Oh boy, this was my second convention of the year and it was truly a learning experience.
Madison Comic Con was a one day convention that ran from 10am to 5pm. Because it was one day (and much closer than St. Louis), I decided to just get up early and drive there. Unfortunately, I failed to keep in mind that that meant I would have to get up as early as 5am to get ready and be ready to leave by 6pm. I also failed to realize that my nerves would not let me get a full nights rest despite laying down at 10pm. So I found myself waking up at 4:30am unable to get back to sleep and just decided to get ready anyway.
My brother and I were all packed up and in the car by about 5:45am, mostly awake and slightly hungry. There was a Burger King next to the Interstate so we passed the 24hr. McDonalds and drove all the way out to find that it opened on 6:30am on Sundays. We ended up grabbing some pastries from the nearby gas station before driving up the ramp and onto I-90.
(Spoilers: The snacks were not enough.)
The drive through Northern Illinois to Wisconsin was very interesting. I’d never driven that far north of Chicago so it was interesting. For one thing, there was a lot of standing fog that sat over fields near the road and never went anywhere. One field was so heavy with it that it seemed to disappear into nothingness. There were also times when the road was so elevated that looking out, it felt like were driving near a coast because everything seemed to disappear. What also seemed to disappear was my change as we went through at least five or six tolls and I spent roughly nine dollars in quarters.
One thing I will say about Madison is from the drive in, the place certainly looked beautiful. We drove in right around 9am and the whole city looked alive. People were riding wave runners on the lake, jogging, walking their dogs, and generally bustling around the town. We didn’t really stay to see the city but it definitely looked like a nice place to visit.
After multiple attempts to find our way to Monana Terrace Convention Center’s parking lot, we managed to finally find a way in and a spot right by the entrance. It took a bit to find my table, but we managed to find it and began setting up only for me to find that I had left my banner at home. After trying to cover every base and going over things several times, I somehow managed to walk right past my banner case and forgot it entirely. Needless to say I was more than a little upset. Still, I did the best I could with what I had and Jerome was nice enough to make a slide show on his laptop.
The show itself was decent. Sunday’s are always slow days but this was my first time working on a show that was only a Sunday. Usually artists can come the night before and get situated so they can rest up and show up, for this show you had to show up and set-up. That was a bit new for me. But we managed to make a few sales, I even sold a copy of the Clusterf@#k trade in the first hour. Over the next six hours, we tried to sell the books and have conversations while trying to fight off the slowly mounting fatigue from lack of sleep. It was around the halfway point when it really started to get to me, but somehow we managed to push through it. It’s great that my brother is able to come with me because it would have been a much harder struggle sitting by myself. In the end, we made it through and I even managed to sell a couple copies of Someday, Secrets & Shadows #1, and one full Secrets & Shadows set.
We also were able to meet a lot of great people including Luther Hall who was selling shirts and his first ever comic book, Angry Kat. We also had a great discussion with Phillip and Carolyn who bought a copy of Someday for a friend who was working on his own writing. I got to pick up a book from Tango Unlimited and speak to their inker and one of their writers. I also got to speak to Dan Biesel, an artist with his own book called Gridcurrent. Dan was the one who picked up the full set of Secrets & Shadows and really made my day. While I enjoy selling books, I also like being able to meet people (creators and customers) and have conversations. I think that helps make the sleepiness and hunger a lot more bearable.
Once the show was over, we packed up, stopped at McDonalds, and headed home. I don’t know how I managed to stay awake through it all but I did. All in all, the show didn’t go 100% how I wanted it to go but it was a great experience and I learned a lot from it. It’s always great to see other people doing what you’re trying to do or even meet people who are trying to get to where you are. I affirms that while you might not be where you want to be, you’re a hell of a lot farther along than where you were.
But no feeling is better than your head hitting the pillow at the end of a long trip home.
There are a couple more shows happening in the Midwest that I’m going to try to get out to, but for right now I’m just going to relax for a moment.
It’s been awhile since my last post, but here’s a quick update:
- After doing the numbers, Clusterf@#k has sold 188 books so far this year. Adding the books that we sold on the KS campaign last year, that adds up to 220 copies sold. The minimum goal is to get the number to 200 sold in 2016. I haven’t gotten the royalty statement for the last few months so we might already be there.
- I’ll be tabling at the Madison Comic Con in Madison, WI on September 18th. If you live in the area stop on by Monona Terrace (1 John Nolen Dr, Madison, WI 53703.) and say hello. I’ll have copies of Clusterf@#k, Someday, and of course Secrets & Shadows.
- At some point, I’ll be uploading a new short comic I did called ‘New Management’. It was drawn by Secrets & Shadows artist Dexter Wee and lettered by Clusterf@#k letterer Nic J. Shaw. It’s a throwback to old mafia films (Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino, etc).
Other than that, no news is good news. I have some projects I’m putting together for next year and hopefully things work out the way I want them to.
We shall see.
Once I again, I hopped on Aaron’s podcast to talk about one of my favorite action/adventure comics Skullkickers. On this episode, we cover the final volumes of the series and give our thoughts on the series end. Hope you enjoy it.
In today’s world, there’s so much violence and hatred that it gets to be a chore to even bring yourself to want to go outside. I have to admit that there are a lot of days where I struggle to leave the house because I don’t know if I’ll make it back. It was hard enough when there was a possibility that I could be robbed or shot by another civilian but now there’s an even greater fear because videos of police violence and this feeling of not knowing how to prevent that from happening to me.
It is because of this that I find so much comfort in shounen manga and the subsequent anime shows, most recently My Hero Academia. One thing about the characters in shounen manga and anime that resonates with me that I can’t seem to find or haven’t been able to find in Western Comics is fear. A lot of heroes just seem to have a cool head or they show momentary doubts, but they do not get crippled by fear. In many of the anime and manga that I’ve watched when the protagonists go through frightening situations, they are visibly frightened. At least it’s a fear I can relate to (shaking, perhaps on the verge of tears, etc). Still, they all find a way to eventually overcome that fear in a way that is usually more satisfying than what I see in mainstream Western comics and helps me overcome my own fears. This has only become that much more apparent in my watching of My Hero Academia.
In My Hero Academia, the protagonist Izuku is a person in a world of heroes. People have powers called quirks and in this world, almost everyone has a quirk. The kids at his school have quirks, his mom has quirks, his dad has a quirk, everyone has one. Izuku looks forward to having his own work so that he can become a hero like his idol All-Might. Unfortunately, he learns he has a condition that means that he will never develop a quirk which ultimately means that he can’t become a hero. But despite everyone (including All-Might himself) telling him that he can’t, he still wants to be a hero.
The thing that sticks with me about My Hero Academia is the fact that Izuku is unsure of himself. He mumbles, he’s a bit of a hero otaku, and for the most part he’s kind of sad. Yet in the first episode when his biggest tormentor is being held hostage by a villain and no one knows what to do, Izuku runs to save him. He’s shaking and he’s afraid but out of a crowd of heroes, the kid with no powers runs to save the guy who’s been a dick to him forever. The quiet kid who they’ve nicknamed Deku (which means nothing) runs head-on into danger when he has no powers. And he’s not cool about it or dropping one-liners, he’s actually in tears as he runs forward. But the fact that he runs forward with tears in his eyes resonated with me and made me want to watch more of the show. I’ll be honest, I teared up a little because I could somehow find myself relating to that more than anything I’ve seen in mainstream Comics or in mainstream comic films.
As a black person in the United States, there are times where I find myself terrified to leave the house. When people are sharing videos of people who look like you getting brutally shot over small offenses, it doesn’t exactly feel safe. Add to that the general dismissal by the majority of people which make me feel as if my life doesn’t matter and it’s only amplified. If I were to get shot reaching for my wallet or for having my black cell phone in the cup holder (something I tend to do), I can’t help but feel like there are people who will find an excuse as to why it is my fault. There are many times when it feels like this country (and often the world) wants me dead but despite my fears, I find myself wanting to be like Izuku and face my fear head-on. Sometimes I think that’s a part of why Japanese comics in Japanese animation resonate with so many black youth. There are so many times were the protagonist strikes out to overcome world that hates them. They are treated as less and they are often afraid, but they move forward and eventually overcome. I can’t speak for every black person but that resonates with me more then a bunch of superheroes with quips and smirking in the face of danger. It resonates with me a lot.
if you haven’t seen My Hero Academia, I highly recommend it. The show has a lot of heart and I find that the protagonist is much less obnoxious as some of the protagonists in these type of shows can be. The entire first season is currently on Hulu and if it doesn’t follow One Punch Man to Toonami, I will be very surprised.
But to all the people like me who see the news and struggle when it’s time to leave the safety of your house, go beyond. Because no matter what happens, the fact that you kept going in the face of all that is happening makes you a hero. At least to me.
Well, hello there. I do hope that things are going well for you this Independence Day.
I’m still working on getting this new short up, but before that I wanted to toss out some new Kickstarters that I’ve come across that looked really interesting and thought I’d share them with you.
- Elements: Fire by Beyond Press
This one has already blown through the halfway point in less than three days, but it still needs your support. Elements: Fire is an anthology that was born out of a discussion about the need for diverse creators as well as the need for diverse books. Well, the discussion eventually grew and blossomed as the people involved stopped talking and got to work. And boy, did they do work. You can find out more behind the scenes stuff here.
Over 20 creators and more than 250 pages of stories is nothing to sneeze at. If it seems like something up your alley, definitely give it a look. I’ve already backed it.
- Enough Space For Everyone Else by Astro Monastery Media
This Kickstarter caught my eye when it first launched but I was more focused on getting things in order
post-St. Louis Comic Con. They have almost half of their goal, but still have 12 days left. This anthology interested me because it was striving to tell space stories that didn’t fall on the same old tropes. They wanted to expand (eh,eh?) the scope of the kinds of space stories told with perhaps a little more positivity. I don’t know, I’m just on a real upbeat, friendly kick these days.
Go give it a look and if it seems like something you’d be into, consider tossing it some money.
Well, those are two Kickstarters I think you should check out.
I hope everyone enjoys their 4th. Try to keep from setting anyone’s dumpster on fire, eh? No seriously, that happened to us a few years back and it sucked. Just melted plastic and burnt garbage everywhere. I would not recommend.