Last Saturday, I attended the Northwest Indiana Comic Con (or NWI Comic Con) for the first time. Even though it has been going on for four years, I somehow managed to miss it but was told about it while signing at Tenth Planet. I was pretty excited as it would be my first local convention and the first convention that wasn’t a two hour drive away.
Despite a rough morning and making a few mistakes (like forgetting my camera), I managed to make good time. The venue was actually not too far from the restaurant where my 10 year high school anniversary had been held so the area was familiar. When I arrived, there was a line of cars but a few were just early attendees who were told to wait. I pulled my car up to the building and tried to quickly unpack. My brother had accompanied me to the last two conventions, but I had assumed he’d be working so I’d signed up as one person. When it turned out my brother didn’t have to work, I still assumed that it would be a hassle to try and wrangle a badge for him and continued solo. Imagine my surprise when they showed me my table and handed me 3 badges.
After I got everything out of my trunk and to my table, I hopped into my car to park. I was told that vendors had to park at a nearby church and that someone would pick us up and shuttle us back. It was new, but I understood it was probably to save space for attendees. I dropped my car off and waited for the person to pick us up. Due to a little bit of confusion and the fact that the temperature was much lower than the previous days, a few people (myself included) decided to simply walk back to the venue rather than wait in the cold.
Once inside, I managed to quickly set up shop and wait for the show to get underway.
A few early hiccups aside, I really enjoyed this show. It was a nice sized venue (though the audience may outgrow it) with a steady stream of people throughout the day. I was at an aisle near a door so we got good traffic and people who stopped by were genuinely interested in what I had. Even if they weren’t, they were respectful and polite. I was able to talk to people about my books and they really seemed to be impressed by my enthusiasm with my work. I also was able to talk with fellow creator Daejuan Jacobs and his wife, Diane. Both were very welcoming and even gave me info on even more nearby conventions I didn’t know about, but will definitely be attending. I was also surprised to see my Aunt and my cousin stop by to pick up some books as well.
And while it wasn’t just about selling books, I’d like to say that that I didn’t do too badly. The Clusterf@#k trade sold really well and I managed to sell a sketch cover to a young artist who wanted to put his spin on the characters (I told him to post the finished art and @ me when he does). I met artists and creators who were just walking the floor and networking. It was just a great feeling to see so many people from different backgrounds and walks of life come together to embrace the culture.
As the show was winding down, I managed to get from behind my booth and speak with a couple people in my aisle and try to make a few purchases. I picked up Daejuan’s book, Fractal, as well as Victorie City by Keith Carmack & Vincent Nappi and Voracious by by Jason Muhr & Markisan Naso. I also met Ben Miller who has his own upcoming book with Alterna Comics and will also be attending Indiana Comic Con.
Overall, I think the show went really well. The staff was helpful and welcoming, the people attending seemed to enjoy it, and vendors who had done the show before didn’t have any complaints. At the end of the day, I call that a success. It was a fun show and brought the convention feel a lot closer to home. I would definitely recommend going next year because barring any unforeseen issues, I plan to be there again.
Below is a recap video of the event. I make a brief appearance at the 1:30 mark so don’t blink.
Next up on the list is Indiana Comic Con in April. Check in for updates and news. Some cool stuff is happening and coming down the pipeline.