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.
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.