Big Wow! ComicFest 2012 recap

Big Wow! ComicFest 2012 recap
Big Wow! ComicFest 2012 recap

To see photos from the event check out our Facebook album.

Big Wow?  I wouldn’t go that far.  Some wow, I guess.

I’m going to assume that the majority of people reading this will never know what it’s like to have a vendor table at a comic book convention as an underground comic.  Well, I can’t speak for others, but for myself…it’s pretty bittersweet.

This was my 3rd convention now (the others being APE 2010 and 2011) and I’d say I’ve gotten the gist of what they have to offer.  People seem to think it must be my shining moment and that I’m filled with pride to be “achieving my dreams”.  I’ll let you in on a secret: all 3 conventions have made me question my passion for creating comics and contemplate quitting.

It’s true.  Why?  Because I work hard on my comics, I believe that they are good and worthy of fans, yet I endure people who could not care less about my stuff.  People who turn their heads as they walk by the table, or look at it with noticeable distaste.  I cannot truly describe has disappointing this overwhelming sense of apathy is and just how crushing it can be.  Especially if someone near you keeps getting positive attention from people as they pass by.

It sucks and make you wonder why you even bother trying.  This was worse at APE since this convention was very comic centric and people seemed more open to checking out new comics, but it was still there.  Very frustrating.

Is it a problem with our covers?  Our whole concept?  I hope not.  We are in a bit of a bad spot with our comics as I think they may be a bit too traditional for people who want really alternative stuff, but not traditional enough for people who just want straight forward superhero stories.  There’s also the issue of target age and if these comics are too adult or not adult enough.

See, you start questioning everything.  In general I try to steer women and children to I’m Famous! while adult men get Black Snow.  I’d say they sold about equally at this show.

So now I’ve painted a pretty ugly portrait of how it feels to be a small time comic creator at a comic convention.  Of course that is just one aspect of it, and you could focus more on the positive.  After a panel announcement about underground comics a man asked Alex and I what it’s like to be an underground comic.  I think Alex said something sarcastic and kind of funny.  I said “It’s having a full time day job” and felt like adding “and no one gives a shit”, though that would have been a bit crass and untrue.

Some people do give many shits, and I thank them for it.  We sold a decent amount of stuff, had many conversations where I think we won over some new fans, and I signed more autograph and sketches than I would have ever imagined.  It is really a strange feeling to have someone ask for your autograph or for a sketch.  It’s a good feeling, to be sure, but a strange one that seems so out of place given how you are treated the majority of the time.  Like a nobody.  But to them you are somebody.

Not just somebody, but somebody worthy of signing and sketching in a convention book next to guys like Tim Sales and Jim Lee.  Does that speak more to their high opinion of me or their low opinions of these established artists?  I don’t know, but I prefer to take it as a great compliment.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, no I have not chosen to quit.  I have too much fun drawing and love doing it.  I have the time and the energy, so why stop?  Just because I haven’t “made it” yet?  Even I am not that negative or cynical.  Plus, I still haven’t told the story I set out to tell.

So it was actually a very fun show.  I was a bit nervous beforehand, since it was a different organization than we had dealt with before and I didn’t know what to expect.  I also didn’t feel we had done much to prepare for the show.  It was all for naught as everything was just fine.

There were a lot of fun costumes.  People really went all out on that.  And a fairly decent variety of characters were represented.  There were a ton of comics, which was nice for me as a fan just getting to browse.  Cool toys too, though quite overpriced.   So of course my son wanted all of them.  The Avengers exhibit from the Cartoon Art Museum was cool.  I’m a fan of the museum and really enjoy getting to see the old original art.

The convention center is a big place, and it was always crowded.  Especially on Sunday for Jim Lee.  There was a line for the dude before the place opened and he didn’t even arrive until after lunch.  I found this really funny because I read him tweeting about eating lunch while looking at the hundreds of people waiting in line.  To his credit Jim stuck around for hours and signed and sketched for every single fan.  No, I did not meet him.

It was weird that he got so much attention when there were a bunch of other pretty big names in comics and movies at the show who had little fanfare.  Speaking of, Thomas Jane is the most Hollywood man I’ve ever met.  And by that I mean every silly stereotype about celebrities seemed to be embodied in this man.  Sun glasses indoors, messy hair, no shoes, obviously there to make cash, rushing people, shorter than he appears in movies, goofy “cool guy” hat, arrogance and some contempt for the fans.  It was all there.  “You gonna buy a book or what?” he gruffly asked a fan as I watched with amusement.

Though he was nice enough to take a picture with my wife (after she bought one of his lame shirts).  He was actually cool enough to come check out our table, chat a bit (I think Alex weirded him out by immediately saying something about Boogie Nights) and take a bottle opener with a best of I’m Famous! (which he oddly told us “Cool, I’ll read this tonight…in my room.”), so I can’t knock the guy too much.  If he ever needs a role he’d make a great Black Snow (or even a Lone Wolf based on his real personality).

Here are a few memorable moments from the show.  A guy telling Alex it’s “not about the money, it’s about the space on bookshelf” as he choose not to buy a comic which was roughly less than 1/16th of an inch wide.  A fan asking me to sketch Deadpool (whom I’ve never drawn or really been a fan of, and having to look at someone else’s drawing just for a reference point).  A young boy dressed a Hawk Eye being paraded around by his dad even though he was obviously incredibly shy and unhappy.  The announcer constantly screwing up or having technical problems, both days.  Our friend being the very last person in the Jim Lee line.  Someone telling us they were fascinated by Detroit, before they promptly didn’t by a comic and just left.  People thinking we brewed are own beer and being shocked we were allowed to drink in there (we didn’t ask permission, so I don’t know if we were actually allowed to).  Explaining why we will not be exhibiting at ComicCon in San Diego to fans (because it’s damn expensive).  After explaining Black Snow and I’m Famous! at great length finishing by telling the person they were entirely autobiographical.  Making fun of everything and everyone with Alex (I cannot believe people do this alone. My god that would be boring).  Selling Black Snow to a tough one armed man.  Being approach to appear at a convention in Richmond (our Detroit, without the charm, just the crime).

Lastly I’d like to address everyone who stood there reading our comics, laughing, talking with us about them then putting them down (not buying them), said “thank you” and walked away.  Thank you is not an accepted form of payment at Black Snow Comics.  Want to really show some gratitude?  Buy the goddamn comics.  We aren’t there for the conversation or to perform for you or something, we are there to sell you comics.  So if they are good enough to read, laugh at or talk about…BUY THEM!

So you all at the next show!  (None planned yet)

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