In June I attended Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC. It was the last stop of my spring convention tour and I had heard it was a great convention for comics. After a nine hour drive and a lap around the city, I ventured inside. The convention hall itself was nice, spacious and well laid out. But I think this may be where the problem with the con lies, the hall itself was too spacious. At no point during the con did it feel like it was crowded. That is a problem when booths rely on a crowd to build traction. The rows in artist alley were empty most of the show. I did fairly well there and the fans that did swing through were great, but ultimately I think they may have overestimated the expected crowd.
I just got home from Portland, Maine… home of the Maine Comic Arts Festival (MeCAF). The day long art/comic show is run by Rick Lowell over at Casablanca Comics and I have to tell you, it is an awesome show. I missed the opening night reception for my godson’s Christening… but seeing as how I really liked Portland I’m sure it was a great time.
It was held at the Portland Company Complex, which is right on the water and had the feel of an old shipyard building. It was the perfect size (or so it seemed) for the event. I’m a little leery about local shows because they are generally geared towards kids, and this was no exception. If you are familiar with my books, at least until Bulderlyns comes out, then you know why I’m leery. However, within the first ten minutes I had a great talk with an aspiring artist and he just opened the floodgates. It didn’t stop until about a half hour or so before the show closed. Everyone of the guests was really nice, obviously loved comics or art and was great to talk to.
It’s hard for me to leave my table, especially when I’m by myself, so pictures of the event itself are at a minimum. And I don’t get to speak to as many creators as I’d like – usually just my neighbors. I did have a few good talks with other creators who didn’t have tables at the show, but were there supporting.
I went down the street to what I guess is downtown Portland for dinner with a mission – lobster. I chose a place on the water that wasn’t too fancy, because in my experience these places always have better food. It was my first lobster roll and it was awesome. Can’t wait to head back…
After an epic road trip, Zsombor and I finally made it to Chicago for C2E2. We stayed right on the lake, at Michigan and Harrison, so we had the pleasure of seeing a bit of Chicago at night. And, other than the let down of deep dish pizza, I have to say that I was very impressed with the entire show and the city. Because of the space of the hall, I think I would have to give it the nod over NYCC as my favorite con. The people are great at both, interested and knowledgeable about comics (not just pop culture – which is what a lot of these cons have become). NYCC will always take a hit because the main hall is divided in two and artist alley is in a completely separate corridor. C2E2 doesn’t have this problem, at all. The layout is almost perfect. And Zsombor and I got a great table in Artist Alley… across from Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmioti (great and talented people), the SpeciMen guys (awesome guys) and the folks at Yeti Press (another good group of dudes) – all of whom actually do comics, not nonsensical pop culture art.
After a few months on the road, to Los Angeles to produce a film, then to AwesomeCon in D.C., C2E2 in Chicago and a bachelor party in Vegas – I am finally back on my home turf of New York. Since I was actually working most of the time, I don’t have a tremendous amount of photos from the conventions… but I do have some.
Below are a few from AwesomeCon, which was held in Washington, D.C. It was fun, but ultimately this convention was more of a pop culture thing than a comics convention. And we didn’t have the best table – stuck right next to a guy selling grumpy cat artwork. If you weren’t familiar with the type of books I create, they couldn’t be further from pop culture humor and anyone that would walk past a grumpy cat booth and cackle.
If you’re in the Washington, DC area this weekend, swing by Awesome Con and say hello to myself and Zsombor Huszka. We’ll be in Artist Alley at Table M8 all weekend. We’ll have copies of R.E.M., Harbor Moon, promo issues of Chasing Rabbits, art prints and t-shirts. Treat yourself to some good times!
Awesome Con takes place April 18 – 20, 2014 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
I ask this question somewhat facetiously… because I obviously work in comics (and have two books in production). Everyone wants to lament how the business is dying and complain about how hard it is to make money. The latter may be all too true, but the statistics don’t actually back the former up.
In fact, 2012 was the best comics sales year of the millenium.
- Overall, sales of digital comics are growing nicely. Digital sales tripled last year, to $70 million.
- The print side saw sales gains of 15%, to $750 million.
One of the reasons comics are doing well is because of digital distribution. In the world of ebooks, there are only a few players in the game: Amazon, Apple, and (barely) Barnes & Noble. The diverse range of comics distributors — both third-party organizations and publishers themselves — mean that users can pick and choose where they shop without sacrificing title availability. This fragmentation also allows for comics companies to pick and choose the way their comics are sold.
Comixology is leading the charge for digital comic distributors. The digital comics distributor was the third-highest grossing iPad app of 2012 and is closing in on 200 million downloads.
Exciting things are happening in digital comics and users get markedly different experiences between print and their devices — creating a separate realm for digital comics that doesn’t cannibalize print. So don’t give up the fight.