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).
Getting around to this one a little late, but unfortunately comic deadlines come first. As you know, Chicago Comic Con (or Wizard World Chicago, it’s sometimes called), is the only show I do in the year where I’m not a guest – but it’s somehow one of my highest sales shows of the year. So let’s jump right into it.
I left the office and headed over to the convention center to see my buddies (already set up), and check out the new hall. The show moved to the other side of the building this year, and the space was quite different than the previous year. For one thing, dealers and panel rooms were upstairs – which was a first. However, the hall was plenty packed with people (we later found out there was a Thursday night Groupon, making for a lot of first-timers coming in to check out their first comic show).
At 6pm I had a panel about creativity moderated by Tony Kim, along with David Chelsea, Dan Parent, and Rob Prior. I was the resident indie / webcomic guy, and everyone on the panel got along very well – and told some good, funny, and hopefully inspiring stories about the creative process. In fact, one con-goer called it “the panel they enjoyed the most” out of the show. We talked about the hurdles to being creative, and what motivates / inspires us to tell the stories or do the art that we do. I tried to throw in some typical humor, but also the motivational lines I’ve become known for at the shows. With a few new ones thrown in for good measure.
After the panel ended, I headed back out to the floor to hang out with Russell Lissau (The Batman Strikes, Strawberry Shortcake) and Jim McClain (Solution Squad). The two were selling in high spirits, and we all went out to The Ram after for a quick bite of dinner.
Russell took me back to his place, where he was putting up myself and our friend Steve Horton (Amala’s Blade) for the weekend. We had a few drinks, had a few laughs, and then headed to bed to rest for the next day.
The group got up early in the morning and headed over to grab some quick bagels before heading over to the show floor. We set up and started selling, and man oh man was there a lot of traffic. And a lot of families, which was great for Albert sales!
Spider-Man commission headshot for a young father, by Trevor Mueller
A few people signed up for some commissions, and the day went very quickly with the volume of people and sales. The only issue faced (and this appeared to be universal throughout the floor) was that credit card sales were unable to go through. Everyone lost bandwidth. They kept telling me it was because of the volume of people at the show, but ACEN had been held in the same hall several months earlier and had over 28,000 people in attendance. No one could come up with a definitive answer, but it did force us to direct some shoppers to the ATM machine. A few of them returned, but overall it may have hurt sales for anyone in artist alley who was less engaging with attendees.
Friday on the floor ended, and we packed up and headed out to a Chinese restaurant over by Russell’s house. The food was good, we had some hot sake, and then headed back to his place to catch the last hour or so of Wreck It Ralph – which I had brought for Russell’s family to enjoy. I knocked out some sketch cards, which have been selling like hot cakes at the last several shows I’ve been doing, and then we all went to sleep.
We got up a little later on this day, and hit a lot of traffic on our way to the show – clearly under-estimating the popularity of this event, and the amount of attendees who would be there right at the opening.
Note to self: definitely don’t under-estimate the ability of nerds to get up in the morning when there are sci-fi celebrities and comics involved!
Trevor, doing his sales thing
After finally getting inside, we immediately and quickly set up and started selling our hearts out. The floor was flooded with masses of comic fans, families, young shoppers, and people completely new to the world of comics. All of them ready and willing to buy, and eager to drink in the amazing things around them.
The credit card issue persisted today, but several people came back from the day before with cash – and we rewarded their return with discounts or free art. Thankfully everyone was very understanding of the whole situation, and clearly they wanted the books enough to come back the next day – and we like to reward that kind of loyalty.
Trevor gives Gabe the “bunny ears”
Traffic eventually started to slow towards the end of the day, and it was a good opportunity to walk the floor a bit and stretch my legs, and chat with some comic friends of mine. I talk to Andrew Kwan, a comic student in Toronto and my partner on one of the Top Cow Talent Hunt pitches I put in. The guy loves sci-fi, so we’re thinking of pitching a few sci-fi shorts this coming winter – to come out in 2014. Additionally I chatted up Chris Mitten, David Mack, and Talent Caldwell.
Talent and I have been friends for a few years now, and I’ve always loved that man’s art. They don’t call him “Talent” for nothing, and he spent the time working on commissions and making art so beautiful it makes me cry. Talent and I had a few conversations about Albert the Alien – which he totally loves – and some other projects we have in the works.
After the floor closed, the group headed over to McCormick & Schmick’s so Russell could have his blue-cheese stuffed olives in a martini, and the rest of us could enjoy some tasty sea food. It was nice to sit down, relax, and just hang out with my friends and fellow creators. All good guys, all righteously funny, and all great company.
After dinner we headed back to Russell’s so I could work on more sketch cards, and we all watched some Evening with Kevin Smith – a hilarious laugh. Although, not so safe for the kids….
The final day of the show we did our usual breakfast stop, and set up nice and early for family day. Surprisingly, I think there were less families in Artist Alley this day than the rest of the weekend – which isn’t a knock on this particular Sunday, but a credit to the volume of families that had been attending all weekend.
Sales were pretty steady throughout the day, with a few dips in traffic to allow of us to walk the floor and chat up our friends a bit. I continued to sell out of copies of my books (and sketch cards, which have been flying off the table at record pace these last few shows).
Eventually I shut down the table a little early so I could wonder and say goodbye to some friends, and catch up / talk business with a few others. About an hour before the show was to end, Beth came to get me – which was perfect timing, because the traffic for the show had slowed quite a bit by that time.
After a fun but exhausting weekend of hanging out with great people, seeing amazing comics and art, and yes – selling a boat load of books – we had another highly successful convention on our hands. Love doing this show, and can’t wait to do it again next year!
Writers Steve Horton (Amala’s Blade) and Russell Lissau (The Batman Strikes, Strawberry Shortcake) stand in front of their booths
Wizard World Chicago 2012 was this past weekend, and it was an event to behold. Last year, WWC was my biggest sales show of the year. By a lot. And this year it was just shy of repeating that title once again. Definitely a strong show for sales – and a fun time for all.
The show floor opened early on Thursday afternoon this year. Several of my friends got there and set up for the full day, but I was working until later in the evening. I set up for a short while towards the end of the day, and sold a couple of books.
I was tabling at 3180 next to my good friend Russell Lissau (Strawberry Shortcake, The Batman Strikes). We often table together, and share several of the same books (Reading with Pictures, Hope: The Hero Initiative). He even wrote the forward for my @$$hole! volume 1 book. And he was kind enough to let me crash with him during the weekend, to save on hotel costs. But I digress….
Thursday ended with us heading to the casino for dinner, and after a delicious burger we went onto the floor. Russ played some craps – a game I’m not very familiar with – and won some cash before we headed home and called it a night.
In the morning Russ and I got up and went out to breakfast with his family at a local diner. A tasty place, I ordered a country omelet – something to fill me up for the day. Then we headed over to the show, arriving just as the floor was opening.
I set up the table with a strong presentation, and even placed the sketch cards out. In previous years, this show has done well with sketch card sales. Gabriel Bautista, my artist on Albert the Alien showed up to table with me for the weekend, selling water color commissions and sketch cards.
Before the show floor opened, James O’Barr (The Crow) walked by the table and chatted us up for a bit. I’m a huge fan of his, and even interviewed him in high school when I was producing cable TV. The guy was in good spirits and we were cracking hysterical at each other for a good 20 minutes while we waited for the doors to open.
The day was good, and our location was ideal. We were in a main isle, so there was plenty of traffic. However, I remember sales being a lot easier last year – with people approaching the table and the books practically selling themselves. This year people seemed more hesitant to buy books – more interested in the celebrities, which was a total departure from the previous years of the show.
However, this didn’t stop me from having record sales throughout the weekend – as well as completely selling out of Hope: The Hero Initiative. I mean completely – it’s now out of print. A bitter sweet moment, especially since it’s book supporting a great cause.
We all sold our hearts out throughout the long hours of the day, with Friday having hours from noon until 8pm. After the show, Russ and I ran to grab a bite at O – the restaurant in the Hyatt.
There was a tasty buffet available, but better yet – there were tons of celebrities in the place. Comic legend Stan Lee was having dinner over in the corner, Peter Mayhew (Chewie from Star Wars) and his wife was eating next to us, and Neil Adams was sitting behind us. It was a veritable “who’s who” at the show right there as we ate dinner.
After food we headed up to Veranda to scope out the drink and draw. The place was packed with artists participating (or waiting for direction) to compete for prizes and to make some great art. We didn’t recognize anyone we could root for, so we headed down to the Hyatt Red Bar.
Talent Caldwell was holding court in a booth, sketching away on commissions and telling jokes. Also, actor Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) remembered me from Mid-Ohio Con, and came over to say hi. I was tempted to ask him to introduce me to James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China), who had been sitting next to him, but decided to let the actors network together while Russ and I relaxed. After the drink we headed home to rest before our big sales day.
We got up early and headed to the show to set up, grabbing a breakfast sandwich at the local cafeteria.
Sales were strong, but not as strong as the previous year. However, our table position was great for celebrity people-watching. Above our booth was a window into the celebrity VIP area, and we saw William Shatner walking around, Scott Bakula sporting a 70s mustache, and several other actors walking about. Their kids were waving and making funny faces at people throughout the day, which was a riot.
Albert sold like hot cakes, as well as Reading with Pictures. The book’s been out for 3 years, but it still sells like crazy. Gabe continued to do water color commissions, and even started making some water color sketch cards which were super cute (and a steal at the price he was charging).
Throughout the day I kept playing games with the table neighbors, cracking jokes and pointing out celebrity sightings. Around 2pm or so, Alan Evans (Rival Angels) showed up to hang out and walk around the show. Around the time the floor was closing, Beth showed up as well.
We grabbed a few friends and headed to McCormick and Schmidts for some delicious sea food and drinks. Ben Templesmith was having dinner right behind us while we cracked jokes and drank our profits away.
After dinner, we headed to the bar for more drinks, and chatted up the Chicago comic creators crowd. Art Balthazar was there with the guys from Challengers, and Don Kramer was running around with his daughter. A great way to end a stunning day.
We headed to the show to set up, grab breakfast, and who should happen by the table but Neil Adams – telling us about the excellent sit down cafeteria (where we had already gotten our sandwiches). He talked to us for a bit, and then headed off to his own table while people piled into the place in droves.
Sunday is usually kids day, so lots of all ages books were being sold – and tons of sketch cards!
People were in costume, but again the sales didn’t come easy. We had to work for it.
The highlight of the day was Beth selling the very first copy of her first published work – a charity book benefiting a kid in the UK. She had a look of elation at the feeling of selling something you worked so hard on. Then her face hardened, and she realized she needed to do it again.
We spent the day selling our books, looking for celebrities (I ran into Luke Perry and one of the actors from True Blood), and having a great time.
When the show was over, we packed up and headed home. It was a fun (and long) weekend for sure. Wizard put on another great show with some of my highest sales of the year. I’ll definitely be back again next year!
We interrupt your regularly scheduled comic for this special announcement: this weekend I’m attending Wizard World Chicago!
I’ll be in artist alley booth #3180, right next to Russell Lissau. Both of us will be across from comic legend Stan Lee!
It’s likely Gabriel Bautista will be on-site throughout the weekend to sign copies of RWP and Albert the Alien, and also selling some commissions and awesome art. You should buy stuff from him, for sure!
I’ll have the following books available for sale:
- Reading with Pictures vol. 1
- Hope: The Hero Initiative
- Junkyard Chase
- Albert the Alien: Hall Monitor
- @$$hole!: Laura’s 21st Birthday
- @$$hole! vol 1: No Pants Tuesday
Additionally, there will be sketch cards and original art for sale, commissions, and a whole bunch more!
Looking forward to seeing you there!
I’ll be totally honest with you. One of the reasons I love going to Ren Faire is the giant turkey legs. You get this with a goblet of mead, and you feel like one of the kids (or queens) of old.
Of course, on this particular day, it was 93 degrees and humid as hell. So in retrospect, a giant turkey leg was probably not the smartest choice for lunch.
But still – look at it! It’s so impressive!
I’m attending Wizard World Chicago this weekend in Artist Alley. I’ll be joined by fellow Reading with Pictures contributors Russell Lissau, John Bivens, Steve Wallace, Steve Horton, and Gabriel Bautista (my artist on Albert the Alien). We’re all going to be in row 3700, so look for us.
The book has been nominated for two Harvey Awards this year, so stop by and see what everyone in the industry is talking about. And meet some of the contributors to this amazing all-ages book!
“It’s hard to find quality kid-friendly titles that are as delightful to read as this one is.”
- Jeff Marsick, Newsarama
“an excellent classroom accessory.”
- Greg Baldino, BleedingCool
Looking forward to seeing you there!
Happy Friday to you, my friend. I hope you’re having a wonderful week.
Unfortunately there’s no comic update this week, but I had announced the month of March would be dedicated to the updating of the “Making of Junkyard Chase” blog series…which gives me time to recover from C2E2 and try to work on that buffer.
Plus the other bajillion projects I have in the works.
If you haven’t noticed, the site’s been changing a bit. For instance, in the upper right corner (below the calendar) is a 2011 signing and appearance schedule. This has been getting updated constantly as announcements are made about my guest appearances and signing schedules for the year.
Previously I’ve rocked out at Anime Milwaukee and C2E2, and also had a very successful signing at Comix Revolution in Mt Prospect promoting my latest book, Hope: The Hero Initiative.
Well, here are some more appearances so far this year:
Free Comic Book Day (May 7): Comix Revolution signing in Mt Prospect
ACEN (May 20-22): Anime Central in Rosemont, Il
QC Anime-Zing (June 17-19): Davenport, IA
Wizard World Chicago (Aug 11-14): Rosemont, Il
Mid-Ohio Comic Con (Oct 22-23): Columbus, OH
Hope to see you at some of these fun conventions and events.
Wizard World Chicago was my first “big” comic convention. I met many of my friends there. Most of my comic friends, in fact. It’s a show that holds a special place in my heart.
Last year, many of the publishers in the comic industry pulled out of the show and many of us were wondering if the show would continue on without them. Many of us wondered if we would ever again make the trek from the Hyatt Bar back to our hotels, exhausted and satisfied (and maybe a little tipsy). There were only two ways that the next year’s show could go: the show would thrive without the publishers, or the show would disappear.
When I agreed to get a table at WCC this year, I figured even if the show sucked at least I’d have fun with my comic friends. The fear from the previous year still prevailed, however, and I wasn’t sure what would happen. The unknown invigorated me, and the adrenaline was high on Thursday when I left the office and headed out to the show once more. Suffice it to say, our fears were unjustified. The show was AMAZING.
Alan Evans – creator of Rival Angels
Thursday night and everyone there had already made a ton of sales – and the show didn’t even start until the next day, officially. We celebrated the weekend by going to the Ram (one of Russ’s favorite places) and downing a few stiff adult beverages. The next day would start our weekend of selling comics. Including our new book, Reading with Pictures!
Trevor (hey, that’s me) models the Reading with Pictures anthology
Of course, other books were on sale as well. Russell was selling copies of The Batman Strikes, Hope: New Orleans, and his self-published work The 29.
John Bivens was selling copies of Comic Book Tattoo, PopGun, and his other anthologies. Steve Wallace was selling copies of Sequential Suicide, Binary Love, and his Sandman prints. And of course, I was on hand with RWP, as well as a little book we all know and love called “@$$hole!”
I love this book a little too much, sometimes
The table display…yeah, it’s important
Sales were high all weekend, and I even got to meet a few of the celebrity guests including Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis), Walter Koenig (Star Trek, Babylon 5), and John Schneider (Dukes of Hazard, Smallville). Paul and I chatted at the bar after hours about the show (since he admitted to being a little new to the comic scene). But most of the time was spent with my good comic friends…and losing my voice selling.
Many fans and friends came to visit me at the table, and it was awesome to see them all. And many new friends were made. And a personal victory for me was that I completely sold out of the first box of Reading with Pictures. The book was a huge success, and people loved it.
The show was tons of fun yet again, and while I’m going to be really busy at shows coming up, I totally plan to attend the show again next year. And that last sentence totally doesn’t make any sense….
Expect to see this image in a coming @$$hole! comic
I’ll be attending Chicago Comic Con 2010 this weekend (formerly Wizard World Chicago) in Rosemont, Il. I’ll be in Artist Alley at booth #3116 selling copies of @$$hole!, Reading with Pictures (featuring an 8-page story from me. And the book is appropriate for all ages!), sketch cards, prints, and commissions.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a link to my Wizard World Profile!
There will be a bunch of celebrity guests in attendance, as well as some cool comic artists. I’ll be sharing booth space with Rival Angels creator Alan Evans, as well as several great comic creators / Reading with Pictures contributors including Russell Lissau, John Bivens, and Steve Wallace.
Will there be a comic made out of this weekend? Most likely!
Scott (the man who made this very fine website that you’re on right now) will be on hand as well, and probably taking some pictures. I’m coming up with a story already for the show, so @$$hole! can get back on schedule.
As much as people tend to rip on Wizard, I always have fun at their shows – and you should stop by and have fun with us! Hope to see you there!
Hey gang, I want to apologize for the lack of regular updates for @$$hole! lately. It’s not that I’ve taken a departure from comics – in fact, quite the opposite. With the release of my first published story (non self-published, that is), I’ve been super busy working on the next published work. Between that and work and trying out a social life for a few weeks (which culminated in failure this evening over text message), I’ve been a busy bee.
There won’t be any @$$hole! comics this week, I’m afraid. But I’m keeping track of the number of pages that haven’t updated, and I’m going to make it up to you all with some black and white updates (or more photo comics) soon.
I’m happy to say that @$$Hole! was nominated in the 2010 Drunk Duck Awards for best Photo Comic 3 years in a row! The nominations are all voted on by the readers, so I thank you all for the nominations and for liking the comic so much. The least I can do is update the darn thing. Just give me a little time. Winners get announced at the end of August, so maybe we’ll pull of a win this year. Fingers crossed for me.
I’m going to try to blog a bit later this week with the photos from the Reading with Pictures premiere signing event at Challengers last weekend. It was a blast of a time, and we sold a crap-ton of the book. I’ll be pimping the work at Chicago Comic Con next week with many of the book’s contributors, including John Bivens, Steve Wallace, Russell Lissau, and many more!
Alright, that’s it for me for now. Gotta rest up and review this script draft before sending off to the editor.
Hey gang, enjoying the new website so far? A few more changes are coming as well, but so far it’s pretty awesome. Today’s @$$hole! features my convention appearance schedule for this year. Be sure to attend these shows and look me up.
March 12-14: Anime Milwaukee
April 16-18: C2E2
May 14-16: ACEN
June 25-27: Cyphan
August 19-22: Chicago Comic Con
August 28-29: Baltimore Comic Con
September 9-12: Chicagoland Entertainment Collectors Expo (CECE)
October 8-10: New York Comic Con
October 16: FallCon
November 6-7: Mid-Ohio Comic Con