A couple of weekends ago I was lucky enough to have briefly met Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content (QC) at a fan meet up he had arranged in Auckland. It was fortunate for me, and the other fans at the meet up, that Jeph and his wife had decided on New Zealand to spend their vacation.

If you haven’t heard of QC, then you are missing out! It’s a great comic. This was evidenced by the turnout in the middle of a park in the city centre on a very miserable rainy day. The meet up tweet was sent out the day before, which was gloriously sunny, however the summer here has been horrible this year, so that eventually turned into the rain we were expecting. About half an hour beforehand, Jeph sends out another tweet confirming the meet up is still on, and that we’d be taking shelter in the old band rotunda in the park.

I was hanging out with my brother that day. We arrived at the location of the meet up about 10 minutes before 3pm. There are already twenty or so people hanging out inside the band rotunda. The Rotunda has perimeter seating, and everyone is slowly starting to fill in. We are all there for the same reason, to meet someone who makes an awesome comic. This doesn’t make things less awkward though, as while we all share an interest in the comic, everyone is keeping to themselves. What you end up with is a bunch of strangers turning up, not talking to each other, and seating themselves inside a band rotunda, in the middle of a public park, on a wet Auckland afternoon.

Two homeless residents of the Rotunda, who had obviously claimed the spot as a quiet shelter area from the rain were starting to get weirded out by a bunch of folk quietly entering their dry space. One of them, on a foam mattress in the middle of the Rotunda starts to get a bit self aware, and eventually stores his mattress under one of the bench seats. It doesn’t take too long before his friend seats himself next to me to make small talk.

“Hey man, uhhh, what’s going on?” was the lead in question.

I tried explaining as best as I could why we were all there (with more people filling in as we were talking) and I also apologised for us all, intruding on their spot. Deciding that it might be best that they find another quiet area, the two homeless guys eventually take their leave.

Soon after Jeph and his wife Cristi arrive, and greet everybody. Jeph breaks the ice by breaking out his sketch pad, and drawing some sketches for people. At this stage there is about 50 people at the meet up. People eventually mingle and get talking before they have a chance to talk to Jeph himself. It was a nice relaxed atmosphere and fun.

Jeph himself was a really nice dude, he comfortably chatted with everyone, and drew a picture for them. I got a nice sketch of one of the newer characters of his comic – Padma. In return I gave him one of my comics to read. He was gracious enough to pose for photos if people wanted them too.

All in all, a really fun meet up. It was good of Jeph and Cristi to make time for everyone while on their own vacation time. Incredibly generous. Thanks so much. I believe another meet up is happening today in Sydney. If you’re a reader of the comic, I encourage you to go say hi.

Marc