As many of you know, I co-host The Illustrious Gentlemen podcast along with my pal Scott Godlewski and I wanted to pop in and say that we’re currently running our 2018 fundraiser to cover production costs. You can check it out at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1123955719/the-illustrious-gentlemen-comic-and-booze-podcast
So, I love travelling, and I love visiting cool new spots and old favorites. In the next couple months I’ll be visiting Las Vegas and Albuquerque doing some filming for a project and visiting family. As far as comics go, I only have 3 appearances confirmed, but each one is something unique and I’m really looking forward to them.
May 5th – The Arizona Comic Mini Expo, Mesa, AZ. (It’s my show, so it’s easy to get the invite).
June 15th-17th – Heroes Con, Charlotte, NC. An amazing show.
September 28th-30th – Siouxpercon, Sioux Falls, SD. A new show for me and something I’m thrilled about.
Hopefully this is just the start to my travels this year.
This past weekend I was a guest at ACE Comic-Con in Glendale, Arizona. It’s a new show, run by an old hat at show running, Gareb Shamus, previously of Wizard Magazine and Wizard World shows. This was their second ever event and first in Arizona. I have a lot of appreciation for conventions in Arizona, from Phoenix Comic Fest to Tucson Comic Con to my own 1-day Free Comic Book Day show, The Arizona Comic Mini Expo. While each may have its flaws, they all provide something I look for in a positive convention going experience.
Phoenix Comic Fest, while focusing much on the media guests, has dozens of panels about comics and still tries to bring in as many top tier comic guests as they can, and that show is always a #1 or #2 top earner for me when I table there. They have a proper artists alley (I hate that term) filled with creative people and they treat their guests very well. I’ll be there every tear they are willing to have me.
Tucson Comic-Con is still growing and in a smaller and less economically diverse market, so there isn’t the same money to be made at that show, but what it does offer is a great experience for guests. They treat their guests well and I can spend time with other professionals, enjoy the city, and relax a bit. Tucson is a wonderful town. I’ll be there every year they are willing to have me. I’m not going to talk about ACME (the show I put together), because of course I can cater that directly to what I love, comic creators.
ACE Comic Con was a very mixed bag. They leaned ALL IN on media guests. Sure, there were 4 or 5 big name comic guests, and I heard they did fairly well, but I don’t know how well the rest of us fared. To bring out 12+ high profile media guests and rent out an arena for the weekend must cost a huge amount of money, so that dictates that tickets to the event were well above $50 for a single day (much like a Wizard show). The layout for artist/vendor alley was confusing, there were comic guests mixed in with people selling metal sculptures and wallets. Some vendors were in artist alley, while others were on the arena floor, while some were on yet another floor above us. It was dark, some booths were literally in little alcoves where if you were walking and only looking straight you would never see them. There were no signs telling you what area of artist alley you were in (typically these would be row number signs). There were beer vendors and a really annoying lemonade vendor making the rounds and loudly yelling. As far as I could hear, there was no mention over the sound system about directing people to artist alley at all, and only a couple signs indicating where to go. Half the attendees looked confused and a huge portion were there only for the media guests and photo opportunities. Most had ZERO interest in anything that wasn’t what they knew from the movies.
I won’t get into why I personally did not do well over the course of the 3-day show. I don’t have the flashy prints and I haven’t worked on Marvel or DC books, so I get it. I will address some reasons I think many of us had problems. The high cost of attending and parking, with outrageous food and drink costs that come with being in an arena left many people with little spending money. There were a fair amount of empty hands. The confusing layout and lack of education about the event left many people bewildered. There were no programs created for the event listing the comic guests or media panels. Attendees had a single page map telling them what was on each floor. Not every convention feeds it’s guests, but many do, and that goes a long way in making you feel welcome. I’m sure all the media guests were fed 3 square a day. They are the reason people buy tickets, but it still is a poor look to not take care of your comic guests. That is something common in Wizard shows, so it makes sense. Another thing that I noticed they have in common is that guests were only given plastic wristbands (don’t take it off for 3 days!), instead of lanyards and a badge. A badge, with the word “guest” on it and your name goes a long way. Our wristbands said “vendor” on it, and the media wristbands were much nicer. Another odd coincidence is that I made the same exact amount of money at this 3-day show as I did at a Wizard World show two years ago, the only one I’d done in the last decade.
To be fair, I will say that because I was a guest at ACE, I was allowed to set up a table and sell my work at the Coyotes hockey game the night before the convention started and I did well that night. I am a Coyotes fan and I have Coyotes art prints that sold well to hockey fans. I would not have had that opportunity without being a guest at ACE, but it was separate from the convention proper. All in all I had a good weekend in that regard, but the 3-day convention was a chore. I like the idea behind what ACE wants to do, and make it an event more than a comic con, but re-brand in that case and just make it a media guest convention.
Wow, so it’s been a little over 4 months since I last posted, sorry about that. Here is a quick update on my various, current, projects. I’m working on two graphic novels for release next year, one is an historical account of Joan of Arc for Tapestry Comics and the other is a science fiction/horror story that I can’t say much about currently, but I’m part of a great team over there as well. I’m also planning to return to work on my own comic, Fata Obstant Expeditions, next month, and issue 2 will be out in November. The book will be re-titled, AGENTS OF F.O.E., so be on the lookout for that. Issue #1 is for sale digitally at Comixology. A couple months ago Dark Horse Comics released The Complete Doc Unknown hardcover, over 360 pages of my work, and you can order that through your local comic shop, book store, or pick it up on Amazon.
My weekly podcast, The Illustrious Gentlemen, with up and coming DC Comics superstar artist Scott Godlewski, continues to soldier on and we have fun conversations and tackle some great topics. My other podcast I’ve been trying to get going, My Patronus is a Podcast has hit some roadblocks, but I hope to get that back on track soon.
One last thing, I’ve started a Threadless Artist shop selling t-shirts. So please, hop over there and check that out as well. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram & since I’m primarily an artist, here is some art to save this long winded post, enjoy!
It’s been a couple months since I’ve posted here so I thought I’d hop online and let everyone know what I’ve been up to. I’m wrapping up pencils and inks on a 3-issue run on a comic called The Six Swords and once I have solid publisher information on that I’ll be sure to post it. I’m also working with Tapestry Comics on a new adventure comic with a historical bent. I think a preview is being made for Free Comic Book Day in May. My own comic, F.O.E., will be starting up again later this month, and you can always buy the first issue digitally on Comixology, along with some of my other work. I co-host a podcast with Scott Godlewski (artist of Copperhead at Image Comics, and a couple titles at Vertigo/DC Comics) called The Illustrious Gentlemen, and on tomorrow’s episode (#19) we talk all about the beginning of Image Comics. I’m very proud of the 3 anthologies I’ve had work in that were published by Image and it was a fun talk. I also am continuing to post writing work, and some behind the scenes work to my Patreon, which is still a work in progress and awfully low on patrons. Also, for anyone in Australia, there is a card set for The Phantom coming out soon that I did some art for, so I’ll be sure to post about that when I get details. Here is a recent commission I finished.