Originally posted on older blog.
Back in June, Jaime and I both sat in the NYCC ticket queue for a good hour before he finally got in and grabbed us both passes for Friday and Saturday. When my spot in the queue finally broke I snagged one for myself for Thursday. This would be my first year going to Comic-Con with a known title (Dream Crasher) for the comic series Reed Olsen and I have been working on for the last four years. I had some last-minute post cards printed up just a week before, and they arrived right on time.
I’m going to use my first post on this new blog to write a detailed account of my weekend. For the sake of not having one gigantic post, I will do a separate one for each of the three days I went. I met and spoke with a lot of talented creators about their comic book lines, and how they went about self-publishing. I also attended a number of great panels and walked away with some good pro tips on getting my work out there. So without further adieu, here it is.
Thursday – October 9
I didn’t do a whole lot of walking the floor on Thursday, though I did stop by the Image Comics booth to pick up a copy of Undertow and get it signed by Steve Orlando. I’ve been following his work since I read Nobodies Volume 2, and backed his Kick Starter for Virgil earlier this year. It was nice to meet him, talk comics, and finally get a copy of Undertow. I took the rest of my afternoon to pick up a few gifts for some friends and resisted buying this beautifully tacky Star Trek glass set.
My first panel was for the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign. There were several complaints about the diversity panel being placed in the smallest room. I am not sure if anyone ended up being turned away, but every single seat was filled. We got a nice history of diversity in comic books, as well as the history of flat-out racist stereotypes that early comics perpetrated. I was hoping to hear a bit more on efforts being made to expand the campaign, but time ended up being cut short. As a white man I know that I am exceptionally well represented in comic books, but as a gay man I know what it’s like to be invisible or represented by offensive stereotypes. A lot of this stuff is changing, but it’s a painfully slow process. What I believe it largely boils down to is: if you want diverse representations in comics, you need more diverse writers and artists. If you want more diverse writers and artists, we need more diverse publishers, editors, and executives.
The second panel I went to was for comiXology Submit. I attended this one last year, and was happy to see this years panel include some first time creators as well as seasoned veterans of the industry. Ruben & Bethany Romero, co-creators of the new series The Agency, spoke about their experience of first working with a publisher before deciding to go out on their own. Joshua Hale Fialkov, writer of The Bunker, returned again from last years panel. He has repeated on both occasions that I have seen him that hiring a letterer is one of the best things new comic creators can do before submitting their finished product. I still need to talk it over with Reed, but it is something I am considering. Also there from comiXology was co-founder John D. Roberts and panel moderator Chip Mosher. I even worked up the nerve to ask one of the last questions before we were kicked out of the room, because I was curious to know of any details with webcomics and their relationship with the digital platform. It’s definitely something I plan on doing further research on, as I plan on releasing at least the first couple of chapters for Dream Crasher webcomic style. Overall though, comiXology Submit seems to be an excellent tool for indie creators to take advantage of.
The third and final panel I went to on Thursday was ‘How to Succeed in Self-Publishing.’ The first panelist to speak was Molly Ostertag, the artist for the webcomic series Strong Female Protagonist. Her success story was in the Kickstarter campaign recently completed to do a print edition of the webcomic, where they ended up raising over $60k when their initial goal was only $8k. She attributed their success to slowly building a fan base over many years before ever asking for money like that. They reached their initial goal within 24 hours. Following her with the exact opposite approach was Morgan Rosenblum, creator of Treadwater. He told his story of failing at his first Kickstarter and having to go back to the drawing board. He has since completed a successful one and Treadwater has now evolved from a comic book to RPG style video game. Morgan was also the first of few different panelists I saw over the weekend to say “two years ago, I was in the audience for this.” As someone who is aiming to make it as a writer of science fiction and comic books, these types of stories are encouraging. Also on the panel was Adam McGovern of Dr. Id and Nightworld fame, and Anthony Del Col of Kill Shakespeare fame talked about how their direct targeting of retailers helped them tremendously. The panel was rounded out with Earthman Jack writer Matthew Kaddish, who talked a lot about Amazon search optimization for eBooks with keywords and some of the new book creation tools that Amazon is rolling out.
After rounding out my evening with three back-to-back panels, I was pretty beat and went home to Brooklyn for a good nights sleep. I will will write all about Friday and Saturday in my next two posts.
Friday – October 10
Jaime and I left bright and early on Friday so that I could get there in time for the panel Breaking Into Comics the Marvel Way.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. From all of the stories and bits of advice I keep hearing, I think it mostly boils down to two things:
1. Finish your work and put it where people can see it.
2. Network effectively and and get to know your community.
Sam Humphries, who garnered attention for his self-published Our Love is Real, was the second panelist at NYCC this year that I heard say “I was in the audience for this panel two years ago.” Sam now writes The Legendary Starlord for Marvel. I also enjoyed the anecdotes and stories from Kelly Sue DeConnick, who presently writes Captain Marvel as well as Pretty Deadly for Image. Also on the panel was Jeanine Schaefer (Marvel Talent Scout), Russell Dauterman (Artist of Thor), Gerry Duggan (Writer of Nova), and Charles Soule (Writer of Death of Wolverine). There was one other artist I wanted to include here, but I didn’t write down her name and it’s not on the official Comic Con listing.
I met up with Jaime after the panel and we made our way to the showroom floor. He ended up buying a few pieces of artwork from the talented and super friendly Nigel Sade. If I were not on a tight budget, I would have picked up a piece from him as well. I also found this awesome Dr. McCoy T-shirt, but they only had smalls and XXLs. This just means I will probably buy it online eventually. Finally I made my way to the Indie Creator Section (The one that’s not Artist Ally).
I met and spoke briefly with Adam Burn, who is the artist for Telikos Protocol with writer Peter Cooper. I picked up the first issue (which I highly recommend), which is one of 9 planned 50-page issues in the series. It’s a refreshing and original Science Fiction story that’s well-written and beautifully realized. Both Adam and Peter traveled from the UK in order to be at NYCC.
Next I spoke with Bethany and Ruben Romero, whom I had seen on the comiXology Submit Panel the night before. They, along with Roger Cabrera, write The Agency. They were incredibly genuine and friendly, and their comic book is one of the best indie works I’ve seen in a long time. I picked up print copies of Issues 1 & 2, and will be getting Issue #3 on comiXology as soon as my wallet recovers from Comic Con.
I also met some nice New York City area creators. Picked up the first volume of Argent Starr by Altemus and Lyn T. Byrd (which I will start reading as soon as I finish writing this post). Also met J. G. Ballard, the creator and writer of Venus Rises, which is a web series turned comic book. I will be reading the first two issues of that over the weekend. Lastly I met Zachary Mortensen, who wrote The Gatecrashers with artist SUTU. I’ll be posting about all of these as I read them on Tumblr and Goodreads.
Next I made my way to the Creator Connection. The main presentation given at the beginning by Dirk Manning (writer or Nightmare World and Mr. Rhee) was one of the highlights of this year’s NYCC for me. It was very entertaining and insightful. I will be diving into his book Write or Wrong as soon as I’m done with all of the other comics I picked up. The main purpose of this panel was to network with artists and writers, so the second half consisted of some chaotic match making in way too small of a room. I was able to meet handful of other up and coming creators who are also just getting their feet wet in the world of comics. Among them were Lawrence Shung, Luke D. Blackwood, Rik Sansone, Efrain Arana III, David Baker, and Amy Lyn Jackson. I put all those names in here hoping most – if not all – might be household names in the near future. Time and hard work will tell.
Following that I met back up with Jaime, and we did a little bit more wandering the floor before deciding to head back to Brooklyn. We basically dropped off our things, played a quick game of fetch with Coeus, then trekked out to Jersey City for a wonderful dinner with friends. By the time we got back to Brooklyn for the second time, we were both pretty beat. Thankfully there were no early panels I wanted to try and make for Saturday.
Saturday – October 11
After a solid night’s sleep, Jaime and I started our day in Artist Ally. I picked up volume one of Runners by Sean Wang. I’m in the middle of reading it now, and it’s really quite good. I also stopped by Dirk Manning’s booth in isle H8 (easy to remember from Friday’s presentation). Had a really nice little conversation about the creator community and the industry. Picked up Write or Wrong and the first volume of Tales of Mr. Rhee, the latter of which I just finished and thoroughly enjoyed. Manning has a great talent for building worlds through small moments, one short story at a time.
I had a nice conversation about Bushwick with another Brooklyn-based writer, David Parkin. Picked up the first issue of The Devil is Due in Dreary, which they are hoping to adapt into a feature length film. Jaime grabbed my attention and introduced me to Kristen Gudsnuk, an NYC-based creator of Hench Girl. Picked up the first issue and had a great conversation about fonts. I didn’t realize how easy it was to create one based on your own handwriting. On a side note, Hench Girl was very enjoyable and I will be getting the rest of the issues the next time I get a chance to.
The geekiest panel I went to this year was one close to my heart: A New Dawn – The Future of Star Wars publishing. There’s a part of me that’s prone to nerd rage in regards to Episode VII eradicating the Expanded Universe. This is what amounts to the first “reboot” of the Star Wars Universe, and the future is very much unknown. So far as I know, Jar Jar Binks and the painful dialogue of the prequel trilogy unfortunately survived this massive reboot effort. I’m actually very interested in checking out A New Dawn (when it comes out on paperback), and I like the measured approach that they are taking to building out this new Star Wars Universe beyond the beloved original trilogy. They are keeping very close to the Rebellion and not going too far out just yet. As it has been said – the Expanded Universe hasn’t gone away and will continue to be published under the Star Wars Legends banner. Maybe someday I will still yet see that animated adaptation of the New Jedi Order I’ve always dreamed about.
When I headed back to Artist Ally after the panel, I picked up the first issue of the new God Hates Astronauts by Ryan Brown. I also met up with Izzy Man (dressed at the Black Mask) and was introduced to Michael Sarrao and John Broglia, the writer and artist for Unmasked. Spent the last of my cash for the con picking up the first volume of that. From there, Jaime and I decided to call it a night and make our way back to Brooklyn. It had been a long three days. The introvert in me was ready to kick back, start reading from the pile of new comics I had picked up, and not talk to anyone for a few days.
Originally posted on an older blog.