I’ll be a returning guest of honor at Anime Milwaukee this year, set up in artist alley selling comics during the day, and also doing panels throughout the weekend.
– Writing for Comics and Manga (3:30-4:30pm) – 202AB
– Making Time for Making Comics (8-9pm) – 202C
– VIP cocktail event (9:30-10pm)
– How to Exhibit at Cons (4-5pm) – 202A
– How to Make your Own Comics and Manga (7-8pm) – 202C
Who will I see there? Which panels are you most excited about?
I’m back, and we’re still making comics. Sorry for being silent for so long, but I’ve been focused on Albert the Alien, my Patreon, and putting together convention appearances for 2017. I’m doing less cons in 2017, due to having a newborn, but will be back to full force in 2018.
That said, below is a list of the confirmed appearances I have for 2017 so far:
Forrest Park Library FlipCon
Forrest Park, IL
March 31-April 2
Free Comic Book Day – location TBD
Wizard World Chicago
New York Comic Con
New York, NY
I was a guest of honor (and a Harvey Award nominee) at the Baltimore Comic Con this year, which was an amazing con. I wrote a series of posts about it over at my other website, www.AlbertTheAlien.com, where I detailed out the events of the weekend. Below are the links to the posts, as well as some highlight photos from the event.
PART 1: Where I arrived at the show a day early, attempted to convince everyone I would be the easiest guest they had ever had, and then proceeded to prove that statement wrong in every possible way that I could (sometimes intentionally, other times not).
PART 2: The first official day of the con, where events were happening, sales occurred, and I had dinner with Dean Haspiel and Howard Chaykin.
PART 3: Where we didn’t win a Harvey Award, but we had a good time all the same.
PART 4: Where we had to say goodbye to new friends and fans, with the hopes that we would be invited back next year (despite all the shenanigans).
I wrote a series of posts on my other website, www.AlbertTheAlien.com, about my convention experience at Wizard World Chicago. Check out the various sections below.
PART 1: Preview Night, which included a very hearty dinner with my good pal, Russell Lissau.
PART 2: The first official day, in which I moderated a panel with Dean Haspiel, Ali Cantarella, and Steve Horton.
PART 3: The biggest day of the show, where Channel Awesome paid me a visit and I met Jon Baily (Honest Trailers)
PART 4: The final day, where I had to say my goodbyes (by taking silly pictures with people).
We had a blast at Anime Iowa this year. It’s a fun show in the middle of Iowa, with a killer guest lineup, and one that I continue to enjoy attending. Want to hear all about it (including the adventure I had to endure that almost prevented me from attending?), check out the links below:
– PART 1: Where the weather kept myself, and most of the other guests, at bay. In fact, one guest wasn’t able to make it BECAUSE the weather was so bad.
– PART 2: Where the guests and I got rowdy, had fun, went to the pub, and played Cards Against Humanity.
– PART 3: Despite being tired, I lead a 9am panel and sold for an entire day. How did I make it through? Click here to find out.
– PART 4: The final day of the con is always the most exhausting. But despite all that, Steve Blum bought me dinner and kept me company at the airport. Really nice guy.
The final day of a con is always the hardest. You’re tired, you’re hurting, but you’re also still excited – and you want to get the rest of those books sold, so you don’t have to take anything home. Always the goal, but not always the outcome. At this show, however, Sunday had some pretty strong sales and made my trip home that much lighter.
A quick breakfast bagel and a jog over to the convention center was my morning before I set up the table and started selling. There were no panels today, and nothing to distract me from focusing on sales. And sales did come in, although probably a little slower than they have in year’s past.
Set up for the final day of the con!
Commission sketch card of a Game of Thrones character
Before we knew it, the weekend had come to a close and it was time to head home. I had a work trip to China to prepare for, and another convention the weekend I returned. Lots left to do. But Anime Midwest was and continues to be a great show, lots of fun, and one I highly recommend.
Day 1 of the convention was done, but Saturday would be the biggest day yet. Also, they launched Pokemon Go during the convention, so kids were taking photos of cosplayers – and seemingly nothing. Despite the servers continuously crashing, everyone seemed to really enjoy the game, and people were all eager to find the most Pokemon they could. But I digress – let’s talk more about the convention!
This man is ready to sell some comics
Saturday morning involved a quick breakfast before heading over to the floor for set up. I was munching on a bagel while other artists were trickling in, setting up the remaining books to sell. The doors opened before too long, and the day of selling started. I had a few commission requests right off the bat, keeping my head down while I worked on sketch cards and selling books to people who wandered by the table looking at the titles. The comic guests were quite a ways removed from the rest of the dealers and artists, which made selling difficult. Hell, most of the fans couldn’t even find us when they were looking for us, which was disappointing. But despite the hurdles, we trekked on.
A commission of an attendee as a chibi anime character
Hanging out with long time fan (and friend) Jeff Pape
Melon-flavored kit kats! A gift from Brooke Stephenson
Around 3pm,I left to go lead my Self-publishing 101 panel. The panel was very well attended, engaging questions about making your own comics. Several people were in the process of making their own comic, but weren’t sure how to get started when it came to printing it out. Or if that was even the right path for them to go. Printing comics can be expensive, after all, so it isn’t a decision to take lightly. But it’s never been harder to be published than it is today, but it’s also never been easier to make a comic.
I got back to the floor for some more sales before closing down early for my final panel for the weekend, which was Making Webcomics. Brooke Stephenson joined me, and we talked about our mutual experience making webcomics – but mostly fielded questions from fans. More engaging questions followed, and we tag-teamed the answers, providing our own unique perspectives on how we’ve tackled our processes and the decisions we’ve made to get where we are today.
We ended the panel and headed to a nearby restaurant with Sean and Sara (Spinerette) to grab a late dinner. On the way we ran into Chuck Huber and his girlfriend, who had actually just finished eating at the same restaurant we were headed to – an Irish pub within walking distance of the hotel. We had a quick meal and a great conversation and then headed back to the hotel to relax a bit before the Cards Against Humanity panel at 11pm.
This is one of the highlights of my con experiences with Dan and Jillian: Cards Against Humanity is a fun way to unwind and yet still perform for the attendees of the show, playing a game with them and yet also performing their cards for them. It’s also a fun way to play with the other guests, too, and get little in-jokes with each other. Brooke had never played the game this way before, but she had a blast. We stayed in the room late into the night, until security let us know that the building was being secured due to predatory activity (apparently, someone was being creepy to girls taking selfies).
We headed back to the Hyatt and went to the green room to hang out with my friends April, Bethany, and the V for Villains gang. Drinks and shenanigans kept us entertained late into the night, and before too long I realized it was long past time to head to bed.
Hanging out with my favorite villain, Vex! While April pretends she’s a cat behind us
V for Villains new drummer proves he’s a strong man. Lift lifting two girls and walking down the hall
Summer time is convention season, and the midwest is a fun place to hit up a good con. And what better named con could there be than Anime Midwest? I was back as a guest of honor at this awesome convention, and we had a blast. Want to know what happened? Well, let’s talk about it…
After work I headed straight from the office to the hotel to check in, grab some food, and start the weekend of fun and hanging out. The Hyatt was the official con hotel, and I went to Guest Ops and get my badge and room key so I could drop my stuff off in my room. It had been raining earlier that day, and because of the humidity I decided not to go drop my stuff off at the convention center (and it’s a good thing I didn’t…and I’ll tell you why in a second). Instead, I opted to go have dinner at the Hyatt bar, during which time it rained again. HARD. Like, the ceiling was leaking in 2 different places hard. And when I say leaking, I mean it was like a waterfall in at least two places that I could see from where I was sitting with my burger and my drink.
On my way back to the room, a girl I didn’t recognize approached me and asked if I knew where Con Ops was located. Apparently her group was one of the burlesque dancers, and they didn’t have all of their badges yet, but were told they would be available at Con Ops to be picked up. I chatted her up for a bit while I walked her over to the location, and then parted ways. I went back to my room to relax for a bit, listening to some music and prepping my sketch cards for the show.
My buddy Russell Lissau (Old Wounds, Starwberry Shortcake) eventually showed up, and I came with him to the hotel bar to sit and chat while he had a snack and a beverage. He told me he had tried to go to the convention center and, because of the rain, it had started to flood! This is why I was glad that I didn’t go set up when I first got in. Apparently, the water in the convention center went all the way from the loading docks almost as far as our tables. We chatted for a few hours and eventually went our separate ways. Eventually my friend Brooke Stephenson (Fallen) showed up, and I helped her get her badges and drop her stuff off before we headed to the Green Room to hang out with the volunteers and staff.
Novembros reunited. With Brooke Stephenson
Greg Ayers had arrived before too long, and it was great to get to catch up with him. People came and went from the Green Room, and eventually I wandered around with Brooke before we parted ways for the evening.
Because I stayed up way later than expected the previous night, I skipped my usual routine of Friday morning workout (which I do regret; it always makes me feel better; energized for the weekend), and headed straight to breakfast. Russell and Brooke were already down there, and I grabbed some quick eggs before heading back to the room to grab my stuff and set up.
The show started around 1pm, and opening ceremonies were at noon, so I wanted to be set up and ready to go prior to the floor opening. Once everything was set, though, it was time to relax and walk around a bit before opening ceremonies.
The booth is all set up and ready for a weekend of selling
During opening ceremonies, it was an opportunity to connect with all of the guests behind the stage. I saw Analise from V for Villains, and also hung out with Samurai Dan and Lady Jillain, and also Chuck Huber. Chuck took off his shirt back stage and made a terrible joke (“Does anyone know a good vet, because these puppies are sick,” as he pointed at his arms), which I dared him to say on stage. Which he did. And now I owe that man a drink. They eventually got to my turn to go on stage, but I was being blocked by one of Lady Jillain’s Akida dogs. The thing was kind of scared to get off the stage, and it was completely blocking the stairs to get on the stage. So they handed me a microphone, and I started my monologue with, “I want to come on the stage, but there’s a terrified dog in the way!” I announced my panels and my location in artist alley, and then headed back to the floor for selling.
And sell we did. People started pouring into the place, including our fellow comic guests Steve Wallace (Reading with Pictures) and Sean Lindsay (Spinnerette). The rest of the day was spent selling, and then we broke for dinner. Steve and I had a panel that night at 9:30pm, right next to the room where V for Villains were playing their concert, which was about Kickstarter for Beginners. Considering the amount of noise we had to deal with from next door, the panel was well attended and very engaging about crowdfunding and Kickstarter.
After the panel ended, we met up with the rest of the group in the Green Room to unwind before going to bed. Friday was an epic start to a great / exhausting weekend, and it would only get better as the weekend went on.
July is the heart of convention season, and I have some appearances coming up for shows that you will not want to miss! I will be returning as a guest of honor to these amazing shows. We will be doing some panels, filled with my signature brand of education and entertainment. I hope to see you there!
– Panel Room 4: Kickstarter for Beginners (9:30pm to 10:20pm)
– Panel Room 1: Self Publishing 101 (3:00pm to 4:20pm)
– Panel Room 5: Making Webcomics (6:00pm to 6:50pm)
– Panel Room 2: Starting Your Own Webcomic (9:00am-10:00am)
– Panel Room 2: Tabling At Conventions (9:30am-10:30am)
The final day of a convention is always the hardest to get up for. It’s been a lot of fun, but exhausting. You’re tired. You’re sleep deprived. You’ve been going to bed too late and getting up too early. But adrenaline is still pumping through the veins, despite your voice being nearly gone from talking over all the noise. And on top of all that misery, you don’t want it to come to an end. But it has to. All things, even good things, must end.
Morning. Breakfast. Drive to the con. Set up. The morning tasks of a con tend to be rather routine. But it’s when those doors open and people start pouring in that everything changes. Sunday was surprisingly my strongest day of the show, with a lot of sales coming in (last-minute shoppers), and a handful of commissions. The day felt a lot shorter than it was, mostly because I was heads down working on sketch cards and full-sized commissions. But it did eventually come to a close, and we packed up a bit early to beat the rush exiting the con and the hotels (which sadly meant not a lot of time for goodbyes).
Trevor, Alan, and Ren – hanging out behind the tables on the final day
Batman v Spider-Man sketch card commission
Sophia the First commission
Alan drove me home, picked up his stuff and we said our goodbyes. And I started to unpack and relax a bit. But then I got a text from my good friend, and fellow comic creator Russell Lissau. Russell didn’t have a table at ACEN this year, but had hung out with us Friday night, and he was wondering how things went. I invited him over to chat about the con, and also to partake in some grilling delicious goodness.
Nothing helps you relax after a con like good friends and good food. I marinated some pork chops (in olive oil, vinegar, and some seasonings), and threw some brats on as well (jalapeno, and Jim Bean bourbon flavored). Russ brought some side dishes, buns and veggies (which we put in foil and cooked with garlic and basil butter) and we made a meal out of it. Russ hung out for a few hours and then we parted ways (I was exhausted, but not so tired that I couldn’t watch the Game of Thrones episode I had recorded).
How do you typically unwind after a con? What’s your post-con ritual?
ACEN was – once again – a blast. I hope to come back again next year, and who knows…maybe there will be a few surprises in store for next year, too!
Post-con grilling, a great way to unwind (and not just immediately pass out from exhaustion)