I had hoped to finish this post Sunday when we returned, but I was just so beat from the drive that I knocked out. So, apologies for posting this two days later. But if you’re interested in some of my thoughts, check it out.

The Prelude:

The day finally came for us to hop in the car and drive down to Missouri for the St. Louis Comic Con. I say us because I invited my brother to come along for the trip as we’d never been on a trip together as adults.

We hopped into the car and left at around 9:30. After a momentary trip northward, we veered west and then southwest through Illinois. Now, I don’t want to insult the fine people of Illinois but the ride through it was pretty rough. Indiana has some slight variations in sights when you drive down the interstate but there were times when we felt like we’d gone in circles driving through rural Illinois. Everything looked so similar, but we did get to see the edge of Springfield which switched things up as well as crossing over the Missouri River.

We get to the area near the convention center only to find that the route the GPS was trying to take us through was marred by construction. The alternate route? A winding trip through a small community with a bunch of back roads that would have been really hard to navigate if we didn’t have the GPS.

We got there and were able to get things to my table (though I decided to set-up the next morning).

Strangely enough, getting to the hotel was much easier.

The hotel was nestled in a nice little area with an Aldi (which we’ve called Aldis my entire life), a Qdoba, and a couple other assorted spots to eat. My brother knocked out after sitting for awhile and I walked over to grab some food. Then I knocked out until I woke up to type this out. I’ll probably go back to sleep in a few to get ready for Day 1.

Day 1:

The first day was full of nerves since I had no idea what to expect. This was my first time having my own table and I didn’t know anyone else at the show save for Aaron Walther. Luckily, I got a confidence booster early on when another creator approached me and asked, “Are you the Jon Parrish that writes Secrets & Shadows?”

“Yes, I am.”

“My friend read your book and he loved it. He talks about it all the time.”

My nerves were eased and that gave me enough energy to get through the day.

The show itself was great. There was a huge crowd and people were there to buy books. My highest sellers were the Secrets & Shadows Full Set and Clusterf@#k. People seemed to really respond to my Secrets & Shadows pitch but people loved my Clusterf@#k hook of how Karl could turn into a Demon and Jim was “just a dick”. One guy didn’t even let me finish my pitch before buying up the whole set. I was actually pretty caught off guard by it.

One thing I did hear several times was how it was inspiring to see someone at it and someone that kept at it. I don’t see myself as a PRO in the sense that people think, but the fact that I’m in the position to give advice about the craft and how to create a comic is something I try not to take too lightly. I’m not a top tier name, but if I can help or inspire people to create something that no one else can make and to work through the disappointment, then I’ll try to do my best.

But Day 1 was a success. It was long and by the end my feet were killing me, but it was a success.

Day 2

Day 2 started out slow, but things picked up for awhile after noon. In contrast to the day before, there were way more families. It was Father’s Day after all.

But I was fortunate to have my aunt and cousin stop by to pick up some books, visit with us for a few minutes, and show my books some love.

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During the Kickstarter for Clusterf@#k, on of the rewards was sketch covers of the first chapter/issue. Recently I had been having trouble selling them, but it was recommended that I reach out to the artists at the show to perhaps draw on the sketch covers and perhaps try to sell those. So I reached out to a few of the artists there during a slow point and asked them. A couple of them were nice enough to do a cover for me.

Clusterf@#k Sketches

Left Cover: by David Brandstetter
Right Cover: Coarey Trim

I had a couple others but sadly, they were busy and didn’t get to finish before the show ended. Still, it has given me an idea for how to handle these sketch covers. I also like to see Jim and Karl drawn in other styles.

The show ended up closing up early, but we managed to get a bunch of cards and have a lot of laughs. A few people who stopped by on Saturday even came back around to chat with us again. It was really nice.

I was nervous going into the show because it was far from home and I didn’t know what to expect but my brother and I had a great time and got the opportunity to meet a lot of talented people who we might not have gotten the chance to otherwise. I hope that they make it a one day show next year, but I would still go back again even if they didn’t.

Also, here is a list of all of the cool vendors we met during the show check out their stuff.

Brad Morgan: Writer, Editor, and Co-Founder of 3 Moons Studios. He was actually the creator who recognized me so go check his stuff out and return the favor. He has a book called Rigel Raine that you should check out.

Randy Taylor (and his wife): The two of them are the organizers for Dodeca Con, an upcoming event in Columbus, Missouri.

Coarey Trim: One of the artists who worked on the sketch covers.

David Brandstetter: An artist/writer and the creator of Straw Man. He was the other artist to do a sketch cover for me. You should check out his stuff.

Real Deal Deadpool: A couple that makes really cool comic and sci-fi inspired crafts such as an “In Case of Superman, Break Glass” Kryptonite case. It was their suggestion that I try to get artists to do the sketch covers. Definitely go check out what they have.

Mike Grossman: Writer behind Goofy Froot. We spoke with Mike a whole bunch at the show and he was a really funny guy and Goofy Froot is a really great concept. He and Max were in the middle of a convention tour or sorts and it sounds like they’re doing pretty well. Check their stuff out. It’s pretty funny.

Lorenzo Lizana: An artist who has been at it for 20+ years and seemingly does it all: concept art, character designs, storyboards, and animation. His booth was busy for most of the time, but he did stop by to check out Clusterf@#k.

Jesse Kwe: An illustrator and graphic artist. He is the artist on the book Ghost Town which was successfully Kickstarted. You should definitely give his DeviantArt page a look because there’s some cool stuff there.

Brandon A. Daniels: The colorist on Ghost Town. Definitely check his stuff out as well.

Aaron Walther: Last but certainly not least is the person who not only recommended this show to me but was the person who allowed me to tag along at TriCon last year. Aaron wears many hats. He is the writer behind Zero’s Heroes, The Birdlander, Science Hero, and the Amoral Sting Ray. He is also the host of ComicDNA podcast which I have guested on many, many times. It a great podcast where you can hear people’s thoughts on comics you may not know about. So check out the site, the books, and the podcast.

One of the people who came to check out the table also left us his card. His name is David Bitterbaum and his blog is The Newest Rant. In fact while checking his site so I could post the link, I found an article about the convention that mentions myself and Secrets & Shadows. Give it a look.

There were several other people and if I missed you, I apologize but every person added to making my first solo venture as a vendor very enjoyable.

After everything was loaded up, my brother and I hopped into the car and drove straight home. I managed to get in a small meal before knocking out and sleeping like a log.

St. Louis Comic Con was a great show. As I said, I enjoyed the heck out of it and even though I didn’t make back all of the expenses, I still did better than I expected. Thank you to everyone who stopped by the booth and chatted with us as well as all of the creators at the convention.

Signing

So far this year, I’ve done one comic book signing and one convention. It might not seem like much but it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

One thing that was very interesting about the show was that I never realize how many books I have until they’re all laid out on the table. I’ve been wanting to build a body of work and slowly but surely I’m doing just that.

Later Days.