The Con Game

2016 has definitely been a year of firsts for me. Rented a car for the first time, said no to attending a family gathering, finally produced a comic story (link here), lost a friend my age to cancer, and launched my first real website to host my writing (thank you for coming here btw). Plus this is the first year I feel like I am attending enough Conventions to have a "Con Season". Toward the start of the year I attended WinterCon in Brooklyn, and I attended Big Apple Con, but my "Season" really started in August.

One muggy Thursday night in August, I was having dinner with a friend of mine, Sina Grace , who writes and illustrates comics (who also had a really hilarious webseries you should totally all watch here). He was only in NYC for a few days, but he was about to head up to Boston for Boston Comic Con. After dinner he invited me to go to the con with him, and that I could crash with him in his hotel room too. So after securing a car the next day I took him up on his offer and "Shipped up to Boston" (Oh oh oh). 

That weekend I had the time of my life. Speaking of "firsts", this was the first time I got to hang out behind a table at a con. Since I'm still fairly early in my writing career, I have only ever wandered cons "as a fan" talking to creators from across the table while trying to not take up too much of their time while they try and sell their comics. This time I got to chill with Sina at his booth, have a home base to leave all of the stuff I bought (including a Funko Pop version of Dr. Frank-N-Furter), and chat with other comic folk with a little legitimacy since I wasn't a complete rando walking up to their table. I got to chat with the amazingly awesome Leila Del Duca who had the booth next to Sina's (check out her book Shutter, which is bananapants awesome). She let me show her my comic and website, and was super encouraging. (Also her boyfriend, Chester, bought me a yo-yo, which was also super cool.[I yo-yo now.]) Then we all had dinner with Nick Dragotta, where we talked about Hamilton of all things, and I had to constantly fight gushing over how awesome East of West is (seriously it's one of the best comics coming out right now, check it out). I even got to hang out with Ming Doyle and have drinks with Rafael Albuquerque. Sina kept asking why I got so quiet, but I just wanted to listen to all of these creators talk, I was so blown away to be around these people without the formality that comes with buying their stuff from across a fold up table. Plus if I did say anything it would have mostly been gushing.

Two weeks later I attended Flame Con, a LGBT+ con in Brooklyn (it was actually across the street from my day job, very surreal). This con was a lot of fun, but the biggest improvement from the year before was that this new venue had air conditioning, which is a huge deal with the con taking place in August. At the con I saw some of the craziest and well crafted cos/crossplayers. I met a few of my fellow local indie creators, and bought a few of their new issues (quick plug for Battle Bug, which is a hilarious hero series I love picking up whenever I see Hijack Press at a local con). I attended a networking event for other comic creators which you could easily tell was thrown together last minute and by people who did not realize how many people were going to show up. I handed out my business cards and shared info with a few artists so expect more comics to come shortly (click here if you want to expedite that process btw). 

Now(at the time of writing) I am currently sitting on a plane heading down to Atlanta, Georgia, to attend Dragon Con. I'm actually sharing a plane with Representative John Lewis who is also heading to the convention to talk about his great graphic novel series March. I'll be in Atlanta for nearly a week, seeing the show and hanging out with my friend and fellow author Aaron Bentzel (his blog is right here btw) as we try to network and break into our dream jobs. I'll also be seeing another great friend of mine Jio (he doesn't have a blog or anything so here's a picture of a cute puppy) while I'm in town. Then next month I attend NYCC which I can only imagine will be a great deal of fun.

Well the captain has just signaled landing, and I've probably blathered on for long enough. Check out the work of all my friends mentioned above, and I'll talk to everyone next week, which will probably just be a long gush-fest about how Dragon Con was, if it was anything like last year it will be a great story.

-JR