Sunday, December 9, 2018

Tank N Tummy #10

The milk delivery truck pulled up to the Tank N Tummy and the milkman got out. He went to the back of the truck and loaded the cases of dairy products onto a hand cart and wheeled it into the store. “Hey, Aaron. How are you doing today?”

“Hey, Milkman Dan.”

“Aaron, I have a story for you,” Milkman Dan and Aaron went into the cooler behind the dairy section and Dan began to reorganize the milk crates. “I have three girlfriends, their names are Doe, Rey, and Me.”

“I see where this is going,” Aaron smiled.

“On our anniversary,” Dan continued, “each one wants to celebrate differently. Doe lets me have sex with her. Rey lets me do butt stuff. Which one gives me a blowjob?”

Aaron rolled his eyes. “Me. Me gives you a blowjob.”

“I knew you liked sucking dick,” Dan said.

“I hate you, Milkman Dan.”

Dominic and Ryan walked into the convention center. Inside they saw many people in costumes, some in some sort of comic book attire, and very few dressed like they were--in a simple t-shirt and jeans. “It’s been awhile since I’ve been to one of these,” Dominic said. “When did dressing up in costumes become popular?”

“I’m only here for the comics,” Ryan said. “And you’re here to feast your eyes on some...cow woman?”

“Her name is Momohei. Well, that’s her professional name. Her real name is Melanie and she’s not here as a cow. That’s just the picture I showed you because it’s so good. She’s dressed as some anime character today.”

“I can’t believe you’re going to pay money to get a picture of yourself with her,” Ryan chuckled.

“Eh, whatever. I’m gonna find the cosplay meet-and-greets. I’ll meet you inside in a little bit,” Dominic said and began walking down the hallway.

Ryan turned and went into the giant warehouse where the sellers were. He began walking through the crowd and peering at the boxing, clearly looking for a specific kind. At the fourth booth, Ryan went up to a couple boxes of comics and began flipping through the Ray Man books. Ryan pulled out Ray Man numbers 2, 5, 17, and 26. He thumbed a bit further and his eyes grew wide. “Whoa. The 1983 miniseries,” he pulled out the six issues. “I’ve been looking for these for years.”

“You like Ray Man?” the seller came up to Ryan.

“I’ve been collecting Ray Man stuff for years. I have a full run of his original anthology comic Thunder Comics and his first self-titled 1942 to 1956 series.”

“Wow. How’d you get those? They aren’t Superman or Batman pricey but they’ll run you a few dollars.”

“My grandpa collected them and he gave them to my dad who then gave them to me. I have almost every issue of his 1971 to 1979 series but I’m missing number 15 and numbers 87 through 95.”

“So you’re missing the end of the series. Yeah, the publisher printed very few of those issues because no one was buying it. I used to have issue 90 but someone bought it.”

“I’ve heard the last few issues are insane,” Ryan said. “Probably because they were getting canceled.”

“I’ve heard that too. Number 90 was odd. These two weird aliens were creating their own monsters by drawing them and then sending them to Earth to fight Ray Man,” the seller said.

“Isn’t issue 91 where Ray Man goes to the Seventh Dimension? I’ve heard about that plotline. The Seventh Dimension made a return in the 1989 graphic novel. It was not a great story but I’m glad it did well enough to get Ray Man another series.”

“That 1990 to 2006 series was terrible,” the seller said.

“Okay, now we have a problem,” Ryan pointed his finger at the seller.

Dominic stood in line with dozens of other people waiting to see, talk to, and get a photo with Momohei. Dominic thought that he probably looked pretty good compared to the other guys standing in line but then he reminded himself that he was still standing in line with these other guys. He kept his eyes forward and waited for the line to move enough so that he could see Momohei. He also saw a table of 8x10 prints of her in various costumes. One was of her in her cow suit. They were ten bucks apiece, fifteen if you wanted it signed.

When Dominic got close to the table, he grabbed a cow print. Momohei got done posing with another girl in cosplay. Momohei was wearing some blue armor thing from something and a blonde wig. She then had her picture taken with the next two guys in line and then it was Dominic’s turn.

“Just the print?” she asked.

Dominic had heard her speak on her social media videos but she did not sound like he imagined. Her voice had a more lilting quality to it and also an accent that he couldn’t quite place. “Signed. And a picture,” Dominic said.

“That’ll be $25, please. Name?” Momohei took the print and a marker off the table.

“Dominic,” he answered.

“All right, Dominic. Just give your phone to Emma and she’ll take the picture,” Momohei said.

Dominic unlocked his phone and opened the camera before handing his phone to Emma. He and Momohei posed as Emma took three pictures on his phone. “Look, Momo--Melanie, I just want you to know that you are one of the ones on social media that make me happy. You make me smile. It’s nice to see you having fun and entertaining others and just giving us a look inside your life. Thanks,” Dominic said after he got his phone back from Emma.

“Thank you, Dominic. That’s really nice to hear,” Momohei smiled at him.

“Thanks for the signature and pictures,” Dominic said and walked away. “I was normal, right?” he asked himself. “I was so why do I think I sounded like a complete idiot?”

“What’s wrong with the 1990 series? It was the best since the 1940s series,” Ryan said.

“It changed all his villains into a 90s caricature and focused too much on his romantic life. I stopped reading after he got married,” the seller said. “Superheroes are never as good after they get married. It’s the last good idea before stories just start becoming different variations of earlier stories and it’s not even that good of an idea.”

“That’s true for any long-running thing? How is any superhero different after they get married?”

“Like Peter Parker could get a girl like Mary Jane,” the seller scoffed.

“The reason comic book marriages work is because it shows growth for the character but also because most comic book marriages show a progression of a relationship. Peter Parker and Mary Jane are kind of confidants pushed together by their aunts, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are co-workers competing for the same stories. Cyclops has some kind of redhead and/or telepathy fetish. Not once did those series change when the characters got married,” Ryan explained.

“I suppose and they did do a good job of establishing Ray Man’s relationship with Donna so I can’t complain about that too much.”

“And if you read all the issue like I have then you realize that the 1990 series harkens back to the 1940s when Donna was portrayed almost like Ray Man’s equal. The 1970s version made her a caricature of her former self.”

“What are you two talking about?” Dominic came up to the booth.

“Did you get your picture?” Ryan asked.

Dominic held up the signed print of Momohei in the cow costume. “You tell me,” he replied. “What are you talking about?” he asked again.

“We’re talking about Ray Man and his marriage to Donna,” Ryan said.

“Ugh. I hated that. It ruined the series. I stopped reading after that and can’t believe it lasted seven more years after that happened,” Dominic shook his head.

Ryan looked at the seller who was smiled and kind of chuckling. He looked back at Dominic. “I hate you, Dominic.”