Convention Report: Anime Midwest 2014
I do a lot of local conventions, and many of them happen in the same place: Rosemont. This isn’t a problem – this is a convenience. For both me and the convention. Because I do so many shows there as a guest, I know my way around – and therefore don’t require a liaison to help me get from place to place. This saves the convention money, and also piece of mind. I’m a professional. I don’t need a babysitter. I just need a table (to sell), a room (to sleep), and some water (because, you know…to live).
Anime Midwest is a show that’s growing by leaps and bounds year over year, and it’s a ton of fun to boot! I was a guest last year along with fellow creators Russell Lissau (Batman Strikes, Aw Yeah Comics), Steve Horton (Amala’s Blade), Gabo (Albert the Alien, The Life After), and Sean Lindsay (Spinnerette). And we had fun. So much so, we were invited back again this year!
Check out these handsome guests
Thursday before the show I went over to Russell’s after work to hang out with him and the Steve’s (I will now refer to them as Horton and Wallace), and it was nice to catch up and relax outside of the convention experience. Much food and adult beverages were had. It was great because I hadn’t seen Wallace since my wedding (back in October), and Horton and I had primarily been communicating via e-mail. We went to bed with visions of sales dancing in our heads.
After a quick breakfast we headed off to the show to check in and set up. We stopped off in con ops to get our badges, and then high tailed it to the floor to find our tables. We had a terrific position – right in the front of the artist alley, on the way to the signing area.
The table set up. Notice that fancy new vertical stand on the right?
We set up our booths and started selling. And sales were good. We premiered one of the new books at the show, and fans both loyal and new were eating it up. But what really made the show for me were commissions!
After a day of selling and making commissions, the group headed to a quick dinner at the hotel bar and then went to our panels. I had a Making Webcomics panel at 7:30, which had a terrific turn out! Lots of engaging questions and lots of good laughs were had.
After the panel I went to Doug Walker’s panel about comedy (which was going on during mine), and then after we all headed to the green room. Johnny Young Bosch and the band showed up, but I was mostly talking to one of their good friends who I met at Anime Central years before when Johnny and his band were guests there. We chatted the night away, catching up on trips, vacations, and our latest creative projects. After a while everyone went their separate ways and off to bed.
Morning came early, and the group all met downstairs for breakfast. The Hyatt has a fantastic buffet breakfast, and the sales from the previous day had been enough to justify the expense. After breakfast, we all headed over to the floor for another day of sales.
During selling on the floor, I got to meet several of the Channel Awesome people including Tamara and Brad for the first time (great people), and then got to see Rob, Erin, and Robin again. We had just hung out a few weeks ago, which seemed like too long ago. We decided to play a prank and see if we could convince Doug to come to my Evening with Trevor Mueller panel later that night. I was going to tell a story about my first time meeting Doug – a story he’s never heard me tell before. The plot was set, now we just had to get through the rest of the day.
Commission sketch card for a fan – Joker’s brother
Commission sketch card for a fan – Adam West as Batman
Commission sketch card for a fan – one of their original characters
After the con floor closed, the group headed over to the panel rooms for a Writing Comics panel. We decided to turn it into a moderated panel, with Russell moderating, since the panel consisted of so many people: myself, Sean Lindsay, Steve Wallace and Steve Horton. It was a another great panel with lots of fantastic questions from the audience. After the panel, we all headed to the hotel bar for a quick bite – and then I had to run off to make my Evening with Trevor Mueller panel.
This panel is an hour of me telling goofy stories (embarrassing both myself, as well as some of the people who attend cons with me on a regular basis). I was a little off my game since I was suffering through some allergies, but everyone had a blast – especially when I told the story about my first encounter with Doug at Anime Milwaukee several years ago. I won’t recount the story here – but it’s a fantastic story about first impressions and misconceptions.
After the panel we all headed to the Cards Against Humanity panel hosted by Samurai Dan and Lady Jillian, which is always a good time. I can’t get into details, but essentially we play Cards Against Humanity with the attendees – well, they play and we read the cards. It’s a hilarious night of inappropriate jokes and goofing around.
After the final panel, we all headed back to the Green Room to hang out with more of the guests. Johnny showed up with the band and I got to finally connect with them, chatting until late into the night. Around 3am I decided it was time for bed, and headed off to my room for some much needed sleep.
The final day of the show was pretty short for me. I wasn’t able to set up because I had family obligations (my wife’s grandma’s 90th birthday party), so I broke down the table and walked around the floor for a bit. It was fun to just walk around and see other people’s stuff. Artist alley filled with prints, art, trinkets, and more. The dealer’s area filled with manga, anime, toys, and so many more things. And then a chance to just talk to the other guests and attendees. It was a lot of fun.
Anime Midwest is a ton of fun, and a growing show. It’s not so large that you get lost in the crowd like an ACEN, but it’s large enough to bring in some big name guests and let everyone have a chance to connect and talk to each other. I highly recommended attending this awesome show!
Handsome man selling books