The final day of the con had us grabbing breakfast in the green room (they had some delicious fresh apples!), and then heading to the floor for our final set up. The last day of the show is always exhausting, but the excitement of the final day always brings enough energy to muscle through.
We didn’t have any panels on the final day, so we were able to just focus on sales and hanging out. Traffic on the floor was still pretty solid, and people were in good spirits – the way you like to see the final day of a con.
The comic book guests of the show, somehow full of energy on the final day!
After several hours of selling, we finished and packed up and began to say our good byes to the staff and volunteers who had made our weekend so great. I even walked around the floor a bit, looking to see if there were any gifts for my daughter (I didn’t see anything age-appropriate, but I’m sure she’ll want a bunch of stuff when she’s old enough to appreciate it).
Thanks so much for another amazing weekend, and a fantastic start to the convention season! I can’t wait to be back again next year!
Thanks for a fantastic weekend, Anime Milwaukee. Photo by Tommy Schultz
The next morning started like any other day, but would progress quite differently. We attempted to grab breakfast at the diner across the street again, but after waiting over 40 minutes for our order, we had to take off to open our tables. Russell offered to stay behind and pick up our food, which took another 20 minutes or so. Alan and I were open and ready for the masses who piled into the dealer’s hall first thing, and started making sales right away. The day flew by quickly, between selling books, chatting with friends who stopped by, and promoting the Kickstarter for Albert the Alien vol 3 (live until March 15).
Kickstarter backers at the con got bonus rewards, as modeled by Alicia
Around 5pm, just before the close of the floor, the group broke down and went to our panel about How to Exhibit at Cons. When we arrived at the room, however, it appeared to be another schedule hiccup. The room was already filled with voice actors doing their bits for a very large crowd, who was having a fun time. Since the schedule didn’t list the right now for our panel, and no one was waiting for us, we opted to let the voice actors keep going and instead went to grab some dinner.
Alan took us to a Spy-themed restaurant, which I was not able to eat at due to the wait time (I had another panel later that night). Instead, I went to a local Bon Mi place and went to the green room to eat diner and talk to the staffers up in the room. I enjoyed my sandwich, told some funny stories, and then headed to my final panel for the weekend (which did have a matching schedule on the door to my schedule) about Self-Publishing. We had a nice sized crowd for the panel – a good 30+ attendees – all asking excellent questions and trying to make their own comics. I went on for the full hour, and broke down at the end to grab a quick drink before we did Cards Against Humanity with Dan and Jillian.
Myself and Lady Jillian, getting ready for a night of Cards Against Humanity!
The rest of our guest lineup for CAH. Top: Russell Lissau and Greg Wicker. Bottom: Alan Evans and myself
This panel is a rather private affair, and pictures are almost always forbidden – but we were able to snap a few. They play the game a bit differently than normal – but it’s a way that I’ve grown to enjoy more and more. If you’ve never attended, you really should – it’s a fun time. The panel went until almost 2am, and as soon as it ended I headed up to bed.
What do you do Saturday nights at a con? Are you all about the panels? The viewing room? The dances?
My first convention of the year – which is a show I commonly start my year with – was Anime Milwaukee, and it never disappoints. This weekend is, and does, set my bar for the year on how conventions can and should be run. I love this show. LOVE IT. And I’m going to tell you why: the attendees are awesome. Period.
What do you like most about the cons you attend? What tends to bring you into a show? Guests? Events? Bands? Panels? Word of mouth about the show? Let me know.
That said, let’s jump into the con.
After work, I picked up my buddy Russell Lissau (another guest of the show, and writer of Old Wounds) and we decided to hang out and grab some dinner locally before beginning our drive north to avoid some traffic. Russell took me to a local Mediterranean place that had some very delicious kabobs and hummus. We sat and caught up, having not seen each other for some time (and not having done a con together for months). Eventually we finished dinner and headed up to the con, which was a much faster drive than we both anticipated.
We got to the hotel and parked, and headed in to get our badges and itineraries for the weekend. We met up with Alan Evans (Rival Angels), who showed us that our rooms were all next to each other (and connected!). We poured some drinks and hung out for several hours, eventually being joined by our good friend Sandi. I didn’t stay up too late, because I was exhausted from having the baby at home, but I did stay up later than I expected to.
Alan and I got up early and hit up the gym, taking turns and spotting each other in the workout. We had a good hour in the gym, and then headed to our rooms to get ready for the day and headed to breakfast. We went to a local diner across the street, grabbed a quick bite, and then went to the floor to start setting up our tables.
The booth, set up in all its glory!
Our table position was PERFECT. We were just to the right of the main entrance to the artist alley / dealer’s area, so we had a lot of main traffic coming past our table. We were very visible from the entrance, and got a lot of spillover because of the extra visibility. Before we started selling, however, it was time for opening ceremonies.
Do you attend opening ceremonies at a con? I find them attended very sporadically, depending on the show – some have incredible attendance, others less so. This show has great attendance at their opening ceremonies.
Many guests were still arriving (or would not be attending for the weekend, due to the massive storms in California cancelling flights). They called the guests up in groups, and so the comic guys all went up together. Despite having agreed to me doing all the talking, Alan said a few words which lead to some awkwardness, and then we went off stage and opened our tables for the start of selling and panels. Well, sort of….
We had received our panel schedules from the guest department, which we were following. However, that schedule did not always match the schedule outside of the rooms. So when I arrived at my 3:30pm Writing for Comics panel, I found someone else already talking in the room and no line waiting for me. When I looked at the panel doors, that scheduled claimed the panel was in another room an hour earlier. I told my guest handler about the snafu, and went back to my table to keep selling. This would become a theme for the weekend, unfortunately, but was really the only hiccup in an otherwise perfect weekend.
Godzilla sketch card commission
About the time the floor was supposed to close, we had another panel – this one was a group panel, about Making Time for Making Comics. Attendance was a bit light, but again – our schedule didn’t match the door schedule. But we had a fun time, talked about identifying and removing distractions, and how to prioritize creative projects. After that, we grabbed some dinner and hung out in the green room with the rest of the guests – including an appearance by my buddy Matt Mercer, and Vic Mignogna.
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