This urban myth began in Philadelphia with the SETA transport system. People would see a bus with no destination listed, only the SETA letters on the board. Called the Bus to Nowhere, the Wandering Bus, or Bus Zero — this bus is equal opportunity and will pick up anyone who is in a desperate situation.
Supposedly this bit of folklore was dreamed up by comedian Nicolas Mirra, who had lived in Philadelphia in 2011. He wrote and published a short story on his blog called “Philly Urban Legends: The Wandering Bus.”
Part of the allure of this legend is the references that shot through my head upon hearing it. Firstly was Danny the Street (who I discovered watching Doom Patrol). Danny is a gender queer sentient street that helps the down and out (very similar to Bus Zero). In the TV series, after being destroyed, Danny was reincarnated as a bus. Perhaps a reference to the Wandering Bus.
When I read that you could ride the bus for months, or even years, the other idea that popped into my head was the Party Bus from The Regular Show. In this Halloween Episode (Terror Tales of the Park), the group gets onto a bus with a raging party on board. However, as the bus travels forward, they all age. The Regular Show crew is able to reverse the bus, but this only de-ages them until they are babies.
When designing the Bus to Nowhere I chose a 1930s style bus. Totally inaccurate to the myth, but I love the design of vehicles during this era. Thus, most of the buildings are 1930s style.
Despite possibly being created by Mirra, the Wandering Bus is not isolated to Philadelphia. People have reported seeing it in multiple cities. Who knows, perhaps the Bus really is going to those who need it most.
I had no idea I lived so close to such a haunted road. Apparently the dirt road that connects my city to Jamul has all sorts of haunts associated with it — a ghost lady, a goat man and of course a demon car.
Digging into this legend, I can’t help but wonder if it was inspired by the 1977 film The Car, where James Brolin has to defeat, you guessed it, a demon possessed car. The movie has a few problems, but the car design is exceptional and I used it as a basis for the illustration of the Proctor Valley version.
The mouth that opens up at the end was inspired by the cartoon Regular Show, specifically the episode Ello Gov’nor. This is where a British taxi chases Rigby down, but it’s grill opens up into a mouth.
There are also elements of Stephen King wrapped up in the Proctor Valley legend. Not so much Christine, but rather Salem’s Lot. The movie did the best they could, but I recall in the story, King describes the car in much the same way it was depicted in the 1977 Car movie.
I haven’t yet experienced the Demon Car myself. It’s supposed to happen to travelers who embark on the dirt road at night. Once, I did travel down the bumpy path at sunset and behind me loomed a pair of headlights. They never sped up to my number.
All the same, I pushed my car as fast as it would go. Just in case.
Every year, I’ve been lucky enough to garner a professional badge to the San Diego Comic Con. Every year except this one. I was too slow on the draw to contact the Comic Con folks and when I did, they were out of badges. I didn’t like the situation, but what could I do? (This was after the sale of tickets.) So I spent my July hanging out with my family doing touristy vacation stuff (like SeaWorld and the La Brea Tar Pits). Then a good friend asked if I could use some comps (this would be Wednesday night, before the Con started). Of course I said yes.
The Ice King before the Mushroom War as Simon Petrikov
With no planning, I embarked on my trek through the largest and most populated convention Saturday morning. I must say, no amount of Googling would predict the length of the badge line. (Up till this point, I’d gone through the professional entrance, which is very quick.) I arrived at 8:30, right when the website said badge pickup opens. There was a long line, so I pulled out my phone to busy myself. Then the lined moved and it never stopped moving. I was up in the Sails Pavillion, badge in hand, in under five minutes. Wow! Now, by the time 9:30 rolled around the place was packed, so I imagine the badge line was longer and moving slower. TIP: arrive at the start time to get your badge quickly.
A lounge singing Boba Fett? Not quite sure who these people are.
I was waylaid at the Mattel booth for far too long. Their line up system was horrific. I wanted to snag an Ever After High doll for my daughter. Wanted is the key word. I’m willing to accept long lines and product vanishing. That’s a given at the Con. But the line was “capped” so that meant no one else could enter. Then the weirdness happened. The line moved forward (cutting the number of people in half along the wall) but the security guards wouldn’t let anyone else in. They were very aggressive and rude (apparently manhandling many patrons). I heard one guard tell a guest that he would confiscate his bag and kick him out if he didn’t keep moving.
Mojo Jo Jo and Him from the PowerPuff Girls.
The only way to get into the line, as far as we could tell, was to be lucky. Because people did get in. I stood on the sidelines, waiting for the capped sign to go down and let more people in, yet the line gradually grew back to its former length. I guess what you were supposed to do was circle the convention floor, like a shark in chummed water, and hope (that’s the best word) that they let you in. Ridiculous.
Needless to say, I never got into the line.
There were plenty of Game of Thrones cosplay going on: Daenerys Targaryen and Dothraki Khal Drogo.
On the plus side, I was able to waltz into the Regular Show panel over at the Hilton. No line. No wait. This panel was amazing. They played the Thanksgiving song and we were gifted with an upcoming episode (The Bachelor Party). The cast was just entertaining as their characters. The panel featured J.G. Quintel (creator, Mordecai), William Salyers (Rigby), Sean Szeles (supervising director), Roger Craig Smith (Thomas), Minty Lewis (storyboard artist, Eileen), and Matt Price (story editor, Quips).
I snagged grub at great new restaurant called the Werewolf Pub (yes, that’s its name, no gimmick). The food was astounding. I will certainly visit again.
I loved seeing Hagrid’s Monster Compendium on the shelf.
The other panel I visited was the Marvel S.T.A.T.I.O.N. sponsored by former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. The whole panel consisted of real scientists who played along with the S.H.I.E.L.D. premise (we were all promoted to level 4 S.H.I.E.L.D. agents). The panel discussed the scientific underpinnings of the four Avengers (Captain America, The Hulk, Thor and Iron Man) and how their powers worked. I enjoyed the debate over Thor’s hammer. Does it hold a liquid neutron star or does it use weak and strong nuclear forces to change it’s weight?
A full cosplay cast of SpaceBalls was also in attendance.
Of course I shopped and snapped pictures of any interesting costumed cosplayer I could find. That’s the best part about the Con, the folks you see. Everyone (minus the Mattel guards) were courteous and polite. Even when we were crammed into an aisle like tribbles in a ventilation shaft, everyone persevered and kept their smiles up.