I acquired this can of Spam during the sci-fi fantasy convention Dragon Con in 1996 where I had my last run at a Spam joke that would never end. I’d been using Spam as a variable for in-joke absurdist comedy since my freshman year in high school (after a late-blooming introduction to Spam humor via Monty Python) and the gag had lasted for four and a half years at this point. My friends were getting tired of it, but I kept pushing. I was running on two days with no food, stuck in the Atlanta Hilton with three of my closest friends and no money for meals. We were subsisting on complimentary corn chips and Kool-Aid from the Con suite, when I noticed a shiny new can of Spam on a table. I asked the volunteer manning the room who owned that can, and he just shrugged and said it was purchased as a joke and that no one was going to eat it. He said I could have it, and I immediately darted over to scoop it up.
Famished, half delirious from a lack of protein, and hopped up on way too much sugar water, I proceeded to march down to the dealers’ room/exhibitors’ hall and over the course of the next five hours made it my mission to cover the can in pseudo-celebrity autographs. For some reason I thought this was hilarious. In my mind it was the crowning coup de grace of my very long experiment in absurdist comedy. In the process, I was only made fun of twice and verbally abused once (by Jim Steranko who let out a string of profanity of which Ralphie’s father in A Christmas Story would have been proud.) I got a bevy of comic book and fantasy artists to sign the can (like Bo Hampton, John Byrne, Bernie Wrightson, and Ken Meyer Jr.), as well as Darth Vader and convention legend himself David Prowse. The last guy to sign it, Glen Danzig, was even a personal hero. It was at that point where I finally got tired of the whole thing. I still have this can though. It’s been sitting on a shelf next to the computer for going on 13 years.