According to Google Maps I was 13 mins away - I reckon I made it in 10. Not bad for a big bloke.
A quick press on the intercom, then swiftly up the stairs, past Starkiller, and I was on the campus of Pulse College, Dublin - home of Lightning Strike Comics.
Seeing as I was on “official” chroniclechamber.com business I had decided to wear our ‘Happy Phantoming’ uniform. Just as well, as Eoin McAuley and I had never met before and really only had each other’s Facebook profile pics to go from (and who looks like their profile pic in real life?). Luckily, the first person I met down the halls (just past the TARDIS doors) was none other than the man himself. After a passing hello, he soon realised that there would be no-one else in Ireland with a shirt like mine and I was soon whisked away to Lightning Strike HQ.
What I write next is my attempt to do justice to the next 20 mins as Eoin’s passion for the character and comics overflowed in a whirlwind of introductions and stories.
Like the CC team, Eoin has nothing but praise for Alex Saviuk. Alex must be the best bloke in all of comic-dom! A great storyteller with a very generous helping hand. There is a signed Saviuk piece on the wall behind where Eoin is sitting, right above the recently released Sy Barry print. This segued Eoin to talk about conversations that he’s had with David, Sy’s son, which (fingers crossed) could be fruitful for phans.
Lightning Strike is not a big operation, and as Eoin says, "there are easier ways to make money" but from just speaking with him for a short time face to face it is plainly obvious to see the care he has for our beloved hero and the drive and determination he has to do it right.
When the conversation veers into the shipping issues, the complete and utter frustration that we Aussie phans have had waiting for the comic to arrive become personified in Eoin.
Ireland is in a really unique spot. Though it is between the US and the UK, distributors don’t send direct from the US. They go through the UK first and then into Ireland and delays inevitably occur. It’s a common occurrence and one that we in Australia don’t really have to deal with thanks to Frew’s clockwork-like ability to get their comic on the shelf every week/fortnight.
However, the last of the remaining paperwork has been done and the comics bound for Australia are in the safe and secure hands of DHL.
It is worth noting that after I left Eoin and the Lightning Strike offices I popped into a couple of comic shops along the way back to my motel, Dublin City Comics and Sub-City Comics. (Technically I popped into these places after I had a bite to eat for lunch and 3 pints of cider at one of the many, many pubs here in Dublin). Dublin City has LS 1 on the stand but I couldn’t see it at Sub-City so I asked for it. “Sold out, I’m afraid. Someone else was in here after it too. Comic-con, last month, really cleaned them out. I’m keen to get another delivery”.
Though they didn’t have the comic in, from a phan’s perspective it was very pleasing to hear that it had proven to be popular. I hope that Eoin and the team can continue to (Lightning) Strike while the iron is hot and that their showcase at this week’s Culture Night in Dublin proves to be very fruitful for them.