was a lot more obscure and I barely found out about it the night before the show. It was a short 4 page promotional M.A.S.K. mini comic called "Secret of the Temple" that he penciled and Pablo Marcos inked. It came bundled with only eight specific DC comic book issues during the latter half of 1986. My only chance would be to search through the back issue bins at the comic shop to find at least one of the eight books I was looking for and hope the M.A.S.K. mini comic was still in it. This would never happen to Batman. I imagine if Bruce Wayne went to conventions he'd always be totally prepared with every book José Delbo book ever made in a giant rolling Bat Vault ready to get signed. I also imagine standing in line behind Bruce Wayne at conventions must really really suck.
COME FOR THE TRANSFORMERS, STAY FOR THE PEE PEE ROOM
So I get to the shop on Free Comic Day and I hit the back issues hard and lo and behold they had one of the comics I needed with the M.A.S.K. mini book inside. I take it over to his table and of course we start talking about Transformers. This was the first meeting I'd had with him since I went to East Coast Comic Con and saw Dave Hunt and Bob Budiansky. I played him a little clip of Dave Hunt saying hi that I recorded at ECCC and then I told him a story Bob Budiansky told me. Mister Delbo had a copy of The Transformers Universe trade paperback on his table and I laughed when I saw it and that's what brought up the Budiansky story. Mr. Budiansky told me that José asked to borrow his copy of the Transformers Universe TPB because it was a really good reference for Transformers characters and all the fans were asking him to draw these robots he hadn't done in over 20 years. José smiled and then in that Super Mario accent of his he asked me, 'Did Bob Budiansky tell you when I went to the pee pee room, too?' Now I've heard some great comic book writers tell really funny stories but I don't think I've ever laughed at anything as much as when I hear José Delbo say 'pee pee room'.
THERE ARE FEW MOMENTS IN LIFE WHEN THE RIGHT THING TO SAY IS NOT AMAZON GAZONGA
Now of course it is not enough for me to just get a signature. I always try to get some jokey little saying next to everything I ask anyone to sign. It's usually something I've thought up that ties into the item being signed. So for the M.A.S.K. book I had him write 'My pencil is the ultimate weapon!' and for the Wheeled Warriors book it was 'Keep on Rolling'. But then at his table he also had a really cool print he did of Wonder Woman riding Ravage. I was stunned and I bought one, but what to do for the witty saying? Then as I was stuck there trying to come up with something, a Wonder Woman cosplayer comes up to José's table and asks me what I'm doing. So I explain how I was trying to come up with a witty saying for my autographed print. Then she decides she wants a witty saying for her autographed print that has no Transformers on it at all! But the problem is neither she nor Delbo can remember any appropriately witty Wonder Woman sayings. Here's the part I don't understand-they then both looked at me and expected ME to know a witty Wonder Woman line! And they were both super disappointed when I couldn't come up with anything! 'AMAZON GAZONGA!' I should have said! 'TELL HIM TO WRITE AMAZON GAZONGA ON YOUR WONDER WOMAN'S TITS!'
I'VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY! I DREW TRANSFORMERS TODAY!
Somehow I was able to overcome José Delbo's disappointment in my lack of Wonder Woman knowledge and I made it out of there alive. I don't know what they were expecting-I don't know anything about regular women much less wonder ones. (Ask my wife.) In the end the Wonder Womanfan just had José write the first result she got from Googling 'Wonder Woman quotes' on her phone. Unfortunately for him it was a gigantic paragraph about justice and womanhood and strangling people with lassos, but he wrote it out like a true Amazonian. As for me, I had him write 'Ride the Lightning' on my Wonder Woman/Ravage print and I think it came out all right. My personal rule is that if you don't know what you want José Delbo to write, just whip out some Metallica and people will think you're witty and prepared. Or at least a lot of fun to be behind in line.
MORE PICTURES OF THIS MOMENTOUS OCCASION ARE AT THE ROBOFACIAL BOOKOCALYPSE