Last weekend was the very first Capital City Comic Con in Austin... Is that why it was such a ghost town, because no one knew about it? After spending a lot of money on a table, a tank and half of gas, 6 hours of driving back and forth, and my entire three day weekend, I do not feel like I came out on top from the experience.
Actually, the experience was good. And I made some friends and connections that I hope last (most notably cosplayer Amy Thunderhawk). But the Con was a big bummer. The Con itself was good. The idea was for it to be artist-based rather than celebrity-based, which sounds good on paper, but... Nobody showed up. There were a lot of great artists, including comics legends Neal Adams, Simon Bisley, and Josef Rubenstein, but without the Hollywood name draw there just weren't enough convention-goers to make it successful. Attendence was dismal and so all the artists spent a lot of time and money nad had a net loss for the trip. Not that it's all about the dollars, but to make an investment into a weekend like that you hope to reach fans and make new ones. Hard to do when there are more exhibitors than visitors.
After the first two disappointing days, I decided I was going to enjoy the third. So I spent more time walking the convention and talking to folks than manning my table. I hopefully didn't miss too many would-be readers by doing that, but it's hard to spend six-plus hours sitting in a chair doing nothing. Some of my good scores from the day include:
- This awesome Harley art, rendered by John Armbruster. I also got 3 really cool bookmarks from him (I collect bookmarks--and yes, I know how pathetic that is) featuring some characters he and his wife invented for a future book they're working on.
- The amazing Batgirl art pictured above from artist Jason Oakes, who, it turns out, lives just down the road from me. I'm really drawn to his flash-bang superheroes done in paint-splatter style. He also did these TMNT pieces which he just gave to me. Thanks, Jason!
- A starter pack from Overground Comics, a new company with it's own philosophies about what comics should be. The package included the eight issues over their three new series (serieses?) and some other bonus goodies.
- And a trade paperback of Ursa Minor, bought from Big Dog Ink themselves and sold to me by one of the owners of the company. They have a few other titles that look like a lot of fun too, including one that makes The Wizard of Oz into a weird western. (I like westerns.)
It was also basically Turtle-Con with the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles being a big focus. Kevin Eastman was there all weekend. He's the TMNT creator from 30 years back--literally, this is the 30th anniversary. Congrats to him for creating a handful of characters that continue to revive their populary decade after decade. Here's a bad pic of the TMNT themselves, who were also in attendance.
Overall I'll look back on my first convention as an exhibitor as a good experience, but... It was definitely a big let-down.