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).
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)
The weekends at Casa Del Mueller usually have a late start to them (for me, anyway…my wife’s a morning person), but convention weekends don’t allow for things like “sleeping in.” No, when you have to be at the convention center before 10am, set up and ready to spend the entire day behind the table selling, you don’t get to hit the snooze button. I usually only hit it twice, but this was not a luxury I would be afforded this weekend.
Do you snooze? If so, how often do you hit the button? Do you listen to radio or the buzzer?
We arrived at the convention center just in time to set up before the flood of people came in for the largest day of the show. An ocean of people washed through the isles of artist alley, making it difficult even for people who wanted to stop and shop to do so. But despite all that, Alan and I were at the ready to talk to them, answer their questions, and yes – pitch our books.
And pitch we did.
Alan Evans (Rival Angels) and I, ready for another day of selling comics
“May the Schwartz be with you!” What’s your favorite line from Spaceballs?
By the time 6pm rolled around, my voice was almost gone. And even though the floor was open for another half an hour, we had to pack up and get ready for our back-to-back panels. Panel room 6 was ours for the next two and a half hours, and we were going to own the room in the only way we knew how: by providing fun and educational content for the attendees.
First up was a panel about How to Make Comics, which was really about self-publishing. We had a nearly full room, despite starting a little late (the previous panel ran long, and there was no buffer between panels for them to pack up and for us to set up). We also had to compete with the karaoke going on in the next room over, which became the subject of many a joke during that panel. When a duo started singing “Bring Me to Life” by Evanscence while Alan was giving insightful tips about making comics, I started repeating the main points in the same manner as the song. The audience was in stitches.
The bulk of the time was spent answering questions, mostly story related. We did get a question about how to make comics, which Alan answered about storytelling and I answered from a production standpoint. All in all, it was an incredible panel – which ended with some sales before our next panel in the same room.
Most people stayed for the Making Webcomics panel, despite us being up against the Rave, Soap Bubble, and some other panels from the voice actor guests. Thankfully, the karaoke next door had died down at this time, so we were able to get rowdy and loud with the audience.
Like the last panel, it was mostly Q&A with a lot of fun in the mix. Alan and I provided informative but entertaining answers throughout, and everyone had a fun time. A lot of fun was had, and we even stayed after the panel to answer questions in the hallway (and to sell some of the comics).
After the panel, we hiked to the car and headed back to my neighborhood to buy some pizza and hang out at my place before crashing.
It was a late Saturday, but probably not as late as most. What do you do on Saturdays at cons? How late do you typically stay up?
At conventions, bathroom breaks tend to need to happen. If you’re sharing a table or near a friend, this isn’t often a big deal. Even when you both have to go at the same time, you tend to be able to hold it. Bathroom breaks provide a nice break from the floor, let you stretch your legs, and provides a chance to check out the show floor.
However, in this instance, it’s important to have conflict. So a fight scene has to be the solution. It makes sense. Right?
It’s important for creators to be passionate about their projects – otherwise, who would promote the work in the first place? Sure, once you’re established your fans can help spread the word, but you don’t get there right away.
Plus, for every person who knows about your work, there’s thousands more out there who never have. And they might even like it. But is it possible to be too in love with your own work? I’m sure a point can be reached, but I think most of the creators you’ll meet at a convention aren’t very full of themselves. They’re at the show promoting the work, interacting with the fans, and making new friends. Most of them, anyway.
Today’s my birthday, and how am I spending it? In a car with Alan Evans and his wife, heading to Mid-Ohio Con in Columbus, OH. Why am I doing that? Because I’ll be spending the weekend as a guest at the show, hanging out with some awesome creators all weekend and pimping the work. This will be my last show of the season, and I’m already excited for next year’s conventions. Be sure to stop by for the show and say hi. I’ll be at Booth 536 all weekend, except during my Reading with Pictures panel at 2pm on Saturday.
Hope to see you there!
Sometimes when talking to fellow creators who do their own art (and some of the ones who don’t), they’re curious about the photo comic process. I like doing the photos because it is distinguishing from other more traditional art forms, and it’s also a lot of fun to work on. Comics can be a collaborative process if you work with another creator (for me as a writer getting to work with an artist, for example), and the photo comics allow it to be collaborative with my friends – both comic and non-comic friends.
This weekend is Halloween and I don’t really have a costume planned out. Some people have suggested Lex Luthor. Some have suggested Captain Picard (although that means I need to go get a Star Fleet uniform). In the past I’ve even dressed up as Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan (back when I was more fit, and had that six pack all the time).
Any suggestions on costumes?
Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone!
The latest @$$hole! page has Trevor toting his wares to the people. Whoever may be interested in fine storytelling, this web comic series…or a water bottle.
Which, let’s be honest: at a show, water is one of the most important things to have at your table. No, seriously.
I’m at Anime Milwaukee this weekend sharing a table with the very talented Alan Evans of Rival Angels fame. We’ll be speaking on a few panels and selling our wares in artist alley.
Be sure to stop in and say hi.