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.
We even got to meet a bunch of Kickstarter backers for R.E.M. as well as more than a handful of new faces. It was a fun show and I can’t wait to go back.
Zsombor with BumbleBee
Ryan with Jigsaw
with Decapitated Dan, the most prolific comics journalist out there.
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.
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.
Two years ago, I was contacted by Goodreads because Harbor Moon had made it to some sort of finalist round for Graphic Novel of the Year. I realize that book came out in April and had most of the year to pick up steam (and actually have people read it)… but I’m asking for you to get out and rock the vote on R.E.M.!
If you don’t have a Goodreads account, no sweat (but it’s a cool site that lets you chart your reading). For those of you who do, and who have backed the Kickstarter and received (and hopefully enjoyed) the book… please show some love.
What you have to do is follow this link and ‘write-in’ for ‘R.E.M.’ (you’ll see it as one of the choices once you type in R.E.M. ), then click vote. It’s that easy.
I have gotten the advice not to exhibit until you have multiple books. That having one comic is too soon, and in most cases you won’t cover your costs.
I can say that this advice is fairly accurate after three years of doing conventions. At first I was going with just Harbor Moon. Although I wasn’t making my money back, I convinced myself that it was necessary to get the word out about the book. And I always kept telling myself, wait until you have more and more books…
And this past weekend was my first convention with multiple books – and it was a whole different experience. The traction at the table was great. If someone didn’t think Harbor Moon was their cup of tea, they responded well to R.E.M. – and vice versa. Since I’m not the most outgoing person around, what always seemed like a mountain too high to climb (pitching people)… became fun.
As you can see though – I ignored this advice for the first two years. Why? Because I only had one book. And there was no other way for me to get the word out then go with one book. Also, it helped me refine my pitch on the book, figure out what is best to present at cons and what isn’t… and also get to meet the people I am trying to connect with – comic fans.
Just over a week out from NYCC and the official launch of ‘R.E.M.’. Zsombor got to NY last week and we’ve been getting a lot of housekeeping done. Putting the finishing touches on art prints (including a NYCC exclusive), making sure all the prints are ready for print (which should get printed this week), getting a promo issue of Chasing Rabbits done, as well as making sure all the rewards and stretch goal artwork is ready to go.
We had a bump in the road yesterday – that made me lose about a year of my life. But it is apparently working itself out – but cost me a bunch of money and has the chance to cost me even more. I will write a detailed post about it tomorrow, but it involves the importing of the books from a foreign country (my first time doing that).
I went to sleep kind of early last night… and somehow I woke up and my ‘R.E.M.’ Kickstarter passed not only the $14,000 mark, but the $15,000 one as well. And we are almost up to 500 backers. I am floored. And grateful. And appreciative.
It also means the full set of 3 ‘R.E.M.’ Desktop Wallpapers are UNLOCKED.
We have 26 more hours to go… hard to believe. I have basically made this campaign my full time occupation the last 4 weeks. I am going to miss the daily interaction on Kickstarter – but it won’t end for me – it will just be a different forum (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – username ‘spokelane’ for all of them). Of course here as well. And once the book goes out that is when it will really set in – because the whole point of this was for everyone to ‘R.E.M.’ and the support received has made that possible!
Speaking of reading, here’s a good one for Oscar Wilde about that subject…