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.