As a final wrap-up of my first West Coast convention appearance in over a decade (and my first convention setup anywhere in five years), I thought I’d offer a few observations along with the remaining fun photos. (For the first part, see last week’s A Picture’s Worth.)
Five pros about being a pro guest:
1. Free admission
2. Meeting fans, contacts and all-around interesting people
3. Getting paid for something you created (and enjoy)
4. Talking to other pros as a peer
5. Early entrance
Five cons about being a con guest (and having a table/booth):
1. Table fees
2. Being stuck at the table instead of attending certain panels/events
3. Time dragging like a tortoise in peanut butter during the slow times/trying to give proper attention to all during the chaotic times
4. Not getting paid anything close to commercial per-hour rates
5. Lugging all your displays and product to setup, and (even worse) lugging back what doesn’t sell
As you can see, the grass isn’t always greener–sometimes it’s muddy and uneven, not unlike the business itself.
What I liked about the show in Long Beach was that, due to the smaller size of the venue and crowd, I was much better able to chat with those I normally wouldn’t be able to get near at San Diego (at least not without having to wait in line for an hour or three), as well as dig through boxes without being accosted. As booth-mate Dave G. said to me, once you start digging thru boxes under a table, “it’s a whole ‘nother world down there!”
One dealer had apparently purchased a magazine collection of six to eight boxes and was selling all for a dollar an issue. After digging for over a half hour I managed to snag several items–some weird, some wonderful and some worthwhile. (If you were a fan of Star Trek or Star Wars, especially, it was heaven. I’m a casual one, so I was able to keep it reasonable.) One of the most intriguing finds was an entire box of Superman “reference file” softcover books, all signed and numbered by writer Roger Stern! I bought one to keep, one to give to a friend and one to sell. If I can get three bucks, it’ll be like getting ‘em all for free–and the buyer will get something cool, too.
Interesting to meet Steven Berman, president of ShinHan Art U.S.A., apparently a 40-year-old family-owned art supply company. He was kind enough to give me a sample of their latest TOUCH double-tipped marker and it was a joy to use. (More for larger projects than small detail as the brush end was rather thick; but great for covering and larger, thicker lines in a single stroke that’re unobtainable from smaller competitors’ versions.) See their site for or more.
Anyway, it looks like my next setup will be at next May’s Big Wow Convention (formerly Super-con), in San Jose. (I used to setup religiously at the Motor City Comic-Con, pretty much since it began around 1993, but the wonderful pro liaison I dealt with for years was replaced with someone apparently uninterested in treating pros professionally. Too bad. Thankfully, the gang at Big Wow are so-far fantastic!) Hope to see you there.
Finally, I’ll leave you with some fun photos of the Long Beach Comic and Horror Con to whet your appetite for next year’s Halloween hijinks!
See ya next time,
P.S.: After seeing all these characters, don’t you want a character commission of your own? Of course you do. I’ll even throw in a free signed copy of THE COLLECTED BRU-HED trade paperback! Contact Craig here.