So Jake had conned me into going to the Image Comic Expo when it got announced. Granted, maybe “conned” is a harsh word; “coerced” maybe. Honestly all it took was a simple “DUDE! Airline tickets are cheap.” We had talked about expanding our exposure to more out of state conventions; and this turned out to be one of cheapest convention we could do out of state. When Jake ran the numbers to me about tickets, table, and hotel; all i could say was “Well, it’s been a while since we’ve done something stupid.”
The convention itself was fairly small; it felt like some early Dallas Comic Cons. The atmosphere was very nice, it wasn’t crowded, and almost everything was comics related (the biggest media related subject was Walking Dead, which is understandable why it was there.) The Image booth was the largest, and again, that is understandable. I think there were only a handful of retailers; a lot of the floor was dedicated to artist alley, publishers, and the invited creator guests. I personally really like this ratio for a convention; I’m not really a collector so I overlook all the retailer. The only one that caught my eye briefly was a vendor with some original art. There were only a handful of cosplayers, which I think is a great nerd addition to the comic convention. However at the bigger shows it causes a lot of traffic jams due to pictures and some costumes being bulky. The small smattering of cosplay was an oddly welcomed change. Sadly i did not get a picture of the BEST cosplayer evah: Casey Jones. He even made the hockey mask proper as it was not just a store bought hockey mask. It was painted and shaped like the one from the cartoon. And he kind of had that Brooklyn kid look to him too. It was epic.
The show was fairly well attended, nothing massive though. Our approach was if the place is packed, it would give us a good opportunity to make some money. If it was not crowded, then we would have time to talk to the publishers. It’s been a while since I’ve had to approach publisher with a book in hand; so it took some nicotine and a Red Bull to get me kick started. But I was able to hand off out books to a few places and got the online submission information for a publisher as well. All in all, the book was well received; people seem to like the overall package as a leave behind. They seemed impressed that everything was in logical order and written out for them. It gives me hope that we are on the right direction and at the very least we come across as serious creators. It pays to be prepared. Sadly it doesn’t always pay hard cash.
As stated before the show was fairly small yet dedicated comic fans; which gave us a good opportunity to talk to a lot of people for a good length of time. That translated to some sales, but not enough to cover the entire trip. Though one of the cheapest out of state shows we can exhibit at, it was still a fairly steep hill to climb to even break even. So it was a pyrrhic victory, we took some solid steps on getting our stories out there. But it was a pretty costly experience. But when you look at the game that is the comic industry, sometimes you just got to take chances. I found that doing a show outside of our usual stomping grounds was like we were starting over again. We had decent traffic but similar sales from our early local endeavors. I believe that a lot of comic fandom is familiarity and do certain type of trust. There are a lot of creators that pop up then disappear; so I think it takes a few appearances to prove that we are here to stay.
We got to meetup with some fun people over the weekend though. Our semi neighbors at Comic Book Junkies were really nice guys; I even did a sketch card trade with artist Lance Sawyer. I got to briefly meetup with friend Jessie and DJ Kirbride; I’ve communicated with DJ online before but I don’t think I ever got the chance to meet in person. I got to meet Tim Daniel who was at the Shadowline Booth over the weekend; we had a great talk and he was very nice in trying to get me some time with Jim Valentino to show him our pitch book. I got a sketch and an autograph from the Skullkicker guys for the wifey, who is a big fan of the series. I also got a signature from colorist Christina Strain for the wifey. Christina and I chatted for a bit about the industry and why she’s kind of taken a step out of it. Sadly the current business model has no support for the small quirky books that we love so it’s hard for those titles to keep profitable. Though I didn’t bring my copies of Heart, I got a autograph from Blair Butler on the program guide. She was genuinely appreciative of everyone who stopped by and said hi. You can tell she loves what she does. Got to meet Betty Gomez and her husband who were running the CBLDF table; great people and a great cause.
And finally, the one meeting that even my wife got jealous about. It all just happened to chance that the one and only Jiz Lee (NSFW) was going to the expo anyways! I had done an illustration for their 2011 Christmas Card; which got a lot of love from Jiz’s fans. I had tweeted Jiz I was going to be at the convention and turns out they already had plans on attending. One of the best parts when how Jiz found me: They had my Twitter icon loaded on their phone and was just looking for the matching weird little Asian. We had a wonderful chat; though the entire time i was worried that I was just rambling. Before they left, Jiz said they wanted a photo with me. I was like, I want a photo WITH YOU! When I told them my wife was jealous that I got to meet them, Jiz just humbly said “Oh why? I’m just a dork.” That’s why we love you, Jiz!