Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Fantastic Four Head to St Louis

The nature of reality has always interested me, especially when things in my past reverberate into the future. I am blessed by a very good memory so I can recall [with vivid clarity] many things in my past, but some things just seem to stick with me for reasons that only come clear later in my life.

In 1976 I was a teenager and an avid reader of books and American comics and recall [vividly] issue # 167 of The Fantastic Four thanks to a wonderful Jack Kirby cover featuring ‘The Hulk’ and ‘The Thing’ battling on the St. Louis Arch [see above cover © 1976 Marvel Comics]. That bold Jack Kirby image was awesome, as was the story written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by George Perez and Joe Sinnott, lettered by the wonderful Joe Rosen. The 1960’s and 1970’s of my memory are peppered by the books and comics I read, before the weight of responsibility that adulthood brought into my life. I recall at the time wishing to visit the St. Louis Arch, and wondering if I would ever get the opportunity to do so. Now that teenager is well into middle age, that the opportunity has finally arrived to see the St Louis Arch!

One of the wonderful aspects of being involved in the fandom side of the Crime and Thriller community is attendance at Conventions, especially the ‘Daddy’ which is Bouchercon. I have been fortunate thanks to my annual US trips to Thrillerfest and Bouchercon that I have visited the following cities and had excellent company on my travels -

2003 Bouchercon Las Vegas, Nevada [with ‘Grog’]
2006 Thrillerfest Phoenix, Arizona [with Stav Sherez]
2007 Thrillerfest New York [with Mike Stotter]
2008 Bouchercon Baltimore, Maryland [with Roger Ellory]
2009 Bouchercon Indianapolis, Indiana [with Roger Ellory]
2010 Bouchercon San Francisco, California [with Roger Ellory]

I haven’t listed the visits each year to Harrogate, Left Coast Crime [Bristol in 2006], The World Horror Convention [Brighton 2010] and other such events.

This year I have agreed to attend Crimefest in Bristol [England], Theakstons’ Crime-Writing Festival in Harrogate [England] and Bouchercon St Louis [Missouri]. I am delighted to be travelling to St Louis with my friends Roger [R.J.] Ellory and Shots Editor Mike Stotter as well as meeting up with Shots Social Media Editor Ayo Onatade – making up our own Fantastic Four.

It’s 2011 and I still recall vividly that young teenager, who sat transfixed in 1976 by issue #167 of The Fantastic Four, with that wonderful Jack Kirby cover of the battle on the St. Louis Archway; wondering if he would ever see St Louis.

I can report that, that teenager will indeed be visiting St Louis, but as a middle-aged man, who still has not lost his sense of wonder that only Comics and Books can bring to the imagination.

So I hope to see many of you there, especially my pal, writer / editor Gerald So because apart from seeing the St Louis Archway - finally Gerald and Ali go to White Castle!

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