ISSUE 3 REVIEWED ON NEWSARAMA!
The first reviews of the recent issue are starting to hit, and you can check one out now on Newsarama's YOUR INDY WEEKLY COLUMN. Columnist Ryan McLelland has been a fan of the book from the get go, and although he had a minor quibble with our latest issue, he still gave it 3 and 1/2 out of 4 stars!
Check out the review HERE (and you can even post your comments on the thread if you like!)
PRO OR CONS?
So, I had a busy con schedule in the early part of '06, doing Wondercon, Wizard World LA, Wizard World Philly, and Comic Con International. Lots of travel, lots of expense, lots of fun. WWLA and SDCC were the most successful, and one's I'll repeat next year. WWPhilly I won't, it's too much of an expense, and the artist alley there is full of creators, whereas LA is not. It seems the more artist alley/small press turnout, the smaller the sales. Makes sense, there are a lot more small time artists and publishers competing for the same dollars, be it commissioned artwork, or independent comics. I may try Wondercon again next year, cause it's such a great show, but in the artist alley as opposed to small press. When you're located in artist alley you tend to get more sketch commissions, and therefore more sales. I love sketching, and I love selling books, but most of all I NEED the most sales I can at shows to offset the cost.
I also did a couple regional shows in March and April, my local show, The Portland Comic Book Show, and the newer Seattle show, Emerald City Comic Con. The Portland Comic Book Show is in it's 30th year, and was the first con I ever attended. I still remember my first comic con, because it was a huge event for me. It was 1983 and I was utterly in love with comics, and drawing them too. My free time was consumed with comics, either reading or creating them.It's easy to recall the year and specifics, because 1983 was when I created the first issue of the biggest comic project I've ever done (still bigger in output even than Super Real), Dogie the Wanderer. Dogie was a humanoid talking dog, that was very much derivative of Cerebus, my favorite comic of the time. But instead of wielding a sword in years past like Cerebus, Dogie was in a future Earth sci-fi setting (and although directly inspired by the aardvark comic, very much his own book when all was said and done). Anyway, back to the first con. I remember I went with a couple friends who were comic fans (to lesser degree, and not as a knock, but I was THE comics guy in any ring of comics friends, only child, spoiled, artistic genes, it just was my thing), and we were all stoked about finding various books or seeing various creators. In 1983 I would've been 13, so we had a ride from my dad. Thing was, I'd brought that first issue of Dogie with me to the show, to show the creators in attendance my work, but I was a shy guy, and didn't want to go through with it. I still remember my dad forcing me to show artist Ron Wilson, then penciller of Marvel's The Thing, whom I'd stood in line to see. I remember all this because those few seconds that Ron looked over my comic, were some of the most nerve racking of my young life, here was a guy drawing one of my favorite characters, doing what I wanted to do for a living, looking over my knowingly rough artwork. Sure Dogie was my proudest achievement at the time, but I knew it wasn't all that yet. Ron was a nice man, and he even signed my book for me... I still have all of my 9 issues of Dogie preserved in acid free paged binders, and I still have Ron's signature on that first issue cover to also remind me of that big event.
Any way, enough Jason Martin history, my point was that the Portland show is long running, local, and always has two shows a year, except this year. For the first time ever, they've canceled a show, the show that would've been in October. So I'm missing having that, the Portland Shows are some of my best for Super Real. Now I've got to wait til the spring for another.
As for Emerald City, this is a great show, best in the NW by far, the organizers really go all out and bring in dozens of top name creators. However, this year's show, the fourth, was the first that was a let down. They still put on a great show, but attendance was down, or at least didn't continue the pace of growth, the first 3 years of the show attendance doubled per year. This show was another let down for me in terms of sales. Again, I think to do with the very large artist alley section (but also the decreased numbers couldn't have helped). It's still an awesome show to attend though, and next year is already shaping up to be huge. Again here, I'll probably go for artist alley next time.
Another new regional show that's growing by leaps and bounds is The Stumptown Comics Fest. This is a unique show, that spotlights creators, with no exhibitors allowed. Similar I assume to other indy showcase cons like SPX or APE. Stumptown is in it's third year, and is this weekend. I however, won't be exhibiting at this one either. As they sold out before I committed, and honestly, as I suspected, Super Real doesn't play well to indy crowds, as my first time at Stumptown last year was a sales disaster. So I was reluctant to pay the now double the price cost for space at this year's show (I imagine, due to it residing in the top notch Oregon Convention Center). I may share a space with a friend though... we'll see.
So, I had 6 shows in less than five months, between February and July, and nothing on my calendar since. I'm getting the itch to get out there, but frankly, after sooo many shows, I was burnt out (not to mention way behind). I'd planned on doing the New York Comic Con in February, but as of a month ago when I looked into it, they were already sold out of artist alley and small press space. I'm really bummed about missing this show, but hopeful to still find a way in (anyone want to sell me their artist alley space?).
Also, I'd thought about doing Wizard World Texas, as I do every year, but never break down and spend on air, hotel, and con space for this one. I suspect like WWLA though, that the artist alley space here is smaller, and could be conducive to a good show for me. However, when I talked to the exhibits person last week they indicated the space was almost sold out. I'd been watching air fair, but even with a recent drop to around $250, the total overall cost would still be at least $550 for a 4' space. And that's too much to chance right now. So, no WWTexas again this year.
Time to start planning for next year though, so stay tuned for details on that.
Hope you enjoyed the insights into doing cons as a publisher/creator, and my personal insights too. I'll have to share more of those in the future.