So... in thinking about what inventory I actually had, I decided to pack a few more framed pieces of artwork in the hopes of making up some of the slack left by the DIGESTED#5's absence. I also burnt the midnight oil the night before trying to have as much organised as I could. I think I only had 3 hours of sleep before my alarm clock aborted me out of bed on Saturday morning.
I got up, packed what I had into my car, and drove off toward the city eating a muesli bar. I was greeted at the convention by some confusion of table locations, but we soon sorted it out and began setting up our respective tables as the clock counted down. With no time to spare, we'd set up, and the flood gates opened letting in hoards of people. Let the games begin.
Some of the NonCanonical crew; Joey Morris, Larry Boxshall and Josh Crawford
Jason Franks and me
A very full convention
The Guzumo and Milk Shadow Books crew
Ben Hutchings selling his beautiful WALKING TO JAPAN newspaper comic
Matt Emery and James Andre
Colin Wilson sketching
The excited, Trevor Wood... actually, we all looked like this on Sunday.
Trevor even sketched this cartoon of me... but I take exception with the 'falseness' of my depiction... my ears ARE NOT that small.
Bruce Mutard selling, and signing, his epic tomes
Brendan Halyday and Matt Emery
Jason Franks talking to Trevor Wood
Trevor Wood selling his popular Sawbones comics
The Milk Shadow Books table
Killeroo creator, Darren Close
Frank Candiloro. Don't worry Frank, by Sunday your brain would have been toast anyway.
The dynamic duo of Tom Taylor and Colin Wilson
THE LIST's, Paul Bedford
I got to meet one half of the legendary BUG & STUMP creators; John Petropoulos.
John is one of the funniest and friendliest guys you'll meet. Me and Jason Franks had a great conversation about the hayday of independant comics in the 80s/90s when John was drinking buddies with Dave Sim. (This was MY favorite era in comics.)
Paul Mason; one of the hardest working cartoonists there... and a great guy too.
Jason Franks did a stand-up job of saving Paul from an obsessive 'nutjob' fan who started going off on wild military conspiracy theories, like Iraq and the twin towers. That'll teach you to do a military comic, Paul.
The crowd winds down just before Sunday's close
Despite the gruelling physical and mental toll that these big conventions exact on you, I can truly say that this year's Armageddon was one of the best I'd been to in years. By the time Sunday afternoon had rolled around, we couldn't deny the success most of us had.
As I mentioned to Chew Chan in a brief chat that weekend, these 'pop' culture events really require comic authors to offer people something more than just 'comics'. Unlike the more literary events (zine fairs or writers festivals), these big expos now require the comic author to provide more diverse material to buyers in order to make sales. Luckily I brought along my frames illustrations. It was an experiment that saved my skin (considering I didn't have DIGESTED#5 to sell). I noticed that some of my fellow cartoonists were doing comissions and sketches, but for some reason I don't seem to attract that kind of buyer. It seems that finished/printed illustration is what works for me. It was a learning experience of what these big events have become to a comic author. You gotta 'bend'.
Saturday was manic and very crowded, and sales trickled in slower than expected. Our row of tables were obstructed by a regular queue for signings down the hall by celebrities. Unfortunantly, Jason Franks also lost his float money during that afternoon. Buy Sunday, complaints by a few of us exhibitors on Twitter soon convinced the organisers to clear the line, and we were able to have better access to the crowds of people. Chalk one up for social networking. By the afternoon, I looked and felt hammered. Jason Franks mentioned that I was pretty flat and abrupt to customers at that time. I think a girl came up to my table with a bright enthusiastic grin and asked, "Oh wow, how much are these?!" - and I just pointed to each item on my table and replied, " 5, 5, 15, 5, 10, 7 " and slumped back into my chair without uttering another word. Great, friendly salesmanship eh?
Anyway, aside from the lines of people queuing for autographs that blocked our tables from all buyers early on in the convention (the only real sore point we had), Armageddon did a fantastic job this year in placing like minded material, (books, art, etc), at the opposite end of the stadium to the loud bells-and-whistles of wrestling and video games. Seperating the event into a more logical layout like this was a win-win for both sellers and buyers. Well done Armageddon! So all in all, we had a blast.
- 9 out of 10 people pay with $50 notes (no kidding).
- Thanks to Jason Franks and Trevor Wood for the company either side of me... and sorry for having to put up with my embarrassing comments for two whole days.
- Meeting legends in the film and comics industry was a total trip.
- Catching up with old & new friends.
- The laughs.
- The 'planets' that were wearing skimpy costumes. Jesus, it was enough to turn me celibate.
- Seeing the results of the hard work authors had put into comics.
- Meeting & talking to readers of DIGESTED face-to-face.
- The sleep afterwards.
That night, I turned off my phone, and collapsed into bed hoping to sleep until noon the next day. Lights out. Early next morning some twit starts banging on my front door. I get up pissed. It's the courier. My newly printed issues of DIGESTED#5 had arrived... just in time for two days ago. Sign form. Slam door. Back to bed.
Thank god I don't do this every week.
PS: And don't forget this weekend in Melbourne...