Date: Saturday, 3rd February 2001
Place: Choy's Inn, 90-92 Hay Street, Haymarket
Guest Speaker: Walter Simonson, Freelance comic-book artist from the US
This Dinner was timed to coincide with Comicfest which was inconveniently close to Dinner #5. Tony Di Dio will testify to my misgivings about this and the potential for the corruption of our Club by comic people who didn’t have The Phantom at the top of their list. My misgivings dissipated somewhat when I discovered the upper room at Choy’s 1000AD in Sydney’s Chinatown. Dark timber décor, ample seating, our own bar and toilet facilities and our own waiters made this a real Explorer’s Club!
My misgivings resurfaced when, after an hour of waiting, formalities were commenced without the benefit of our guest speaker’s presence. This necessitated a quick change in the Speech of Welcome.
We were overwhelmed by new faces. Particularly welcome was Nigel Johnson of Phantom Price Guide fame who finally made it, armed with Price Guides for the Goody Bag! Anthony Gillies, down for the Comicfest from Darwin, discovered us by accident and joined us with his two sons Anthony and Stephen. Posing with Glenn Ford was a highlight for the two boys and in Anthony we have a worthy new Member.
As the food arrived, my fears ebbed away. It was damned good! There was much chit-chat and conviviality between mouthfuls and the quaffing of fine wine, both that supplied by the Restaurant and that donated by Richard Lindner in the Barossa.
Our only problem now was the Guest Speaker. By nine o’clock he had still not arrived. As I was seated next to Walt Simonson, comic maester extraordinaire (Mighty Thor… etc.), I gently enquired if he might like to be our Guest Speaker. “Cool!” was the reply.
And “Cool!” was his witty and impromptu dissertation on how he was invited to the Dinner and then found it without knowing the name of the Restaurant. Nothing to do with comics… but funny hysterical! Thanks Walt... you did good.
Tony’s unique auctioneering style and Bronwyn’s raffle ticket selling skills raised almost $900 for the Children’s Hospital. Phillip Johnston won the auction (and a kiss from Glenn Ford) while Travis Ecclestone won Dietmar’s Fourth Print.
In the end, it all turned out very well indeed. So much so that Tony has arranged with Danny Zachariou, Comicfest’s organiser (who unfortunately had too many commitments to attend the Dinner), to make one of our Dinners a regular feature of the Comicfest weekend.