APE: Alternative Press Expo 2011 Recap

APE 2011
APE 2011

The show is over, the song is sung, we had some good times, but now they’re done. The world goes on without much change, we met some people, mostly strange. We had some laughs and drank some beer, and cause Daniel Clowes to shed a smiling tear. Has the world now learned our company’s name? I very much doubt it, but Black Snow Comics is in the game.

I never said I was a poet. But you wouldn’t know it!

OK, enough of that. So, the show went well. You can check out our Facebook photo album at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150760404665402.727063.195503145401&type=1 I’ll add some more photos from my wife’s camera soon. I also shot a bit of video, but I don’t know if we’ll actually use it (nothing too exciting).

So I’ll give you a nice summary. Friday evening we went to the pre-show mixer at the publishing warehouse The Last Gap, as we did last year. It was a good time. We got our passes for the show, drank some free beer, ate some bizarre yet tasty hors d’oeuvres, browsed their weird selection of books and comics (many of them erotic), looked at all their oddities (multi-headed animals, a life sized Bruce Lee in a fez, giant bullets, an epic model plane dogfight, etc) and mingled with a few comic folk. I spotted several of the same people as last year. It was fun.

Then came day one of the show. It was fun to set up the table with all our new stuff, and I think we were looking good. People seemed to think our free bottle opener for liking us on Facebook was quite a brilliant idea (though only moderately successful, in truth). They also loved our Black Sow beer again (putting our stickers on beers as we drank them). Many people thought they were custom labels or asked if we were selling beer. Get real people!

As expected the show started out slow with fairly apathetic people trickling in and slowly picked up over the first two hours. This was a fun time for us to heckle the passers-by (well, really we did that most of the show), much like carnival barkers. It is irritating when people pay to come to a comic show, then pretend they don’t see you selling comics.

Eventually we started selling some hats, comics, and giving away a ton of free stickers, special APE comics, key-chain bottle openers and handouts. My family was nice enough to come see us, buy us some food and help give stuff away. Our friend Raph also came by, and we saw some other people we know (friends and enemies) who who selling at the show. We got to know our neighbors a bit, sadly for them none of them sold much and they seemed disappointed.

Daniel Clowes came to sign his books. The line was too long so I didn’t want to wait, but towards the end of his signing time I hopped in line. Then a miracle occurred. A staff approach me (only me) and asked if I was just waiting for Mr. Clowes (and not the other signer). I said yes and he ushered me in front of 40 plus people right to Daniel. I presented him with our APE comic…and he loved it. He was flattered by how much hair I gave him. He kept a copy for himself and signed one for me. So that was the highlight of the show.

The rest of the day went well and by the end we were running out of our free comics. We met some interesting fans and converted over some new ones. Saw some funny costumes too.

Day two started with a late arrival that saw us barely set up our table on time. It was a more crowded day, and I adopted some more traditional sales tactics to get people to read the comics, and they worked (my Amway training finally paid off). Our free comics ran out, then the key-chains, until it was just stickers and handouts (which almost ran out). I think we sold more comics that day then the first.

Our friends Amanda and James both came buy and bought things, and it was a fun time. Not an overwhelming success, but pretty good, especially in comparison to some that sold NOTHING!

The days felt long, but rewarding. It was fun to see what other people were selling as well, and we did do a few trades. A few hundred people who hadn’t heard of us now at least have heard our name and taken free stuff with our name on it.

So while many others were grumbling and floundering, you can be proud to know that your boys at Black Snow Comics made a damn decent showing for themselves.

P.S. We may be doing a con next May in San Jose. Stay tuned!

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