ENTER THE NICE COMIC CONVENTION ZONE – THE 2018 EXPLORATION BEGINS!

When separate invitations to be a part of two titanic overseas comic conventions came to me, from Bedford, England to Madrid, Spain, I felt the imperative to finally find my way to Sweetwater Nessie and the Highlands in Scotland.  You cannot have the last name McGregor (even if you are really a mongrel with Swiss, English, French in you) and not feel a kinship with that land that has so much Scottish history and mythology assigned to the place.This begins part of that journey, from meeting Jeff Chalal and Bub Chalal who run the yearly NICE COMIC CONVENTION from their home area of Bedford, England.  From all the newfound friends we found there, and the fans we met at the convention, to our leaving for other, distant destinations, it was filled with experiences we never imagined when the year began.I finally found this photo that was taken during the NICE COMIC CONVENTION in Bedford, England before we left for London and then Scotland and the Highlands and Loch Ness and then Amsterdam and the Red Light District and then Paris and Thierry Mornet and landing finally at the Madrid Heroes Con where George Pratt and I re-met after more than 3 decades.

Here, through the kindness of Seema Chalal, who asked Marsha what she would like to do while in England and Marsha said she wanted to go to a London Afternoon Tea.
Seema made her wish come true, with great warmth and kindness to both of us.
And Bub Chahal joined us.

One of the first moments that Marsha Lee McGregor and I would experience over the next month, starting a journey that would be more profound and extensive than we could ever suspect.

I had to make sure this afternoon delight did not get lost.
Thank you, Seema.
Thank you, Bub Chahal.
Yeah.
I know.
You’re the shy brother.
Don McGregor

Image may contain: 4 people, including Don McGregor, people smiling, people sitting, people standing and food
Bub Chahal is with Don McGregor at Bedford Swan Hotel.

September 5Bedford, United KingdomDon contemplating English Tea. There was no hidden steak or burger on the stand…

Image may contain: 2 people, including Don McGregor, people sitting, food and indoor

Marsha and I are in the GEORGE AND DRAGON PUB that Bub and Seema Chalal took us, too for dinner.
Bub’s comic store Assistant Manager, Katy Haughey holds onto her head, probably not half believing what she has heard at this table.

Bub Chalal marched Joe Ackerman and I to his unique comic book store in the midst of Bedford, England.  The store is a comic book oasis in the setting of trees and swan swaying rivers not far from the English Afternoon Tea.Bub carries the new stuff, and the old stuff, and in between.What more could you ask for from a guy who loves comics and works a place where you can find and revel in them and most important, buy them and help keep the medium alive.This is in Bub Chalal’s second floor upper inner sanctum at the comic book store.  This must be where all the big senses shattering comic book decisions get made.  Apparently Joe Ackerman is listening to me expound upon the definition of “senses shattering.”

Doing the NICE convention during the day.

Meeting the readers and new people who are just experiencing the books for the first time.

I told Jeff Chahal not to worry if there were lines.

I would spend as much time with the people waiting when they got to the table.

I try to give everything I have in that moment of time to the people who believed in the books

and took them to heart.

Two of the men who help Jeff and Bub Chalal make their NICE COMIC CON run smoothly, and who made me feel very welcome in their home base, Rob and Ben Campbell.  Somebody somewhere is probably asking me if I can stand still for a minute.  And as I used to tell my pal, Rich Buckler, many times:  “Apparently not.”

Don trying a true English Delicacy…..Black Pudding! #blackpudding #donmcgregor #englishfood

Katy Haughey So this is where you ran off to! Bring me back a coffee and a sausage sandwich?

Dave Haworth Black pudding is utter rubbish.
Ed Gauthier “For years Frank had scoured the globe for the most disgusting dishes, but it wasn’t until he landed in the UK that he finally spotted dick.”
Michael Shipley Ah,the ole spotted dick.
Martin Gately Black Panther creator versus black pudding. There can be only one victor…

Jerry Paris God, don’t eat anything on that plate, Don! Anemic eggs, a cheapo mainly filler sausage and black pudding which is just a plate-filler dare. That is not British food!!! Take him somewhere for a proper breakfast!! Godolphin Hotel, Marazion in Cornwall does a great Cornish breakfast with a glorious view of St Michael’s Mount whilst you eat. Fresh eggs, local sausages and bacon… pots of tea or fresh coffee… toast with a selection of jarred jams, honey and marmalade… fresh fruit… pancakes. Don’t torture the man– he’s traveled a long way to be here! LOL!

Bub Chahal Hah! He had English tea at the Swan Hotel by the embankment but this morning he just wanted scrambled eggs.
Andrew Carr I love black pudding
Jim Brazell Don’t do it Don!
Martyn C Whitby Try the bubble and squeek
Dan Blair How long are you overseas ?
Ruth and I are in Amsterdam Thurs-Sat and then Berlin until Monday and then Prague for 5 days

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Joe Ackerman and me having a deep, metaphysical, intense discussion on, what else?

Comic books!

In the hotel lounge when the clock is heading toward midnight.

aw, mate! what a night! thank you, Don & Marsha. you made a grumpy old man very happy.
A meeting of great minds 😂
You’re a saint for putting up with him Don.
Hope he didn’t go too Cockney on you.
The legendary Don McGregor and the Mighty Joe Ackerman! Two great guys!
Joe’s comments on his Facebook page should be added to get the full picture:

look at me trying to be all cool. don’t say fuck or bugger, Joe. whatever you do, don’t say fuck or bugger.

me & Don McGregor. did I mention I met Don McGregor? that’s him there. awesome.

And on that note, we end our time in Bedford.

Next we will be in a ROOM WITH A VIEW OF THE TOWER BRIDGE AND AN UNEXPECTED SURPRISE IN THE MIDST OF LONDON WHERE WE ENCOUNTER BILLY GRAHAM WHICH WE COULD NEVER HAVE PREDICTED

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THE DWAYNE MCDUFFIE DIVERSITY AWARD SHOW and THE LONG BEACH CALIFORNIA COMIC CON

It is 1:03 am.
I am finally back where I can respond beyond an emoticon.
I have no voice left.
I fought the cold from the time I left for LA
to the presentation night for the Dwayne (Charlotte Fullerton) McDuffie Diversity Awards show.   

The cold started in my chest the day before we left for the airport.

Marsha and I were able to get on the plane on time, only to be taken off due to fog in Detroit where we had to make a connecting flight.

7 hours later  we were finally allowed back on the plane.  This meant when we finally did arrive in Detroit we had missed our connecting flight.

We did not get into LA until 3am our time, midnight LA time.

The cold had progressed so that my voice was now a rasp, that of a really old guy whose voice was threatened to silence.

And that night, I would have to speak to the audience for Dwayne McDuffie and Charlotte Fullerton.  My voice was gravel, churning in my throat.

I had decided that I would wear a Black Panther T-Shirt under my button down shirt since it was opening night for the movie.  I thought it would be a fun idea to start with a professed strip-tease and reveal the Panther underneath to the people. I hoped Charlotte wouldn’t kill me.  Fortunately, when I did it, people laughed and chapped, and I raised my arms, from what I can see, so that I looked like a revivalist minister from a Neil Diamond song.

 

Charlotte said it went over great, and I sighed relief.

But the cold persisted.

I had 3 panels to do for the Long Beach California Comic Con over the next two days.  

I had Ivan Cohen, who guided me to the panels and my table get me some DayQuil and slugged it down as the table was swarmed with people.  Somehow most of them managed to hear me over the comic con medlee of blended voices. You know the sound if you’ve been at a big con.

Over the next day and night I would meet with some of my favorite people.

Michael Davis.

Mike Mayhew.

Dwayne and Robbin and Miles Turner.

And then the next day do a 2 hour Black Panther Round-table Discussion with Ryan Coogler, Nate Moore, Joe Robert Cole, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Don McGregor, Christopher Priest.  

I woke up that morning with no voice!

Not even a whisper.

This was panic time, because if I could not speak, I could not represent not just me, not just PANTHER’S RAGE, but also Rich Buckler and Billy Graham.  

I was the last voice standing.

But the voice was still, the gravel in my throat like congealed cement.

Gradually, as the day progressed, the croaking frog voice came back.  It was going to be One Froggy Evening. Looney Tunes fans will get the reference.


That’s all for now, but I had to show-case this photo from standing up a strip-teasing the Black Panther for Dwayne McDuffie and me and the crowd. I’m glad Charlotte and the audience seemed to like it.
I get a kick out of champagne…Wait.
I mean this photo.

Don McGregor

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