It happened so fast.
We were waiting in line for the Masquerade Ball – jBot, Miriam, and I in an ocean of cosplay fanatics more than a mile long. The doors had opened and the fantastic costumed masses had just started moving again when a familiar voice called out towards us through the background.
“Robin! I must have a minute with Robin!”
They were next to us before I’d even turned around. It took a moment to recognize what I was seeing. What appeared to be an amorphous glob of tar, surrounded by cameras and clinging to the arm of a man with a microphone, took shape before my eyes, coalescing and congealing until finally taking form as the legendary and unstoppable “Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog.”
“Please Robin,” the dog said, “I must talk to you.”
I had only ever seen him on television screens before. I never expected to see Triumph in person, but here he was in front of me. He had spotted jBot in his Robin costume from across the hall and was now preparing to destroy him on camera.
“Robin,” he said, “it is so great to see you. How are you liking the convention? It must be great to somewhere where nobody’s beating you up all the time.”
There are two ways to deal with a comedy video-ambush. You can roll with it and have a laugh, or you can get mad and fight it, but the people who fight are always the ones who come off looking bad.
Jay and I were cracking up. Getting insulted by Triumph is an honor. There was no answer Jay could give to his questions that wouldn’t result in his decimation immediately afterwords.
Then it was wedgie time – or at least that’s what we thought. Triumph had turned jBot around to reach for his underwear, but just as I was sure it was about to happen, he though back his head instead, laughing in hysterics.
“A Backpack!” Triumph shouted, “Why do all the superheroes here have backpacks?” This was endlessly amusing to him. “I have to look inside,” Triumph said, and without even asking he did just that.
I have to admit, it was impressive to see his complete lack of care for the traditional human social niceties. The little dog just unzipped that bag and went dove right in, no hesitation.
The first thing he came up with were Batman photos, promos from The Dark Knight – “That’s just masterbatory.”
Then Triumph grabbed Jay’s wallet, a cool black duct tape one his girlfriend had made him – “Oh yes, look at this wallet. There’s a great way to get respect at the office. ”
It was a few seconds before I knew what the third object was. But I knew it was something good. You could feel the comedy spreading out from the find like a bomb had just gone off.
“Oh no,” he said, “Oh Robin, no, why do you have this?” I couldn’t see what it was from where I was standing and neither could Jay. “What is this doing in your bag?”
I thought I would die when he finally revealed it. It was the worst possible thing you would want a puppet dog with a regular spot on a late night talk show to find in your bag while you’re dressed like a superhero. They were so happy to have found it.
“Robin,” Triumph started, “Why do you have lip gloss in your backpack!?”
Time stood still on the event horizon of the moment. It was his girlfriend’s lip gloss, and she was nowhere nearby to claim it. It was just jBot, the dog, and the tube of pink lip gloss, cameras rolling.
To my surprise though, Jay came back strong. “Hey man,” he said, never breaking character, “You’ve got to look good when you’re out on patrol.”
That cracked me up.
But the comeback didn’t save him from the wedgie. Triumph asked the crowd if they wanted to see it and everybody cheered, including me. A thousand characters from a thousand stories had gathered around us to watch. I knew I had to take pictures to document the event, to prove that it actually happened.
You can see them below.
I even got pictures of Robert Smigel, who’s right arm and brain Triumph rides while interacting with us in the third dimension.