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The 2012 DanCon Report

Keep in mind, if you are looking to see this on Bleeding Cool later, there will be a few things missing. Bleeding Cool is more general comic audience, this is more the personal experience. So the BC report will be missing a few details that I include here. Consider this the director's cut.

Well, here we are in Orland Park, IL, home of the second DanCon.  I can't really give totals this time because I don't know what all I sold.  All I know for sure is this -- I had so many Hannah Singer books, I had three of them that didn't go in the two boxes.  At the end of the day, not only did everything fit in the two boxes, I had some room left over.  My comics shrunk down, too.  Not only did I make table, but I actually moved merch.  This day counts as a huge huge win.

Anyway, how things went.  Because I don't trust bad luck, I started prep work for the con a lot earlier than I normally would. I ordered my comics, expecting hem to take two weeks. Unfortunately, because of the sheer number of different titles, it took a month. However, I ordered the books two months in advance, so I got them in time. I thought I found someone with copies of The Supremacy #1 and ordered ten. They were all damaged in storage, so I didn't get them. Ordered business cards (I was told by someone I trust in no uncertain terms that I can't get away with no business cards anymore), which took twice as long as expected, but I still got them in time.

I also tried getting my camera ready. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the charger. It uses a weird USB connection I've only seen before on Kodak cameras. I figured, no problem, the camera is only about a year old, I'll just stop by Best Buy and grab one. But when I got there the day before the con, they said they don't carry them. It's a PROPRIETARY Sony interface, and you can only get it from their website, and they will surprise buttsecks you.

I stop by a wifi hotspot and pull out Twilight, my Android tablet. I start searching and wondering what I'm going to do for a Plan B. I don't have another digital camera....

...and that was when I noticed the camera on the top of Twilight. The front facing 1.5 megapixel camera. With the 5 megapixel mounted on the back.

I do a quick test. GREAT pictures. And one of the coders offered to sell me his battery charger for $10. Not a USB cable, an actual wall unit. “You won't get it until next week.”

I'll be fine.

While I was addressing what I would take with, the question of making a sketchbook entered my mind. Lots of artists sell sketchbooks at conventions, from all across the spectrum of talent and popularity. However, that's other people. I work in cartoony minimalism. NO ONE is going to shell out $20 for a sketchbook of my interpretations of classic characters. Expecting otherwise would be delusional, narcissistic, or both. However, I remembered a Doctor Whooves fancomic I had drawn just for the hell of it (please note: I watch MLP-FiM because it's cartoony and funny. I'm not a brony and I have no interest in participating in the fandom. I see too many of the same behaviors that chased me away from the anime subculture and that I criticize the furries for. Enjoy your community, just leave me out of it). So I printed a few up with the intent of going into my Monty Hall routine as the day went on (“Oi! Who wants to give me a KitKat for this comic?!?”).

Another thing was I didn't want to forget silver Sharpies for signing my comics. I keep forgetting to bring them and wind up buying a two pack from a Jewel (black ink doesn't show well on the darker covers). So I started packing silver Sharpies, all that I could find. I had nine of them. Nine. Nine Sharpies that I only use maybe three days out of the year and sign only a few comics with each. Jesus.

I get to the con proper, just as a light snow is falling. What is it about me doing bigger shows and inclement weather hitting? (At DuPage a couple of years ago, the weather forecasters were saying it would be in the 70's. Instead, temperatures dropped and a snowstorm reduced the attendance to about a quarter of what it usually was.) I start setting up. Because I'm a minimalist, I'm usually ready to go in ten minutes. But instead, I took my time. The trickiest part was setting up the easel that held my Sound Waves poster. I haven't had to play with it in about a year and a half, and had to think to get it right. Took me about forty minutes. Because the local radio station was there, the hall was playing them. Unfortunately, that time in the morning, they are playing a Pink Floyd radio show. I can't stand Pink Floyd. I know they are legends of rock, but I don't like them. The only album of theirs I have is A Momentary Lapse Of Reason after relentless whiner Roger Waters left. I had brought headphones with in case I needed to show something on Twilight. I plugged them into my phone, and listened to Zero 7 while getting ready.

While everyone was getting set up, some people came around to chat. Franchesco! didn't show up, which shocked me, everything said he would make it, guess he had stuff to do. Same with Sofiya Smirnova, who was posting to her web page that she was going to show, but she never did. Although Legion Studios has a couple more convention appearances coming up this year, so I still have a chance to get her to sign my comic. Tom Stillwell showed up and made sure to say hi. We caught up a little bit, talking about the Unscrewed site.

I was surprised that some of the tables paid for, the artists didn't show up (a couple started breaking down with over an hour and a half left). Quite a few squatters got in and were able to sell their stuff. They opened the doors to the public about ten minutes early, and the joint started jumping. Lots of people coming through the area. I wasn't expecting much when the doors first opened. Usually, the early crowd is there to see people they know and wish them luck, I figured things would get hopping once the general interest crowd came in and they mixed among it. I actually got quite a few looks at my stuff. And quite a few, “I'm just circulating, I'll come back in a bit.” You know, the convention equivalent of, “I'll call you.”

For indie comic creators, obscurity is your biggest enemy.  Trying to draw attention to yourself is part of the job.  Some people are obnoxious about it, though -- years ago at the ChicagoCon, a new publisher had started up to sell a comic called Donna Matrix.  The booth had what was considered a multimedia display at the time, with monitors and the volume turned up to 11 (people at neighboring booths were complaining about actual hearing loss, the decibel level was 120 or more). When you aren't a big name, part of the challenge is getting people to notice you and actually stop at your table. The Twilight plushie made it like shooting fish in a barrel. A couple of hip urban youths were going around, saw my table, and started squeeing over the pony, one of them saying he should have worn his Rainbow Dash T that day. Girls walking by would declare, “Twilight is the best pony.”  And, as you can see, a couple of the cosplayers decided to ham things up with it.

My moralism about selling the Doctor Whooves comic was apparently rather unique. One person there was selling crocheted plushies (or “knitties”, as my friends and I call them) of Yoda, the Angry Birds, all sorts of stuff.

Head Above Water got some serious looks. No sales, but people were checking it out. Considering it doesn't usually register on people's radars, I'll take that no problem. The Stress Puppy GN got a buyer as well. Lots of single issues of Sound Waves being bought. One guy in the dealer's room, his wife worked for the local library acquiring books. She got both Hannah Singer books.

A few cosplayers turned up as well. One of the things I love about having a table at a con is the cosplayers come to you. The wife of the DanCon organizer has a Phoenix get-up, and another woman was there as Dark Phoenix. They stopped in front of my table, and I asked for a picture of them together. Another guy had a Spider-Man costume. After I got his picture he asked, “I don't know why I bother smiling for the camera.” I told him I could see it in his eyes, which got a laugh. I also got a Hogwarts student, Nenemsis and Jill Valentine from Resident Evil, a Tigra, a pallet-swapped Link, a Heath Ledger Joker, and two Harley Quinns. I also got a Cobra soldier with a guy behind him giving him bunny ears.

This was the first con I've been to where I had to stay at my table to work the crowd. Every other show I've done, there's been some sort of lull in the action or the attendance was small enough that I could slip away and see what else was out there. Not this time. A steady stream of people kept coming in and circulating, meaning I had to stay where I was less I miss some chance to make a sale. I managed to get out for a minute or two to say hi to the folks at Legion Studios and Unshaven Comics, but that was pretty much it until the end.

From my table, I could see the entrance to the creators room. Standing there, looking very dapper in his suit, was Ben Templesmith. And as I looked at him, I couldn't shake one singular thought – Templesmith looked like he would make a great 12th Doctor. I went up and told him so, and he was fun to talk with. Nice guy.

And now, the con is done, and I'm home again.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
clionona
Mar. 5th, 2012 03:08 am (UTC)
Congrats! Looks like you had a very successful con experience! (I saw the sketch you did of mornblade over at his LJ. Awesome!)

My favorite photo is the little Underdog! So cute! ♥!
bluegreenlilac
Mar. 5th, 2012 07:22 pm (UTC)
This does look like fun. Congrats, Mr. G.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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