Con Report: Days of the Dead ’18

Last weekend I went to my first Days of the Dead convention. This story actually begins years ago, since that’s how long I’ve been planning to go to this convention with fellow author Matthew Vaughn. Vaughn’s an author, artist, and a great guy, but in the last few weeks he suddenly had to back out. So there I am with a table and two wristbands in my hand, and what happens? TWO Italian-blooded psychos bang down my door and invite themselves to my home state. What the hell, I figured. Let the barbarians in the gate.

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I’ve known John Wayne Comunale for a few years now. He’s a top level dude. He’s in a band, he writes, he’s covered in tattoos, and he loves evil. He came all the way from Texas to help me sell books, drink beer, and sing the fuck out of some karaoke. Then came Mike Lombardo. Mike is… insane. He’s a writer, director, and special effects artist whose mind has been injected by our creator with nitroglycerin and dick jokes. The man’s a mythical creature, and I set him loose on Days of the Dead mixed up with John Wayne’s evil punkness and my own hulking weirdocity. They were not ready for us.

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Mike’s like a carnival barker. That motherfucker can SELL, and what he was selling were faces. Bloody, shredded latex face masks that we put dead center on our table. It got people’s attention almost without fail, and a few ladies even hid it from view as they passed by. John Wayne had books and records and I had all of my usual wares. Between the three of us we morphed into a triple-headed dragon of shameless self-promotion and hard sells. I promised to suck a woman’s dick if she bought my book, and she wound up buying John Wayne’s book instead, so just imagine what he must have promised. That’s how hard we were going.

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In the midst of so many horror nerds dressed up as their favorite serial killers (real or fictional), rotten corpses, patch-covered punks, or good old fashioned goth chicks, we not only impressed them with our tenacious stupidity, but also all the tables around us. The guy from Vinegar Syndrome (which sells kickass old horror flicks restored to bluray) kept coming over to express how he admired our ability to make damn fools of ourselves. He asked me what animal I thought I was, and I almost said orangutan but wound up saying moose instead. He called me Moose for the rest of the weekend. Probably still does. Across from us was Terminus City gifts, very kind folks who helped me navigate some of the con’s parking policies and sold me a gift for my wife. On the last day, Mike, John Wayne, and I really ramped things up to make a few last minute sales. One lady bought something from each of us and we sang her praises for the rest of the day (WE LOVE YOU, DAWN, SERIOUSLY). Then we did some actual singing. First we honed in on “Crossroads” by Bone Thugs N Harmony, which everyone knows leads to hours of entertainment. Then I led John Wayne in a rendition of “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys with no harmony at all. Then more Crossroads jokes. Then, my energy nearly spent, Mike broke out in the theme song for Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and I did my best to keep up. Then more Crossroads jokes. Then I gathered up my swag and bid farewell to all my new and old friends.

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That’s right. Horror movies, short films, John Wayne’s latest book, some cartoons, and hot sauce by Billy Mitchell. Despite being a greedy backstabbing son of a bitch, he makes a pretty good hot sauce.

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