It’s hard not to get caught up in the pop-culture tidal wave that is Comic-Con! Pacing yourself is the key. There is so much to do, and the show only lasts five days.
Last week I trudged down to San Diego to sell my latest comic, Pretty Vacant: London Calling 2
. I loved seeing all the new comics everyone brought: bunny-eared leader Mike and Bare Bones Studios
had the latest Pocket Book Heroes
, Sandra’s newest Gothic Geisha
, Stephanie with the most recent Blazin' Brandy
. Our booth also had newcomer Christie and her graphic novel Personal Monsters
. At the booth behind us, cool app creator Dustin displayed his newest game, Volley Village
Even with the worst comic book ever, Killer Robot Robert’s Shadow Prophesy
, it’s exciting to see comics at a show about comics (even if Comic-Con is really not about comics any more). Better yet, my girlfriend Jen decided to attend for the first time. With my friend Steve coming down to San Diego on Thursday, people I enjoy hanging around outnumbered people who annoy me.
Comic-Con is a show where unexpected moments of awesome happen! One occurred early for me when I asked to see the head of professional registration. When told he was unavailable, I asked the desk lady to leave a message that I had the latest Pretty Vacant
book. Suddenly he appeared behind the clerk to receive his issue much to the astonishment of everyone around us. And it spilled over to Thursday, as Jen and I got into the dreaded Hall H without waiting in line!
Yet karma always has a way of leveling out. I got smacked in the head by a lady who somehow got past Hall H security with a suitcase that must have been carrying Thor's hammer, because I saw stars for the next twenty minutes: not the good “Jennifer-Lawrence-on-a-panel” kind but the bad “You-have-a-concussion” kind. It didn’t help that the attendees sitting around Jen and I had fun at my predicament. Venting to security and watching the "Doctor Who" panel helped, but it got bad again once I got back to the convention floor.
I was blocked at my own booth.
Mike had his free action stickmen, but instead of people moving back and forth at the booth to see all our products, Christie’s marketing manager funneled the stickmen to Christie to draw. The people waiting for Christie’s hard sales pitch prevented others from seeing my Pretty Vacant
comics. I was expending too much energy to sell each copy, so when Steve offered to take Jen and I out for lunch, I gladly accepted. At a Gaslamp District
strip club that served surprisingly good steak, they voiced their concerns. I told them not to worry because it all comes down to whether or not you have the energy to last all five days, not just one. I spent the rest of Day 2 writing copy for the Bare Bones Studios Facebook page, sitting in the VIP lounge and playing games with Jen. I won at Volley Village
and Jen beat me at Fluxx
Sure enough, Saturday was different. The marketing manager lost his voice, spending the rest of the show as a fan. Mike and Robert asked Christie to be more inclusive. Lastly, Mike allowed me to bring back the tip cup. Mike and I could bring people to our table by loudly proclaiming we had “free action figures”, from there Mike and I could keep people moving with our soft sell, while giving Christie room to complete her sales pitch. By golly, I was going to have fun!
And it was fun. Crowd traffic flowed easier as both Christie and I could draw faces. We gave away 3,000 of Mike's stickmen and our entertaining style was rewarded with $63 in tips. Christie related her inspirations for Personal Monsters
and I lamented my situation (mostly) in jest -- a guy who has a studio option creating a comic book that’s Kickstarter-funded
and Comic-Con approved reduced to drawing on Styrofoam for this show! It somehow got crazier as Mike introduced “Bastille Day stickmen”, where the Styrofoam heads were detached from the body. Attendees were amused as I would draw deceased “portraits” of Louis 16th and Marie Antoinette and roll their heads on the sales table!
Christie sold out. I sold out (if you count Kickstarter), and amazingly, the Shadow Prophesy
sold out! Granted it took 15 years, but the very last of the original 5,000 issue print run has finally been sold off. Robert can finally start writing new exciting fresh material, because if he writes a Shadow Prophesy
sequel, I will have to harm him!
|Killer Robot Robert with his "proud" creation, the Shadow Prophesy|
Thanking Mike for his generosity and parting ways the Monday after the show, Jen and I boarded the train back home. I was utterly exhausted, yet exhilarated at the same time. I dread going back to the show, but when Comic-Con comes around next year I will set aside all my bad experiences and be super-excited once again!
Note that I didn’t mention Carlos at all in this post, although I wish I could have included my Con buddies Rodney, Rachel and Chris.