It was a very unseasonably warm night in December. I had turned my home into a counting house - for counting comics. I was tweeting about how my doorbell looked like an old man wearing sunglasses. I was just about to tweet a joke about stoking the fireplace with an unread stack of Gen 13's and DV8's when I heard a clatter of chains and an eerie draft entered the livingroom. The draft had the smell of browned comic book pages and Old Spice...an apparition faded into view...
"A proton pack! A proton pack! My kingdom for a proton pack!," I howled.
"Face front and at ease, true believer."
I realized who I was looking at, or who the apparition had taken the form of - Stan. Stan "The Man". He was covered with mildewed patches labeled, "Pow", "Stan Lee Media", "The Governator", "Ravage 2009", "Stripperella", "Just Imagine", "NFL Superpro", "The 7th Portal", "Lightspeed", and "Mosaic".
"Do you remember how I looked when I was young and looked like Bea Arthur's husband on Maude?"
"Yes, I do. You know, if you were to watch that show and Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who back-to-back, you wouldn't know the difference."
"Hmmph...Odin will get you for that one, effendi."
"You think I'm hindu?"
"It's just an expression."
"Oh, sorry. Go right ahead."
"Do you remember when I presided over the wedding of Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson at Shea Stadium and wished them a long and happy marriage?"
"Oh, yeah, sure - and when that marriage ended, you said that 'change is good' or something or other...who lives to keep track of quotes, anyway?"
"Silence!...Do you remember when I hosted Who Wants To Be A Superhero?"
"Yes,...all those poor, deluded, misguided fools..."
"That's enough! Listen - I'm here to warn you! You are doomed into wearing more patches than I! You may even end up as something much more horrendous - an Autopen!"
"What do you want me to do?"
"You will be visited tonight by three spirits. Listen to them, learn from them - or you may wind up trolling the halls of next year's Comic Con in ill-fitting karate gi and claiming to be a Jedi Knight."
"You can tear up my ticket right now."
"Oh, no, just wait...wait for them. Believe that, true believer. Believe that."
"Isn't there anything you could teach me?"
"Stay away from Brand Ecch. Excelsior!"
He faded away...
To be continued...