The most incredible thing about being in webcomics for twenty years has been the convention circuit. Traveling from convention-to-convention, month after month, setting up shop and putting yourself out there for new people to discover you. It’s been thrilling, life-changing, aggravating, and altogether the single best part of chasing this dream.
The very first convention I ever exhibited at was the very first Anime Boston (which I’ll be returning to this year, next weekend). I managed to score a table in their Artist Alley the very same week of their first show for under fifty dollars. It was an incredible and overwhelming experience. It just so happened I was beside a table that was advertising their first show, a little project called ConnectiCon. I struck up a conversation with the show-runners and found myself getting ready to attend their debut show a few months later.
In the years that followed, the convention circuit became a rollercoaster of guest appearances, travel drama, long road trips, and new friendships forged by the circumstance of being placed beside one another in an exhibit hall. I’ve spoken on more panels than I can remember; from sharing tips on writing to being on panels I was unqualified to participate in. I once shared a stage with George R.R. Martin at Harvard University! It was because of conventions that I met the woman who would become my wife (thank you, ConnectiCon)! I met Garth Graham (thank you again, ConnectiCon), with whom I would eventually team up to create STAR POWER for seven years, and I got to be the Best Man at his wedding.
But far and away the best part of conventions has been the opportunity to meet you, my incredible readers. The stories you’ve all shared with me about how my comics have affected you have changed me forever. Shaking hands, taking pictures, signing books, or even just chatting has been the fuel that keeps me going. Some of my webcomics peers have grown out of doing conventions, but I need to connect with people in-person. I need that human element that conventions provide, whether it’s meeting established readers or introducing my work to a new audience.
Conventions have changed a lot over the years. Many of them have been taken over by corporations and the process of getting accepted is laborious at best, and discouraging at worst when you get rejected. It’s becoming more of a struggle to venture to new shows, what with travel costs and prices rising, not to mention a global pandemic, but if I can manage it you can be damn sure I’ll be trying my best to hit the road and meet you beautiful folks.
The convention circuit has been the beating heart of my twenty year career, and that beat must go on.
More to talk about tomorrow.