Wednesday, June 8, 2016

WHAT?! Another post and it hasn't been a year yet.

Hello Everyone,

Convention season is upon us and now there are so many conventions to go to and see. I don't exactly know when the craze of creating conventions for people to go to happened but I have to say that I kind of like it. The ability to have a bit of variety in what convention I go to is great. No longer do I have to go all the way out to California to attend a bigger convention. Promoters are getting investors and the idea of a comic convention as an investment has proven to be very lucrative and desirable.

With that said I was able to go to two absolutely fantastic conventions over the past couple of weeks. What makes it even better was that both of them were in Virginia/DC area. The first one that I went to was Tidewater Comic Con and the other was Awesome Con. I would like to talk about both of them separately because the both desire the attention.

First Tidewater Comic Con.

This convention was absolutely one of my favorite cons to date and I have been to a bunch of conventions. I participated in the Kickstarter to get my tables for this convention. If I am not mistaken this is only their 3rd year, and for what Mike Federali was able to pull off is impressive.

This convention is a true COMIC convention. I believe there were a total of 5 media guests, 1 wrestler and 1 cosplay guest. The rest of the guests were all comic professionals. There were very few vendors. There were a lot of artist in artist alley and a couple of comic related podcasters. It was great. No matter where you looked there were artists. The focus of this convention was to bring comic art and artist to the forefront and give fans the rare opportunity to spend time with the artists and get to know what goes into making comics.

I was able to see some really cool artist friends of mine.

Sam Ellis

Jason Axtel

Hannah and Todd Churn

There was plenty of space for fans to walk around without having to feel like they were cattle being herded to the slaughter. It was a very low key and pleasant feel to the entire atmosphere. Because there weren't a whole lot of celebrities for everyone to stand in line for the majority of the convention, everyone was able to go around and see everything. It was a different experience for me because I feel as though I saw the majority of the people that walked through the door. Especially cosplayers. Can I tell you that the cosplay at Tidewater Comic Con was on point. I would have to say that Tidewater really brought their "A" game when it came to cosplay. I was very impressed and I was glad that they were all able to come by my table. That isn't always the case with other conventions, as I tend to be bound to my table and don't have a lot of time to get up and walk around. So, it was very nice to get to see all the cosplay that was at Tidewater Comic Con.

As you can see the cosplayers of Tidewater were no joke. They defiantly will be in my top three for cosplay at a convention.

Oh I have to tell you about one of the celebrity that I got to meet. He was one of the nicest guys. Nothing like meeting someone who is of celebrity status and is still a cool human being. We did an art trade and he even threw in an autographed print for the animation club at my school. It was very generous of him.

On top of all of this awesomeness of a convention that is for comics and comic artist the location of the convention was great as well. My hotel was about 5 minutes away from the convention center. The beach was right behind my hotel. I'm for some reason am not really a beach person. It isn't something that I go bananas over, but it was pretty cool to have the options if I wanted to go swimming in the ocean. I did take some pictures for reference so that was good.

But that isn't really what I was floored by when I went walking around the area. I saw this.

So, what is Flipper McCoys? It is an old school arcade. I didn't even think these were still around since Dave N Busters exploded on the scene. But, there it was, right in front of me and it was fantastic. I went in with Elvin Hernandez and they had a couple of newer games in the front but in the heart of the arcade was a mecca of old school arcade games. I felt like a kid again. It even had a fake shooting range. It was great. I had to leave quickly otherwise I would have probably spent all the money that I was making at the convention.

As I was walking to see what else might be around I saw this.

 It was ANOTHER Arcade. I was at a loss for words. This convention was amaze-balls. This shopping complex also had mini golf and an indoor flea market. For those of you who know me know I love a good flea market. The only downside was that it wasn't open when I found this complex. Maybe next time.

Now many of you might be saying to yourself yeah yeah yeah that's all well and good but did you make any money? Yes, yes I did. Everything that needed to happen for me to want to come back happened.

Tidewater Comic Con and Mike Federali you have my pencil and marker and I will see you again next year. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this year's event.

Now one to the other convention that I went to in the last couple of days.

This convention truly lives up to its name. I have been a guest at Awesome Con since its inception. The ability to watch this convention grow from a single room where everyone was cramped together and the fire marshal had to put a halt to people going into the convention to a full blown destination convention in just a few short years is amazing.

I believe that Ben Penrod and his team put on a excellent experience for fans. Ben's approach is a bit different then Mike's. There is nothing wrong with what Awesome Con is doing it is just different then Tidewater. Awesome Con brings a bunch of guest to the table. They have big name comic artist and even bigger named celebrities. Ben constantly has the ability to bring people to his convention that most people can get, for instance Billie Piper from Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi from Doctor Who, Karl Urban from Dredd, Ray Park from Star Wars, Ron Perlman from Hellboy, Bill Nye the science guy, Summer Glau for Serenity, and many many more to even remember. The amount of talent that Ben is able to assemble for fans is amazing.

Because of all that, the convention hall is pretty big which is normally a bit scary for me as an artist working artist alley. I am always worried that a convention that has so many celebrity guest and has a huge hall for a ton of vendors is going to hurt my financial standing at the convention, but this wasn't the case at awesome con. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I was surprised because last year I had booth and a game to sell; this year I had no game and only an artist alley table. Even though that was the case I did very well. It seems that AwesomeCon's reputation is a good one and people are coming with a lot of money to spend, not only on the celebrities but also on the artist that make the comics that they like so much.

The one thing that was a bit sad for me was the fact that I didn't really get to see a lot of the cosplay that was walking around the convention. With the convention hall being so big it is easy to miss little ole me in the see of people. So I didn't get to take as many pictures that I would have liked, but here is what I did get.

I had speaking obligations at Awesome Con and I love doing lectures at conventions. I had a solo lecture on Proper Pitching and Promoting Yourself which went very well. The audience was engaged in the conversation and as time went on more and more people were showing up. Moments like this is what keeps me going. Being able to let people in on a little bit of knowledge that I have that they might not and to see the light bulb go off when that information sticks is a fantastic feeling.

I also was able to be on a panel with some very important people (Breaking into comics and surviving). I have to say that I didn't feel as though I was supposed to be on that panel with those creators. None the less I was there and it was a good panel, even though I hate being on panels because everyone expects you to sit still and talk into the one mic that they have there and man let me tell you I am not the sit down and talk into a mic person. That isn't my style of instruction I like to move around. None the less it was awesome to be sitting on the panel with the caliber of artist that was on that panel.

For having this convention in my backyard is just icing on the cake. Having a convention that brings in so many people because of the celebrities and the art professionals and be able to go home and eat a home cooked meal and sleep in my own bed makes this my favorite convention to attend. I am so glad that someone else saw the importance of having and comic and pop culture convention in the DC area. Thank you very much Ben. You and your team are doing a phenomenal job. Keep it up and you have my pencil and marker as well and I will see you all next year.

If you are in the the DMV area I highly recommend that you go to both of these conventions. Mike Federali and Ben Penrod deserve your support and if you want to see more conventions like this in your area then you are going to have to support the conventions that are just starting up. Both of these conventions started off small and now are powerhouses in the convention world. Go and support your local artists and conventions.