I spent the morning doing my usual stuff, trying to create a sense of normalicy to keep my head together. Had breakfast while watching videos, paid my insurance bill, hit the bank. I had no idea what to expect, so I took with my pack. Inside was Kylie, loaded with a full battery and a slew of videos. Also in there were some blank comic book pages -- issue #1 of Head Above Water is penciled and inked, and I started laying out pages 1 and 2 of #2. Not knowing how busy I'd be, I brought extra pages and shields, along with my pencil, eraser, art pens, and my circle template. I also loaded up about nine Sharpies. I had been wondering how I was going to sign the cover, since it is mostly black, so two of them were the "metallic" Sharpies. My ego wanted to show off, even in its limited capacity, so I tossed in some other things I'd done: a copy of "Stress Puppy -- The Rise Of Holly", issue #9 of Video Game Trader (my review of Actionauts and my article on the legalities of fan games), the Morbid Myths 2007 Halloween Special, and a copy of Lightning Strike, the computer game I made.
The signing was from 10AM to 5PM. I talked with the shop last week, and they said someone would be there at least a fifteen minutes before open, maybe thirty that day as it was Free Comic Book Day. Time slips away from me easily, so I made dead sure I was out the door in time. Not an easy thing to do, when half the roads are either torn up for construction, blocked for summer street bazaars, or you just mistime places are open, like my bank.
I get there, grab my pack, and get in the door with ten minutes to spare. The door was wide open, and they were already working the crowd. They saw me and after quick introductions, showed me to the table. It was against the same wall as the registers, in a little alcove where action figures were for sale. No complaints from me -- it was immediate without making me the center of attention, and I was directly underneath an air conditioner vent.
At the table, they had a holder with a bunch of the first issues of The Supremacy. They also had the Stress Puppy graphic novel there already (I had dropped off a copy last week just to be neighborly). So I put out my other stuff. I barely had time to before people were coming up for signatures.
Man, that book is an easy sell. I don't know how many copies the store ordered, all I know is 1) they ordered plenty and figured they would simply send the extras around to the others in the chain, and 2) by the end of the day, only four copies remained unsold. I'm hoping this is a good omen, that the book will get people talking and reordering. I can't help but feel that readers want something different, and the concept was too much to pass up. Several people, in fact, I didn't have to talk it up, they mentioned they had read the five page preview on the Hard Way Studios web site and were already sold. I honestly think this could be a real hit.
One of the guys working there noticed my other projects on the table and was eyeing Lightning Strike. He asked how much it was. I told him I didn't bring any copies with, figuring I was there for the Supremacy, not to hawk my other wares and turn it into "Peter G's House O' Values". He said I should have, and taken advantage of the situation. Nonetheless, his kid was interested in Lightning Strike, and he bought the copy I brought with. Lightning Strike has officially sold in the double digits now. Go me!
The store was absolutely nuts. The guys said they had never seen a Free Comic Book Day so busy before. Roughly 80 people outside before things got rolling, the line snaking out the door (I checked, and Dabel Brothers apparently didn't get their FCBD entry, with an original Dresden Files story, done and in). Time was flying pretty fast. I had to correct a couple of people who thought The Supremacy #1 was free, and they said, "Oh," and moved on without a sale. Like I said about Pirate Bay, you can't force people to buy stuff they wouldn't buy anyway.
I don't know what time it was (I don't wear a watch), but as I'm looking around the store and waiting for people to drift my way so I could talk them up, I saw a teenage girl looking over the comic racks. Under her arm, she held a copy of the Stress Puppy GN. I immediately pegged her as b_briarwood's daughter. I would have won a cigar. They came up, got a copy of The Supremacy, and I signed her copy of Stress Puppy (all my friends who brought the Stress Puppy GN to sign got the same message -- "If anything happens, I'll deny I ever knew you." Got some real good laffs, let me tell ya). She mentioned that she had read it and loved it (Holly is her favorite character), and that, on the way up, her daughter started reading it (and now, Holly is HER favorite character). Shellie showed up with a Pikachu for me. She tried to apologize, as she knew I had a heard of stuffed Pikachu, but she didn't know I already had two of the one she gave me. I told her that was fine, I love Pikachu, I love the thought, and I was sublimely happy.
Mornblade showed up with his wonderful wife and not only got the Stress Puppy GN signed and a copy of The Supremacy, but also got his picture taken with me. He said he'd send me the pic, along with the pic of me with Elvira he took last year (YES, MORNBLADE, THIS IS A REMINDER SPECIFICALLY MEANT FOR YOU!!!). One guy asked me questions about comic book writing. I fired up Kylie and showed him some of my comic book scripts, as well as mentioning books that showed a more professional format.
I had very little downtime. So I didn't do any drawing or anything. I tried to briefly jump online to check failblog for some lulz. Kylie detected three wireless networks, all of them encrypted (one of them, the host name was "pissoff". I don't think I'll be cracking THAT one). In fact, I was there a good half hour after closing to work the crowd.
Only four issues unsold. May this be a good sign that my work is getting out there and that it will lead to better things.