The 24-Hour Diner, or the 'Diner for short, is a webcomic penned (primarily) by Rob Meridy and inspired by the real-life misadventures of his friends. Pull up a seat, read on, and maybe learn something about life, love, and the pursuit of the next great video game.

These Three Men Really, Really, Don't want This Baby

Transformers Infiltration #5 Guido Guidi Incentive Cover

Origins & Endings

Consistency...If nothing else, you can give the 'Diner that much credit. Oh sure, it may not be the consistent posting of new columns or comics and what-not that you readers so desire. But we do continue to remain consistent in our lack of updates, and that kind of consistency is what I call dependability. Yes, you may think this is pointless in our case, but I assure you that in today's world, dependability is a commodity that is less common than it should be. Like Rob says, the 'Diner is what it is (not like Heavy Mojo), and when you get it, it is good if not great. We're all back (read: Ken, Rob, Claude, Bob, Eugene, Sam) from AWA XII, Anime Weekend Atlanta. While a good time was had by all, it did demonstrate some things that make me sad and concerned for the future of animation, and to a lesser extent, pop culture. All will be discussed over time, but for now, as previously declared by myself, I shall commence with the telling of the origin of the group of friends who create the 'Diner, the who's-who amongst our clan, and where we go from here on...

I first met Sid back in middle school, who first met Rob in high school. Through Sid I met Rob. Simple so far right? Pay attention. It gets better :) From there, it was like gravity took hold. Standing alone, each one had a greatness all his own that was incredible. But together, we were like a cosmic force, drawing more and more people from our respective circles together, forming a nebulous cluster of friends greater than any man could wish for. By the end of our public school days, the group was pretty much complete. Not even a year later, Rob and Sid came together with the idea of chronicling our exploits comic book-style, you go. Yup, that's pretty much it. No really, that's it. Well, o.k. I actually did try to do a little research into the early days and even the impetus of the 'Diner. But we're all sorry like that in that no one really remembers. It just sort of happened. But the truth is, no good story needs an origin to be told. All you need is a good story and/or good characters. And we have plenty of both. True, a few of our members have come and gone over the years, most of them under dubious circumstances. But then life wouldn't be interesting if it was all good and easy. At least that's what Rob and I say to help ourselves sleep at night (/Tom, wipes tears from face). And when there's a void, something always comes along to fill it up, so we really aren't missing anything. You already know some of our stories, and will come to know more in time. As for the characters...

Sid - A Chinese guy who claims he's more American than me (German/American, so I won't argue it), he's always full of wit. And while we're all pretty funny, I'd say Sid's one of the best. A handy artist who's contributed from time to time, he's a master of what they call in the world of comic books decompressed story-telling, avid gamer, moderate animation fan, and like me, a big fan of pro wrestling. He's also a fitness nut like me, making him one of our 'Diner models. Pictures forthcoming. Favorite things include the Undertaker, the Simpsons, Trigun, Nintendo, Conan O'Brien/Jay Leno, Street Fighter, Legend of Zelda, Green Day, and Resident Evil.

Sam - More testament to our group being the most diverse you'll meet, Sam is an honest-to-God African, and from Nigeria no less!! He's a credit to his people and all of the Dark Continent, but an argument can be made that if life has jokes, Sam is one of the poster-childs. What else can be said about a guy who, by simply not paying a speeding ticket, can be deemed a terrorist threat and selected for deportation from our country. Fortunately, that whole thing blew over and he's still with us. No matter what ridicule life has in store for him, Sam just keeps on truckin' and you'll be hard-pressed to find a better man to stand by your side. Favorite things include anything X-Box, Gundam, Japanese animation, Halo, electronics, automobiles, and country.

Ced - I really can't say too much about Ced. It's not that I don't know him, it's just that we don't see that much these days. Still, wherever you find Sam, you'll probably find Ced. Always good for a laugh and that missing perspective. Favorite things include automobiles, anything Dragon Ball, electronics.

Ken - Ken is the closest thing to those "stupid white guys" you see in movies like American Pie and all the other teen flicks hitting these days that I associate with. But he's far and away more than different enough from that archetype to be cool, so cool I call him the Greatest White Hype, with a subtext of 2. I say subtext, because we all know Snake-Eyes is truly the Greatest White Hype of them all. Some people would call Ken weird, but that word lacks sufficient meaning to describe him. Despite Sid's protests (I think he has some kind of dictionary/grammar complex going on these days), awesome is more appropriate. Ken doesn't see it, but I find it best to compare him to Robin Williams, only without the "Nanu Nanu". He's second only to Rob in his artistic contributions to the 'Diner, another talented artist in our stable. Best work: Harry Potter gets krunk, Christmas '05. Favorite things include video games, electronics, Street Fighter, Metal Gear, Castlevania, World of Warcraft, Nintendo, Conan O'Brian, Sega, and Comedy Central.

Rob - The real workhorse of the 'Diner, Rob maintains the website and has contributed well over 90% of the art on here. He's what keeps it going, and we keep him going with inspiration and story material. I've met a lot of hard workers in my life, my Dad being the hardest. But what makes Rob stand out is his drive at such a young age. 'Nary will you meet a twenty-three year-old who's taught himself as much and tries as hard as he does to get it done. Really, that's why the reason the 'Diner has slowed down more than anything else. For the past two years, Rob has been preoccupied with school, always working on something. And now that school is over, he's actually busy working on a game that, with a little luck, will be downloadable onto X-Box 360's everywhere sometime near the end of next year. While Rob is pouring away into his programming work, his true passion lies in art. If he really thought he could make it, he would pursue art for a living. But when's all said and done, his computer skills are what'll pay his bills now. His dream is still alive here, and it always will be. Favorite things include video games, electronics, animation, cinema, art, comic books, Metal Gear, Ghost in the Shell, pornography, hentai, aircraft/flight, automobiles, Michael Turner, J. Scott Campbell, Joe Madureira, Udon, reading, Queen/Freddy Mercury, and Street Fighter.

Bob - Bob & Rob's full first name is Robert. Bob used to go by Rob. But then he opted to go by Bob just before Rob started hanging out. Amazing. Bob is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. You hear that description a lot, but it's never been more true than with Bob. He's a super-Christian, but he's not heavy handed. How cool is that? Another artist, gamer, music lover, animation/cinema nut, and purveyor of all knowledge pertaining to pop culture, Bob will be leaving us for the Land of the Rising Sun sometime next month. It's been a privilege to know him and call him a friend, and he will be missed. Favorite things include rap, hip/hob, R&B, cinema, animation, music, video games, and art.

Eugene - Of our All-Star team, Eugene is probably the newest member to join up. If you were to look at time and groups of friends as segments, Eugene would be from my second segment, and one of the most consistent remnants of that point in time of my life. Not everyone really knew what to make of Eugene at first, on account of he doesn't always have much, if, anything to say. Ah, but there lies Eugene's charm ;) If and when he does say something, it's usually great. So much so, there are stories that exemplify this which'll hopefully be told some day. Though Eugene wasn't the first person here to dig in on Japanese anime or music, as of now, he probably consumes more than the rest of us combined. Aside from that, he's done his part in the art department here, and is studying to be a graphic designer. Favorite things include non-foreign food, Japanese animation/music, video games, anti-PSP propaganda, Nintendo, Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega, Comedy Central, Spike TV, Initial D, and pro wrestling.

Claude (that's me) - And then there's me. The man with the 13 & one-quarter inch pythons which are getting larger by the second. Off of that sentence, you might imagine me as some muscle-head. Not really. Yes, I too am a fitness nut, and a bit of a strong-guy, but before that kind of mentality sets in, I'm first and foremost a man of science and logic. Everything else falls in between. I'm German/American. Native language: German. First language: English. Funny, right? Yeah, I get that a lot. Apparently, I look like Richard Pryor, and act like him too when I'm trying to make people laugh. I find it best to say the last thing they expect, to go where no one else dares. But more than any of that, I think what defines me are my interests and my reasoning for such. What I share with Sid is our love of wrestling. I was there from the peak of Hulkamania (I still do my exercises, say my prayers, and take my vitamins like a good Hulkamaniac), through the days of HBK and the Hitman, to Austin 3:16, and now in the reign of John Cena. That same passion goes for Nintendo and all they've done. With Ken, it's something particular in Castlevania. We both agree Symphony of the Night is the greatest game ever made. How great is it? Ken has bought it at least 4 times, and it's the game that made me buy a Playstation when I said I'd never do it. With Sam, it's our interest in the Gundam universe. It's like the Star Trek of Japan, but with mecha, so you should get the idea. With Bob, it's more obscure tidbits of pop culture like Pee Wee Herman's movie or Michael Jackson's early career. With Eugene, it's Initial D, a show nobody with a heart and a sense of humor can say no to. The cars and racing are just a bonus. With Rob, it's the appreciation for cinema, for all kinds of animation, and for art, and literature. It also extends to comic books. We're definitely what you'd call hardcore fans.

Then there are the things I don't really share with anyone else in the group. There's my love of my home, Germany. The best thing I can really think to tell anyone is to just go for themselves, and to see for themselves. Everybody like music, but my tastes vary and is a lot more broad than the average person. I love good rock'n'roll, but I can't deal with most mainstream music here in America today. It just doesn't do anything for me. Anything post-late nineties falls under that category. I'm now discovering the oldies of the fifties and sixties. I also dig techno, as well as Russian and Japanese music. And I'm very big on classical and opera music, and just straight composition. No lyrics, just some great music. Food, 'nuff said. I probably don't have to say anything about Spider-Man, Batman, or Iron Man either. Robotech - the best example ever of Americans taking something Japanese and making it better, by leaps and by bounds. Everything about this franchise is huge, and it will hopefully continue with the release of Shadow Chronicles in a couple of months. And then there are the Transformers. As big in Japan as Star Wars is over here. It was like that for a brief time here in the U.S., but it's always been around since 1984, and the best of the best of the best. I'll go on about all of this over time, but just so there's no confusion, Transformers = best. Favorite things include animation (Robotech, Transformers, Gundam), literature (Robinson Crusoe), comic books (Spider-Man, Batman, Iron Man), toy collecting, cinema, music, pro wrestling, and video games.

And there you go. There are a lot more of us, but these people above are the ones there every week, in and out. The rest will get similar intros as necessary. That's it for today. Next time, I explain my grand plan for dissemination of information to the masses that I deem relevant or interesting.