Jekyll Comic Con in Jekyll Island, Georgia was a smash hit. Here’s a brief, not really, recap of the awesome adventure.
A few months ago, my author friend, and let’s face it, my writing IDOL, Armand Rosamilia, invited me to join him at Jekyll Con as an author peddling his wares. The catch? I had to pick up master storyteller, Jay Wilburn, on the way. And then I had to agree to spend the weekend at Armand’s house with his lovely wife, Shelly. After a nanosecond of thought, I jumped on the opportunity.
The weekend was memorable for so many reasons? For instance, did you know that if you drive through the middle of the night on I95, you could avoid the traffic snarls in Baltimore and D.C.? Well, you can! And did you know that South Carolina is a state that lasts for weeks as you drive through it? Well, it does!
At about 7:30 pm on Wednesday evening, I hugged and kissed my wonderful family and said goodbye. The excitement was tremendous as I filled up with gasoline and Dunkin Donuts coffee. The car packed to capacity, I struck out on the boring corridors of the NJ Turnpike and headed south. As I drove I enjoyed some writing podcasts to pass the time and continue my education.
As the clock reached 6:30 am on Thursday morning, I pulled into Jay Wilburn’s driveway in South Carolina. He was ready to go and his cuter-than-pie sons were up and at ’em, ready to tackle another day of school. I tried to absorb some of their energy as we still had about six hours of driving ahead of us. We packed the car with Jay’s gear and hit the road for Jacksonville.
When we pulled up to Armand’s house in Jacksonville, my hero greeted me with a Red Sox tee shirt. The man knows I am a Yankee fan and he couldn’t wait to stick it to me some more. Nice greeting, pal. My love for the man quickly brushed aside the sore feelings and we took a tour of his beautiful home. At the end of the tour, Armand informed me I would be staying in the Red Sox room. That’s right. A whole room decorated in Red Sox paraphernalia. I knew sleeping would be more difficult than it was for the boy in the movie Poltergeist with the clown doll staring at him all night. Ay, Papi! As in Big Papi.
Thursday afternoon, Armand took Jay and I to Subculture Corsets in the Avenues Mall to visit the lovely ladies and buy some gear for book signings and conventions. I bought two great shirts to add to my collection. Then I fawned over the display cases of Armand’s books, trying to figure out which books I didn’t own yet. Sadly, I own them all so I had no new books to buy.
Thursday night, the Hands, the most wonderful family in Jacksonville, Florida, and owners of Subculture Corsets Store, joined us for Shelly’s southern style dinner. It was so delicious and we shared many laughs as we talked about Jersey, where Mr. Hand also hails from.
Friday morning, we stopped at Metro Diner for a fantastic breakfast before heading to the convention center to setup for the weekend. Metro Diner is made famous by Guy Fieri, and of course, their awesome food and service. We arrived at the convention center to find a massive building, decorated beautifully, and the convention staff were extremely organized and friendly. Armand, Jay and I trucked our boxes into the place and set up our tables for the show. Shelly helped me merchandise my table as I clearly did it wrong. There is a science to displaying your books in a pleasing fashion, and I took heed of Shelly’s direction and suggestions. The woman knows how to sell books.
Friday night, we went to dinner at a Brazilian steak house. Armand warned me in advance that I would suffer the “meat sweats” if I ate too much. After enjoying several pounds of meats, I skipped past the meat sweats right to the “avoid-throwing-up-all-over-the-table-in-front-of-everyone-stage.” True story. I nearly lost it mid-chew. But I managed to save myself from embarrassment.
Saturday morning, we arrived at the convention center and found a line around the building. So many people had shown up, hours early, to wait in a long line JUST TO SEE ME! Not really. But the line was impressive and promised a great day ahead. The Cosplay costumes were pretty cool, too.
We sold a bunch of books and met many great people. Some folks bought books. Some just talked to us. It didn’t matter. It was still fun being at the convention and soaking in the excitement of the costumed patrons and the buzz of excited children rushing to see all the toys and comics on display. Armand and I had a little Jersey pissing match (for fun) with Michael Zapcic of Comic Book Men fame. I took pictures of us with various Cosplay characters and then found it challenging to load the pictures onto all the social media platforms. Armand made sure to point out my failing every thirty seconds or so for the rest of the weekend. He is the king of ball-busting. My man-crush on him allowed me to brush away the tears of pain. And just when I composed myself, Jay would chime in. Together, Jay and Armand have perfected the art of cutting one to the quick.
Saturday night, with aching feet and scratchy voices, we grabbed a quick dinner at Dick’s Wings. The food was awesome and I had some sort of smokey-honey-BBQ-nuclear-hot sauce which had tons of flavor and just enough heat to make my eyes water.
Sunday morning, we hit Metro Diner for another awesome breakfast before returning to the convention center. Surprisingly, another long line was waiting for us as we walked in the door. Armand and Jay took it in stride. I tried to act all important and famous as I passed the entire line and walked into the building. Nobody cared.
Sunday was a little slower than Saturday but we still sold some books and met more wonderful people. We even ribbed Michael Zapcic some more and took pictures with other Cosplay stars. The day came to an end and we packed up all the banners and swag for another day. But the day was far from over. We recorded a Jekyll Con wrap-up episode for The Mando Method Podcast with special guest JAY WILBURN. And then I was a guest on an episode of Arm Cast Podcast with SHELLY ROSAMILIA and JAY WILBURN.
The fun didn’t end there. Shelly made us her WORLD FAMOUS taco bar for dinner. Mimzie and Tom Hand rejoined us with beautiful daughter, Ashley, and her Uber-chill husband, Drake. The man’s beard is more than worthy, too! Plus, Mimzie’s mother, possibly the sweetest little lady you could meet, came along. She laughed so much, it was infectious.
Five or six tacos later, I plopped on the couch to laugh and digest. Great times with even better folks.
Monday morning, Jay and I began the long trek north. We relived some of the best moments of the weekend and immediately missed our wonderful hosts – Armand and Shelly. They are two of the nicest, and most-giving people I have met since joining the author community. Hopefully, they will have me back someday. I promise, next time I will leave my camo footsie pajamas at home!
Funniest meme of the trip was MEAT BANANAS. Don’t ask us to explain. Just trust us, it is very funny and can be used in almost any social setting. Preferably, where folks are the stuffiest. HAHA. I hope you enjoyed this post. And get your ass to Jekyll Con next year because we will be there again.