Comic Con was a lot of fun. Not tons of traffic, and I didn’t quite recoup my $25 table cost, but I wasn’t expecting to. I expected to have a fun day and chat with good people, and I did. I think it’ll build into something bigger next year, and I’d definitely go back. Not least because I still have boxes of books to sell.

So the thing about the books is like this; I’ve got about 100 copies left. Which isn’t tons, but it’s still a lot more than I believe I can sell. Also, if I’m being totally honest, I’m not satisfied with them. They’re okay, but it’s embarrassing that they’re so much slimmer than the first volume (despite including three years of selections, instead of just two), and it’s embarrassing that there are at least a couple of pretty bad printing errors that I wish we would have caught. After we got the first book in our hands and discovered the issues we’d missed, I had hoped at that time that we’d learn and take a more careful approach to proofreading volume 2.

What I didn’t anticipate was that we (myself and my friends, who were also the creative team that put the book together) would both have life situations where we didn’t have a lot of extra time and energy for such things. We had little kids! We also put ourselves under a lot of time pressure for dubious reasons — the campaign started at the beginning of December 2017 and we wanted to have the books ready for Comic Con in February 2018, which we did, but barely. As in, we got the shipment of books literally days before the con.

So our approach to the campaign felt rushed, proofing was rushed, and afterward I felt like I was stuck with running around and delivering books and all the goodies we’d promised. Which again, wasn’t the end of the world, and I’m not bitter, but it was a lot of time and energy (and we still made mix-ups, even though we’d hit our initial deadline and could relax a little). The readers who had contributed to the campaign were wonderfully patient and understanding, but I still had a lot of guilt for making them wait and then ultimately delivering a product that I wanted to be better.

Since the comic was officially on hiatus, I tried to create a few opportunities to promote the books over the course of the year; I set a goal of doing a monthly Facebook / Instagram post, which fell by the wayside fairly quickly after the first few got very little attention. 2019 didn’t have a comic con in Winkler, and since then the books have been this kinda low-grade albatross, hanging around my basement, getting lugged to and fro when I need to get to something behind them in the closet or whatever.

I guess what I can learn from it is to try and be more realistic about what’s possible given my life situation, and next time to be more upfront with whomever I’m teaming with about what our expectations are from each other. I felt like I ended up handling tasks that I didn’t necessarily want, but probably that could’ve been dealt with from the outset over a cup of coffee and some pointed questions about who will do what. Unfortunately the whole thing has had a pretty chilling effect, in my mind, about the possibilities of a volume three, or of a reprint of the first one. I don’t want to think about storing more books in my house if I haven’t reduced the number of books I already have, and at this point I’m not sure how long that will take. The good news is that I’m writing comics again, and getting back into peoples’ brainspace. I guess we’ll see.

Woof. I lollygagged like crazy at the outset of the post, not really knowing where to start, but once I got momentum going it all kinda tumbled out. Feels a little better.

Thing I Saw:

Thing I Learned: Speaking to a person that was cosplaying the 11th Doctor, I learned that the pop-up Spirit of Halloween stores in Winnipeg are a good place to find a fez. One step closer to my Sallah costume!

I’m Grateful For: The volunteers and organizers of the Winkler Comic Con, and all the people who came by to say hi!

Let’s get wistful. Get full of that wist

Taking Stock

The third Winkler Comic Con is nearly upon us! It’s actually Monday! For some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me until just a few weeks ago that I should get a table, but I did. I suppose I spent most of last year being out of the comics game. Anyway, I want to take this moment to take stock and think through what I have, and what I need:

Books: I still have several boxes of Book 2 (Years 3-5). No more copies of Book One, which is a shame, because I think new readers have this idea that they need to start at the beginning, even though most comics stand alone. There wasn’t really any sales momentum on the 2nd book by the time I initially ended the comic — the Indiegogo campaign made sure that the diehards who wanted a copy got one, and I’m not a salesperson so it was difficult to create new opportunities for people to check it out.

You know what, I’m realizing that I should write a larger postmortem on the campaign and post-launch of the 2nd book, because I think I’m still carrying around some feelings that it would be good to unpack.

Pins: Still have a few of the button packs from the campaign for the first book. They’re cute and come in nice packaging. There’s four little pins with different stickperson faces on them, and they’ve always been something easy to sell to readers and non-readers alike. I’ll be sad when they’re finally gone.

Business Cards: Couple years ago I got a bunch of cards printed with the site address, so I can write “more” on there and still keep handing them out. I found out a million years ago that it’s nice to have a little calling card to hand to folks, even if they don’t buy anything. A lot of the fun of a comic con, for me, is just chatting with people!

Portraiture: I’ve done “I’ll Draw You As A Stickperson!” portraiture at two different Graduation events in the past years, and suddenly it occurred to me that I could offer that at a comic con. You know, as another thing that non-readers can get on board with. I draw a caricature of you, and then you get to pick a fun background to put behind the drawing. I was pretty sure I could just dig up my old files and it wouldn’t be a lot of extra work to get set up.

Well, I did dig up the old files, and found 1.) they don’t really fit my current tools and art style, and 2.) I need to draw new backgrounds. Because a comic con is pretty specifically geeky and while I originally had one or two “geeky” backgrounds, most were generic. So this week I’ve been drawing like crazy trying to prepare new ones, which is time-intensive because I get super into the weeds on nailing specific details in my own style. Anyway I’ve got most of a Star Wars one to finish, and then hopefully I can squeeze in a Trek one, but that might have to wait. I’ve compromised and shelved a lot of extra features I wanted to have ready, because I’m just…outta time!

I still need: Change for my cash box, or a “float” as I believe they’re called, and somebody is selling a Square reader on the local classifieds that I might try to scoop up in order to take credit payments wirelessly at my table. Update: local Staples has new ones too 🙂

I still need: to gather up all the stuff I’m bringing with me. Setup day is on Sunday night / Monday morning, and the doors open 10am Monday. Often I’ve gone the day of to set up and that might be just fine again. My table layout is Not Super Complicated.

I wish I had: More shirts & buttons. That’s actually about it. Something to remember for next year!

Anyway, I think the day should go well. If nobody comes to talk to me I can work on the week’s comics, and failing that just play more Super Metroid on my laptop.

Thing I Saw: The finale of The Good Place, which I thought was beautiful and funny and brought the series to a fitting end. The last season was slightly off in a way I can’t put my finger on, but it came together wonderfully well and I look forward to starting over from the beginning one day.

Thing I Learned: It’s not super hard to become a Commissioner for Oaths in Manitoba (a little paperwork and $50), and then you can say that you’re a Commissioner for Oaths which sounds awesome. Also I guess you can legally witness signings and vouch for things.

I’m Grateful For: A relationship that doesn’t really prioritize Valentine’s Day as some all-important moment. Takes the pressure off! We’re gonna have butter chicken and maybe do puzzles after Cassidy’s in bed 🙂

Happy V-day!