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This weekend I spent in the gracious company of Alan Evans (Rival Angels) at Anime Milwaukee. Leaving work on Thursday, I hopped a bus up to the city where Alan picked me up and took me back to his humble abode. Alan and I have been friends for years now, and through those years I’ve never before met his wife or cats – who are all awesome! But I digress.

Thursday was a restful night of lounging around the house and catching up, since Alan and I haven’t hung out since Mid-Ohio last year. We talked about the con, our goals, comic stuff, and basic nerdy topics. It was great catching up and talking shop with Alan. One of the best parts of conventions is the camaraderie with your fellow creators and lovers of comics and anime.

Friday we headed out in the morning to get the to con, even though Artist Alley didn’t open until 1pm. Alan and I set up, got our badges and gear, and made signs to announce our panels for the weekend. Alan has a great sign for his book, and even bought out the cover 4 ad (that’s back cover, for anyone who doesn’t know) in the brochure for the show, which looked great. The entire weekend he was getting recognition from the ad, and hopefully he gets a lot of web traffic from it as well.

Around 1pm the show really picked up. Our table was at the end of the L-shaped artist alley, and people seemed to enjoy walking around a blue circle of tiles that sent them away from our table, but towards the vendor room. Alan and I kept making fun of the situation, calling it “the blue ring of death.”

Friday went pretty slow sales wise, but towards the end of the day I had two panels back-to-back: Crafting Fictional Worlds at 3pm, and Writing Comics at 4pm. The trick was that I went over by a few minutes at the first panel, so I had to bum-rush to the second panel. Attendance for the panels was pretty strong, and the audience had questions throughout the panel and after.

When the panels were done, I went back to the table and waited out the remaining hours with Alan.

After the show, we got dinner and went back to his place to watch Zombieland with his wife. The flick was HILARIOUS. You know you’re in good company when everyone can laugh at jokes about Bill Murry, and also add more jokes into the mix.

Saturday was the big day of the con, but Alan and I had Making Webcomics panel about an hour after the show started. Not even bothering to fully unpack, we grabbed some items and went to the panel. Alan counted a good number of attendance, and we gave out our knowledge and experience. After the panel, Alan and I were invited to move to a new table location in the center of Artist Alley. This was a great chance for us, since we were no longer affected by the blue ring of death. We also met our awesome neighbors. Sales picked up for Alan and I as the day progressed, but we did have a few slow spots – mostly around the time that the voice actors were giving their panels.

Alan and I ended the day and headed back to his place, where his wife made a delicious chili. Alan and I watched Jurassic Park 1 and 2 while working on comics – probably the greatest creative / productivity / nerd night I’ve had in ages! Seriously, I’ve missed having creative nights like that, and it was exactly what I needed to help charge the batteries for the final day of Anime Milwaukee.

Sunday was the final day of the con, and also the day of Daylight Savings Time. Alan and I set up the table and started selling our tails off. Alan sold a few prints and books early off, and I had a slower morning. At 3pm (the last hour of the con) was my panel for @$$hole!, to which I had been promoting all weekend in the hopes that people would show. And they did. A decent sized group of people for the last panel of the convention, and I was very humbled that the audience wanted to spend their last hour of the con listening to my stories about @$$hole!. I put my all into it, telling stories about what inspired the comic and even acting out some of the scenes from it on stage. I answered questions, I told touching and humorous tales of the world that exists in my demented little mind – and everyone seemed to love it.

In the end, I thanked them all for spending their last hour of the con with me, and hope to see them all again soon.

After the panel the show ended, Alan and I broke down our table and said our goodbyes to the people we had met. Alan took me to a local gyro place, and then we headed to the train station so I could get back to Chicago.

It was a fun weekend spent in great company. I had a blast, and I look forward to doing it again next year.

…and if people from the con are reading this, please send me some pictures from the convention. My camera is broken and Alan’s ran out of batteries. 😛

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