CRACK BANG BOOM CON, Argentina--PART TWO WHY IT ALWAYS PAYS TO TALK TO STRANGERS... 10.21.10 DAY TWO... Now i know that your mother told you not to talk to strangers, but here’s why it pays... First, I’m at breakfast in the hotel and this big guy in an Green Lantern t-shirt (ok, it was really a t-shirt from our competitors, but i’m trying to work in a plug here!) approaches me to say that he loves Vertigo, owns a store in LIMA, PERU where he’s organizing a show and would i like to be a guest next year?”.... hmm...let me check my schedule...uhhh, YEAH! Nice way to start the day...but with time to kill my lovely wife, Kiki and I decide to hit some antique shops. She’s an interior designer so every trip is a hunting expedition. On the street we pass a gaggle of people who are clearly comic book fans (i can smell the comic pheromones! They give us a wicked double take, but I figure they’re just checking out the obvious Americanos so i let it slide. Anyway, we dip into a cavernous architectural salvage shop and start to browse. A minute later this really nice young guy pops up from behind a dusty armoire and says in perfect English, “Aren’t you Will Dennis?” Now this happens to me all the time so i’m not at all put off by it....errr...this NEVER happens to me EVER (except sometimes my kids say it when i get home from work) so I’m sorta of stuck for an answer. But, i gather myself quickly and we start to talk. Come to find out, his name is Andre, he’s from Ohio but lives in Cordoba, Argentina and is here for the show. He one of the kids that passed us on the street minutes before – as we talk, all the other people start popping out from behind the furniture like ninjas! Hysterical! They want to know if we’ve had ASADO (Argentine BBQ) yet. I tell him “no” and they insist that they want to take us for some! They’re plan to pick us up at the hotel the next day and take us to lunch...Brian and Jim too if they like...i don’t know what to say other than “sure”. I’m so quick with the quips. Then like ninjas they are, they all sort of vanish. We’re not really sure what just happened but i think we’re going to Peru in the spring and having a cookout tomorrow. And it’s not even noon. I heart Argentina. Risso and Azz picked us up and we stopped at Eduardo’s studio since it’s right across from the convention center. It’s always exciting to see where my artists work – his studio is very neat and modern with a lovely view of the river and plenty of natural light. It’s filled with original art, photos, awards and a swank leather couch. Perfect. We hit the show about 4pm (so civilized!) and it’s a madhouse. I can’t walk ten feet without being stopped to sign an autograph (wth?!) or look at a portfolio. I have no idea what’s going on but clearly these people are starved for celebrities. haha...Actually, everyone is so warm and gracious and genuinely happy to see us there. It’s amazing. There’s the usual vendors and booths but the center-piece of the show is a large exhibition of Argentinean comic artists like Risso, Horacio Altuna, Ariel Olivetti, Marcelo Frusin, Juan Bobillo, Leo Fernandez and many more. It’s inside old railroad tunnels so it’s a very surreal space to look at art. In one corner of the space is a wall of works by someone named JIM LEE...the kid looks promising! I met Azz for el fresco beers and two fantastic things happened. First, we got a dog...yeah, you read that right ... a DOG. For some reason, wild dogs are all over Rosario. They wander around, lie in the streets and beg at cafes. Anyway, we had this big German Shephard come and plop down right at Brian’s feet like he just wanted a pal. Cute. Secondly, we saw someone order what we would later learn was called a SUPER PANCHO. Basically it’s a foot long hotdog covered with Pico de Gallo and French fries! Now i’m a bit of a hot dog connoisseur (my dream is to open my own hotdog stand someday) so i know i need to try one, but we’re late for dinner so it’ll have to wait... Dinner was again at 10pm...a beautiful “cafe” that we would get to know well called EL CAIRO. It’s part restaurant/part book shop/part performance space. An infamous hangout for comic artist and political cartoonists in Rosario. It’s teeming with people and the waiters are notorious for being cranky...but compared to New York, they’re as friendly as Care Bears. Jim gets accosted by some drunken fans from Peru and it causes a big stir with the Argentines. He’s his usual cool and gracious self and we avoid a rumble...for now. (heh heh) The talk turns to comics...sad, i know...and the line of the night is “They’re ALL villains!”. I won’t name names though...haha. I polish off some late night HELADO (ice cream) and we’re tucked in bed by 3AM. ZZZZZZ.... TOMORROW: WE VISIT THE NATIONAL BANK AND EAT TOO MUCH MEAT!