Friday, July 18, 2014

Capital City Comic Con: The Big Let-Down

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.

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