Convention Report: SiouxperCon 2021
My first time in South Dakota was a trip for the ages.
Last year during the lockdown, I was invited as a guest to a virtual convention based in Sioux Falls, SD. During that virtual panel, I got to meet the guest coordinator who interviewed me about Albert the Alien and making comics as an independent creator. You can check out that interview here. Suffice it to say, we hit it off, got along, and he invited me to join them in person for their next convention. Naturally, I said yes!
I had never been to South Dakota before, but was very excited to get the chance to visit. Communication from the convention was very upfront about things to do and see around the city, and their team was very organized when it came to events during and outside of convention hours. The show was more than just about the con, it was about the community – and that was apparent from the start of my relationship with this show. And boy, did they deliver!
I flew in to the show on Thursday with my buddy and fellow guest Russell Lissau (Old Wounds, The Hardways), and the show had a car waiting for us when we landed. The convention hotel was a short trip away from the airport, and the driver told us about highlights, things to do and see, and most important – food we needed to try! Apparently the local dish was something I had never heard of before, called chislic – which is essentially fried chunks of meat (classically lamb, but we mostly encountered beef as the option). We were in beef country, after all, and the chislic we encountered would have been so good paired with cheese curds or other deep fried pub food like that. Very delicious.
The group got settled into our room, and then went to the hotel bar to meet and greet with the staff and other guests of the show. We ran into our buddy John Bivens (Spread, Devils Red Bride), as well as Clara Meath, who was waiting for her friend and fellow collaborator Zach Howard (Hellboy). The convention staff and volunteers also joined us, including the original founder of the con. It was nice to get to relax and connect with the people who make the con, and you can tell it’s a close and tight group. A family, if you will. And being with this group on the first night really helped set the tone for the weekend.
Selling books when you’re across from Mythbusters.
On the floor I had an excellent spot across from Mythbusters Jr, and I had a chance to meet the personalities they had on several episodes of the show. While they did have the same video on loop every day, the group was super friendly, enjoyed interacting with kids and attendees, and were very enthusiastic themselves about being at the show!
Sales were great, and people were buying books left and right. Lots of families and kids at the show, and a lot of interest in Albert the Alien. And you could tell that everyone in attendance was genuinely excited to be there. Typically you encounter someone who’s tired, or had a rough morning, or has a frown on their face – but that was not the case at this show. Everyone was in good spirits, and you could tell they all loved the show, being there, and just being at a convention again.
The show had set up a green room for us, with food and bottled water, and we frequented the room when we needed a break or a snack or a refill to hydrate. When I wasn’t selling books at the table, I had a handful of panels to do at the show (Making Webtoons on Saturday, and Making Indie Comics on Sunday), both of which had some solid attendance and a lot of engagement from the audience.
After hours, Russell, John, and myself would often hang out and go grab dinner or drinks around town. One night we ventured out to find a local place that only has one meat item per day (and it switches daily). That particular night, the item was prime rib, and it was excellent.
I also liked engaging with the other guests at the show. The Mythbusters crew across from me were super friendly, and I enjoyed talking to Allie Weber about our favorite books, writers and their techniques, and some of her asperations to write a novel and a screenplay! Rachel Pizzolato was also a fun table neighbor, constantly making TikTok videos and playing volleyball with the other attendees in the isle.
Thank you for an awesome weekend.
I had an absolute blast at SiouxperCon 2021, and it set the bar high for my return to in-person appearances. Well organized, well communicated, and such a feeling of family and community from everyone at this show. I want to thank everyone who attended the show, bought a book, and who put on the show and made that weekend such a memorable one. I hope to be able to return again next year!