ELFQUEST
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RichardPini

It occurs to me that I haven't posted the long version yet, so here's what happened: 1984 was a big year for Elfquest and travel, as the original saga concluded with issue #20, out September of that year. There were many convention invitations, and one of them came from ConQuest, held across the big pond in Britain, to be followed by several signings at comics shops there and in Scotland. Morgan Gallagher was our contact and native guide, and prior to our travel she phoned to ask if Wendy or I had any dietary considerations. I alerted her to Wendy's allergy to peanuts, and said I was OK with just about anything. She asked if I liked pizza. I replied, "Absolutely! Love it!" She said there was pizza in Scotland I would not like. This sounded like a challenge to me, so I maintained there was no such thing. She said, "We'll see." Fast forward to the Science Fiction Bookshop in Edinburgh. Wendy and I have been in the U.K. about a week and some, have benefited from lovely fan hospitality, and have sampled some of the best Italian, and some of the worst Chinese, cuisine I can recall. Halfway through the signing, there was a minor tumult at the door to the shop, and in marched a band of conspirators carrying a formless something all wrapped up in newspaper. Inside was a ... thing ... the very Scottish pizza I'd been warned about. Apparently my first reaction was one of shock at the sight. We were told that "chip shop" pizza was a relatively new offering by those eateries that sold traditional fish and chips. But to avoid having to invest in all new equipment (like real pizza ovens) these shops simply took pre-made, frozen Frisbees of dough, dabbed a bit of (unseasoned) tomato sauce on top, sprinkled some nondescript cheese bits over that, and then tossed the entire assembly into the scalding and fragrant grease in which they otherwise cooked the fish and the chips (fries, on this side of the Atlantic). After some minutes, they snagged the thing out, sprinkled malt vinegar over it, wrapped it in newsprint, ready to go. Morgan, upon seeing the look on my face, expressed something to the effect of, "Told you so." But she - everyone - had reckoned without my personal code: If you challenge me in matters gastronomic, and I accept, I WILL win, whatever the cost. (Wendy, on the other hand, burdened by no such silliness, consented to one tiny, exploratory nibble, and then announced, "Not even if I was starving in the desert would I eat this!") So, over the course of perhaps half an hour, I did in point of fact eat the entire. Damned. Thing. I have standards to uphold. The crowd was skeptical, but impressed. (Or pitying, I never knew.) Wendy said to me, "You'll be up at 2 AM, praying at the porcelain altar." She was wrong. I managed to hang on until 3 AM. And that (as they say) is the rest of the story.