Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Having just gotten home from a week away attending Seattle's Emerald City Comic Con, I've just had all sorts of thoughts in my head. Basically boiling down to what these types of conventions mean to those of us that work in the industry.

At one time, comic conventions were special because they were few and far between. I grew up in the era of mall shows and tiny hotel room rummage sales. You've have a few big shows the whole year in other cities or states, and that was it. Now it's exploded to the point where there are a few shows each month throughout the year. So how special each show is, depends on the location, the people that attend, and the focus of the show. And Seattle has a great one, since it's so very focused on comics and their creators instead of the media hype that surrounds other larger shows.

For the working professional, going to a convention can be a schizophrenic operation, with all sorts of purpose to accomplish. I imagine first and foremost on their minds is to make money. At the least, to cover travel, hotel, and food costs; but also to make money when they might be better spent at home working or with family. And there are quite a few artists that do nothing but hit multiple shows on the circuit a year. To the point where they're not even working in the comic industry regularly or even at all, and are making a living at conventions. It's enough to blow your mind.

Also of importance is the networking involved. To actually see your fellow creators, some of which you've worked with and can see in person for the first time. Some you don't see except once or twice a year at these shows. And also get a chance to introduce and meet others from companies you aren't working for (or whom you'd like to work for). I got a chance to reconnect with two artists I worked with on past stories (one that sat next to me in Artists Alley and the other came up out of the blue and had the nicest of things to say). The business that goes on after-hours in the bars and restaurants and hotels, is much different than the business on the con floor itself. And can lead to future collaborations.

But I think for me, these shows always come down to meeting the audience. And that's not some trite assessment. Meeting the fans is the greatest creative battery recharge that a professional can get. It's easy to forget that most of us work at home, locked in some room (cave, dungeon, etc), alone with our work. That it's nice to step away from that quiet comfort and to actually hear from those that follow the work. Excited fans of all types, whether they want a book signed, get a sketch, or just tell you their favorite issue of yours; is a great gift to us. It might be the only auditory praise we'll hear all year. I truly get a kick out of it.

I had a mom with her two young kids, come up to the table on the last day of the show. She was carrying a backpack with all their comics, and they dug them out, and each one handing me comics from their stack, saying thank you after each signature I returned back. Their enthusiasm was infectious as they couldn't contain themselves with their enjoyment of the stories and telling me about it. Stuff like that is priceless and reminds us (reminds me) who is reading the work we put out.

Lil Gotham made its current print debut on the convention cover


  1. Very cool meeting you. Thanks for the sketch. The strange doctor is awesome. If you want a scan of it, let me know.

    1. The show was great fun and so was drawing that sketch. Thanks for stopping by!