Sunday, October 15, 2006

Back from SPX

I got from SPX last night at about 12:30 AM or so and promptly crashed so her's the Warmageddon SPX report.

I got to SPX on Friday morning about 11:30AM. When I got there, Steve Ahlquist (who I shared my 1/2 table with) was already then with his friend Dave. Steve has gotten in the day before and was set up and ready to go. Steve is a writer/editor. his claim to fame is the Oz Squad books and SLG Strange Eggs (which he received a Harvey nomination for). He also does a mini-comic caused Peeny Boy.

Steve was on the right of me and Craig Tallefar (Wahoo Morris, Chelathon Kid) was on the left. Craig had just released the Wahoo Morris trade (collecting the 3 self published issues and the one Image issue) on Wednesday and had stacks of them on his table along with his accoustic blues CD and Sleeping Dragon TPB and speakers.

On Friday we learned that the convention ran from 2 pm and 8pm and that all our sales combined would not pay for the cost of one table. I think I sold 1 comic on Friday. 1 and I never left the table. However, eveyone else learned that animal crackers are a great and tasty treat that can be purchased in 2 pound bags at Walmart for less than $2 and I got a free 20 oz Dr. Pepper for watching Steve's 1/2 table while he and Dave went to get drinks.

After only selling one book, I wasn't in the mood to do anything after the convention, so I grabbed something to eat at the McDonald's across the street and set off to find the local Borders. After travelling the wrong way down Rockville Pike for about 2 miles, I turned around and located the Borders which was about 2 blocks away from the convention hotel. I located the graphic novel section and found the Art of Usagi Yojimbo, the first Walking Dead hardcover and Scott McCloud's new book Making Comics. I sat down and read the first 2. It was 10:45PM when they announced that Borders was closing and I went to purchase Making Comics. It was then that I discovered my wallet was missing! After panicking, I went back to the car (the last place I remember having it) and looked. After searching the car, I found my wallet under the steerring wheel and all was good in the world. I went back to Borders and bought Making Comics.

Following the adventures in Borders, I then called Deanne, grabbed some food at the 24 hour McDonald's and read some of Making Comics. About an hour later, I headed back to the hotel and went to sleep.

During conventions, I don't usually get much sleep, so I was up at 5 and back at the McDonalds for the $1 tea. Some old guy in front of me was arguing with the cashier and manager because his $1 order was $1.05 with tax. his assertion was that there was no tax on food. He was adament about not paying a tax on food and stormed out. I just stood there thinking that in fact McDonald's isn't chargining you for the food, but rather the service of producing the food. Also, I thought that he wasted more than 5¢ of his time arguing over 5¢.

Anyways, I finally got my tea and set down to read more of Making Comics. When I loked up an hour later, there were 4 people sleeping in the McDonald's booths. One was obviously homeless, but it struck me odd that people come to McDonald's for the early morning version of siesta. I grabbed Making Comics and headed to the hotel lobby.

In the hotel lobby, I sat down and read Making Comics as the sun rose and warmed the lobby. I was greeted by another comic fan who sat down and feel asleep while waiting for hte rest of his party. Later, 2 little girls ran around the counch near where I sat while their grandparents attempted to wrangle them. I finished reading Making Comics and headed to the car to get my stuff before starting the day at the convention.

The convention started at 10am. I was inside by showroom by 9:30 and it was mostly empty. I put together my table and sat down hoping for a better day. By 10:00, you couldn't even tell there was a convention. Most of the tables were still empty and it seemed as if no one was wandering about. Someone mentioned in passing that the first 2 hours on Saturday were pointless as ntohing started until noon.

2 hours passed and I had 1 sale. It was now noon and I settled in expecting no more sales for the rest of the day. My plan was to wait for Scott McCloud to show up, talk to him for a bit and head home. It was then that people just appeared out of nowhere and the sales started coming in. Before I knew it, it was 12:20 and I had even more sales. by 12:30 I had even more sales and by 1PM even more. It was around then that Steve Conley passed by and we had a short chat and then I sawe Scott McCloud enter the room and head to his table. His table was 2 tables down from mine on the corner and then .... he disappeared. Scott was off buying the various comics and mini comics, just taking a view of the landscape. So I stayed at my table as even more sales trickled in.

Stan of Squid Works came by and purchased some books.
Logan of came by and we talked a bit. He purchased several books and headed back to his table after inviting me to come check out their perfect bindingas they had samples at the table. It slowed down a bit and I spied Scott McCloud at his table wiht only one person in line, so I headed over there. By the time, I navigated the 2 tables to Scott, I was the 6th person in line so I patiently waited while Craig and Steve laughed at my misfortune.

Some time later, I finally made it Scott. I didn't want to monopolize too much of his time, so I sat down the 3 books to be signed (Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics and Making Comics) and started to introduce myself when ...

Scott hesitated and began, "How's it going Jama..."

For those that don't know, I had a friend, Jamar Nicholas, who is also a black guy with dreads and glasses and roughly the same body type. We met at SPX 1999 and have been communicatng ever since. We do look vaguely similar and are both into making comics and the comics scene (as it is). We have a similar set of comic industry friends, so every now and then I run into people who thinks I'm him and he runs into people who thinks he's me. So with that in mind, let's remember that I've only corresponded with Scott once via email and I've met him once (about 4 minutes 7 years ago) and now back to Scott.

Then Scott paused and you could see the gears turning as he putting a last name with the firat name. "Walton?," he half- stated and half-asked. I was astonished that he knew my name since we haven't corresponded for over 6 years. And then Scott began to talk about how he was aware that I was building a good web presence and we talked for about 10 minutes about comics and what I was doing with Warmageddon and who knows what else. As we talked a line began to form, so I turned his attention to the books again (which we had both forgotten as we were deep in conversation). I apologized for monopolizing his time and he promptly ignored my apology as we started talking about print on demand and Zot! We reached the end of that conversation and I excused myself so that the others could talk with Scott.

Free of my table and having recently (with Scott) talked about print on demand, I heade over to the ComixPress both and talked with Logan and Jodi. Honestly, I have been a very vocal critic of ComixPress. Both Jodi and Logan know how difficult I am and they won me over! You couldn't ask for more dedicated, patient, polite, and knowledgeable people. Logan knows his stuff and stands behind everything that ComixPress does. The short run color look great. The black and white books look good. The TPBs are well bound. My only gripe is the glossy paper, but you can't win them all. As I said, I'll be working with them in the future and with their new discount systems and the SPX discount, they'll be hearing from me soon!

After talking to Logan, it was back to the table and making more sales. Chris Stevens and Jason Rodriquez stopped by. I didn't get to talk to Jason as he darted right on by. Chris had come by earlier and introduced himself. Chris is working on a comic with some amazing artists. When it's complete, I very much look forward to buying it.

There were occassional lulls, but every time I really noticed it appeared as it people were just dropped into the middle of the showroom and then more sales came. There were lots of people interested in Warmageddon for their teenaged kids and I'm really glad that we made the decision to make it a PG-13 book. There was one mother that asked which of the 3 issues would I reccomend for a young female reader. I told her that the books are PG-13 and that issue #1 features Tiegre (a strong female character that's always in control) and Ulmragha (a young female character that is banished because she doesn't fit into her clans beauty standard). She purchased it and I was happy to be have a book that could appeal to a female audience.

Before I knew it we were in the last hour of the show. Typically, in the last hour of the show, I begin to tear down everything and get ready fo rhte trip home. however, 5 minutes into the hour, I made a sale and then another. All said and done, I made 5 sales in the last hour and almost completely sold out of issue #2. I packed up said my good-byes and hit the road.

4 hours later, I was home and 1 hour after that I was sleep.
At some point today, I'll unpack the car and read Peeny-Boy again and figure out who I need to contact and follow-up like Green Brain Comics and Stephanie Brandford (mutate20) at Dwayne McDuffie's forum.

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