Daily Archives: October 23, 2016

So dark the Con of Man: webcomics and comic cons

If you’re doing webcomics, is it worth having a table at a comic convention?   It’s something I was thinking about when  I recently went to a small Comic Con.  How small?  Well, it only cost $10 at the door ($7 if you order online!), the “convention center” was a tiny building in the middle of farmlands, and the facilities could only accommodate three aisles of vendors, which were mostly local comic shops.  There was also a short row of comic professionals at the artist’s alley.

It saddens me to say that I didn’t visit a single one of these comic writers and artists.  And it looked like no one else was, either.  From what I could see, the invitees were stretching and staring bored into space while convention goers filed past, sorta avoiding eye contact.

This was a little uncomfortable for me.  I’ve been to larger cons that have invited more well known comic people.  I’ve visited everyone from Dave Kellett to James Robinson.  I’ve commissioned artwork from Sam Logan.  I’ve had Don Rosa sing a “Mr. Terrific” theme song to me.

I also know I’m an anomaly.  I do run a webcomic blog, after all.  It’s more or less my duty to know these creators and what they’ve worked on.  In the larger context of things, these artists — even highly regarded ones like Kurt Busiek — are sorta forgotten when everyone’s here to see Nathan Fillion.  You can’t compete with a person who’s been in TV shows and movies and whose fans number in the tens of millions.  I had to wait roughly two hours in line to meet the man behind Richard Castle.  I only had to walk right up to the table at artist’s alley with no lines to speak of to chat with Kurt Busiek.

Even then… I know about these guys.  I’m not stopping at tables of people for whom I have no familiarity.  You might have the prettiest display with giant life-sized stands of your characters.  I am probably not going to check it out.   I’ve passed the table of the folks behind O Human Star at two different comic cons without stopping.  They have a nice display.  An yet, it would’ve been really awkward approaching folks whose work I have no familiarity with.

I’m reminded of a time I once had an awkward experience at a Borders. (Which was a bookstore, for all you young people.  I know… books sold in a store?!?!  One that was bigger than a Forever 21?  A weird concept.  I blame the 90’s.)  One of the employees approached me about an author they’d invited for a book signing.  No one showed up, because no one knew who this guy was.  The employee pushed me to go say hi to the guy because they felt sorry for him, and I was all, “But… what am I going to talk about?”  I felt sorry for him too… but there’s gotta be a better solution than a pity visit.

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