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Megacon 2016

Don't worry! I wasn't there just to peddle the comic and sell merchandise. I bought stuff, too 13244827_10208472781271196_5539144175784703042_n I do wanna talk about my first convention experience with Megacon, but first things first. Giveaways! Patreon giveaways more specifically, but I do have one set I'm giving away to anyone willing to answer a trivia question. I know I have loads of casual readers on a budget, and fans are still fans. So here's your chance to get a thank you for reading from me. On Monday 6/6 at 10am Eastern/ 9am Central time I'll post a new comic, and under it I'll ask a two part trivia question about the comic. First correct answer in comments wins this: 7 ORIGINAL ART SET Both 10x18 mini posters, all the 6x9 postcards, and three original art pieces. Please include your email in the comment box asking for it so I can email you for a deliverable address. Only I can see this portion. US readers only (I love all of you international peeps, but I gotta stay on a budget.) If you're on Patreon or a regular reader and want to win this, be back here Monday at 10am EST to answer my question! This is open to anyone. As for Patreons, same deal as always. Anyone pledging over $5 gets a chance to win anything below. Higher increments of donation per month allow for more chances of winning (all listed on the Patreon page.) I give each Patreon numbered chances to win according to donation and then use a random number generator to select the winners. Whomever is selected first gets first pick, and so on down the line. 1) SISTER7 Canvas 1 SISTER7 CANVAS The canvases acted as my sellable-banners at the convention. So now you can have a piece of Shotgun Shuffle history(?) to display in your home. Had a few interested parties in the two I had, but luckily you don't have to wait for them to be reshipped. It's signed, wire hung, and 36x20 in size. You also get a 10x18 JUST COS mini poster, all the cards, and one original waifu drawing of Ellie! YAY! 2)JUST COS Canvas 2 JUST COS CANVAS Same deal as the last one, but the dimensions are flipped to 20x36 for the canvas. 3) JUST COS 4 Mug Set 3 JUST COS MUGS SET You get all 4 of Pumpkin's JUST COS cosplay mugs, and all the prints shown. Just Cos Mug 1 4) Quinn/Pumpkin Mug Set 4 QUINN PUMPKIN Mug Set Both Pumpkin and Pumpkin-Quinn mugs and all the prints shown. Just Cos Mug 2 5 and 6) SISTER7 Mug and Print Sets 5 SISTER7 Mug Set 1 6 SISTER7 Mug Set 2 No you don't get BOTH sets, but I have two identical sets and you can win one if them! One mug and all the prints shown. I will draw for these and post winners Wednesday. If you'd like a chance to win, all you have to do is pledge at least 5 dollars per month! Click HERE for the Patreon page. 13256376_10208470250087918_6563403623976382488_n 13260285_10208470249807911_1371038049948405636_n 13265920_10208467122969742_482408333775381402_n I could probably drone on for eons about what I learned at Megacon. All the Do's and Don't's. I know there's a plethora of artists who read my comic and have yet to make a convention appearance. Maybe you'd like a heads up on the competition. Well do I have some golden nuggets for you. Wait.. Your Enthusiasm is Showing Or lack thereof. I don't think I met anyone with a sour attitude at the convention. Everyone's happy, and nice, polite, and excited. Yeah there were few stuck-uppy teen browsers, but most were generally happy to be there.I did however, meet a few professional year-round career con'ers that were jaded and fairly lackadaisical. The major vendors all unloaded Wednesday, the day before the convention. The rest of us had to unload and prepare our booths day-of. It's basically several gigantic dock doors back to back that they stack 5 cars wide, and three deep. So if it took us 5 minutes to unload, we may get stuck behind someone taking 30 minutes or more. This wasn't a door that fit around a tractor-trailer all nice and neat. You could motor a battleship through them. 13237775_10208467119689660_9061226759577659808_n 13239006_10208467120729686_2768966053003744614_n 13239260_10208467121089695_481681953101434814_n 13239353_10208467120209673_7355421422504571588_n 13241164_10208467120969692_4318363910888093064_n     13256287_10208467120369677_8181868664158479690_n Seeing a convention hall so empty is pretty surreal. My last con experience was as a customer, and over a decade ago. Out of a thousand tables they had set up, none were numbered when we arrived. We were completely lost as to where we should be. We found a stray map wafting around on the showroom floor and saw a few others setting up. From that point we navigated our way to where we THOUGHT our table was. We left and went to go eat. Oh, where did we eat, you probably didn't ask? Let me tell you... 13241218_10208468153395502_1373364498559629166_n 13221540_10208468200636683_7374944172087947643_n 13238996_10208468444322775_5934412080865981448_n 13256046_10208468918934640_4879328885236353422_n 13260020_10208468553845513_7198936327059875660_n 13260188_10208468444922790_868539928976331970_n Yes, the DBZ themed restaurant. It was pretty good. Line formed about twenty deep half hour before opening. So we make our way back to the convention before it opens, and they let in anyone with a VIP pass in a full hour before the regular customers. It's basically Fast Pass, only you know.. just as dumb. Thursday was fairly slow. And apparently, that's what many artist anticipated. Three solid tables behind us were vacant. One artist was actually there at the beginning of set up, but bailed for some unknown reason. Left his prints and some original art sketches on the table. Heard later quite a few were picked up and walked off with. After learning this I grabbed his stuff and put it below his table. We were hours into the convention start and this guy was a ghost. Several booths around us were no shows on day 1. Just not there. I did a lot of inquiry into this, because it's odd to have so many people absent for tables they paid for. Turns out they just expected it to be slow and didn't want to be there. One guy in a table on our aisle had a young lady approach his booth and ask if we'd seen him. Me and Jessica just shrugged and she made a phone call. "Okay, he said he doesn't care about the soft open. He'll be in later." This guy had set up his table. Came in. Set it up early. Then completely dissed the VIPs, and most of the early crowd. This same guy, had a pretty decent following as a year-rounder, and lots of customers asking US where he was. That's money on the table this guy left hanging. Did any of these customers come back later? Maybe. But you just don't risk it. You're there every day and every hour of the convention. Lesson 1) Don't get jaded. Especially not when you've made this your livelihood. I made lots of friends with some of the guys on our aisle. I also pointed out to a few the potential sales they had to customers that got there when the convention started. Perhaps... if they didn't stroll in an hour late, they could have a few more prints sold. These same guys are the ones saying "This year wasn't as good as last year." "This hasn't been worth it at all." "I may not sign up for 2017." "This convention sucks." Competition is getting more fierce, fellas. This is my first convention, and it's a dry run. Even me, a total n00b, can see that. The convention is now 4 days. It's more spread out. It's larger. Artist's Alley is now half the convention floor. Your competition is massive. More people are fighting for convention goers disposable income. Get here on time and sell your stuff. Interact with people that walk by. Don't hide behind your booth in a sketchbook. When customers ask when you're going to make new prints (cause they bought all the old ones you keep selling for years) MAKE NEW ONES! Whatever past convention experience you had is now biting you in the ass. Obviously conventions are changing. Change with them instead of bemoaning how people arent just waiting around to throw twenties at you like Fry from Futurama. Finding that Damn Freebie Table I printed some 1600 postcards. Some to give away by me personally to people who walked by, some for the freebie table. Could not for the life of me find it. There's new management this year and I don't think they thought of it. (There was also a debacle with con goers being allowed in early on Friday before the sellers were let in. That was a disaster, and we saw many cosplayers snooping behind people's booths.) Missed all of Thursday and most of Friday. Not everyone frequents Artist's Alley. I wanted something for all those that continuously loiter and congregate in the lobby to see it and possibly take one. By midday Friday, the ladies at the info booth allowed me to place some there. Once I had my JUST COS post cards on display, they flew off at record speed. Had to refill the info booth four times. People seeing my cards, then recognized my JUST COS canvas and talked to me about the comc. Just as intended. Good deal. :) Active Eye Avoidance People do not like guilt, and they naturally want to avoid it in terms of purchasing something. They don’t want to make eye contact with any of the artists and will actively avoid it at all costs. Jessica and I noticed everyone’s eyelevel never goes down. Or usually even straight ahead. It’s always up. The higher your display, the better. People perusing Artist’s Alley do not want to look at you and face some form of dreaded eye-lock. Cause then someone might say HELLO! DEAR GAWD NOT THAT! We already bought our tables for Megacon 2017, and for next year we’re going to put our best items up high and allow the potential customers jetting buy to see it at their own preferred convenience. If they don’t want to look at us, or at the table, and feel guilted into buying something, so be it. My character’s boobs will be so high you’ll be whipping out that wallet in no time. Lesson 2) If there’s something you want to sell at a convention, it MUST be above your head! Carnival Barking If you engage an artist, they will always talk to you. Everyone loves everyone at a convention. Mostly. Everyone loves to share ideas and interests. What they don’t typically do is engage. Virtually no booths engaged anyone. Jessica got this down to a science. *random cosplayer walks by* “Hey POWER GIRL! I like your cosplay! Can a get a picture!?” “OR COURSE!” *snap* 13315628_10154325369059729_7652449534049107822_n “Thank you so much! I also have a Power Girl pin up if you’re interested!” Cosplayer: “Oh that’s so cuuuuute.” Jessica’s a freakin genius. She’s engaging the customers. She’s causing them to be actively interested in something by us taking an interest in them first. Lesson 3) Don’t wait to be the second to talk. Talk first. Don’t be reactionary. Actively engage people in whatever way you can. You don’t have to be sleazy or pushy in the least. Find a common ground and get the attention over to your booth. I rounded the convention multiple times. Almost NO other booths were utilizing cosplayer’s love of cosplay or the characters they were assuming the attire of. I totally followed suit. I’d nudge Jessica about a Princess Mononoke and later offer them a JUST COS postcard she’s on. “If you like cosplay, my comic has a cosplayer as one of the main characters. It’s weaved in and out of the story continuously.” “Oh, that’s cool.” “Yeah if anyone can identify with 15 year old girls, it’s me.” We also came up with a great contest for people wandering the con to meet back up with our booth for a prize. I'm not going to give it away, but it's clever/silly. The Con Game and Piggybacking People don’t care about your original characters. I’m sorry. I know that’s a hard pill to swallow. You may be like “Well if people just see them.” No. That’s not how it works. They don’t want people pitching them new concepts. They want a real-world deviant art gallery. They want more of what they’re consuming. They want to see characters they already have an emotional investment in. Ever posted your art on deviantArt? Well if it’s copyrighted characters, you’ll probably get a few hundred views and some favoriting. Posted an original character of yours? *FLOP* Lesson 4) No one cares about what they don’t care about. And you’re not going to change it with your mere presence. I already had a grasp on this, but I needed to see first hand how to capitalize on a convention. I really didn’t plan on selling anything at the convention. I didn’t know what to expect being on the other side of the booth. I had already planned the whole trip as a mere observance and promotional expense. Hand out postcards, talk about the comic. Hopefully some people bite. The Con Game is the game 90% of the artists in artist alley play. They make prints of copyrighted mainstream characters they don’t own and sell them. Some of them, it’s all they do. They’re building a brand as an artist and probably hope you seek them out next year. Some may have something else they’re pushing. Some may have a commission service or, like me, a site with other content. Regardless, you have to play the game unless you’re some mega huge entity and your original concept can survive the wild on its own. Otherwise, you’re not promoting much, and it’s all a huge money pit. Lesson 5) Piggyback emotional investment from something popular to something less so. In 2017 I’m going to have a whirlwind of prints of characters I don’t own. If someone sees a Batgirl print I’ve done and wants it, I’m going to put it in a plastic protective sleeve and say “Hey, if you like my art, here’s a postcard with my site! Be sure to check out my webcomic. It’s done in the same style.” And I’ll throw my postcard in, piggybacking this very comic. The interest has to be transferred. Find out what people are consuming, and attach your own stuff to it. Jessica outsold me everyday. My original characters in my style were nothing compared to copyrighted characters people know. We didn’t buy tables for 2017 because I sold well. I didn’t. We bought tables because now I know HOW to sell well, and maximize my engagement with customers and leading them to the site. It’s all very alterior-motivey sounding, isn’t it? LOL. For a damn good reason. Justin, the guy next to us, does this convention scene year-round. Every year. Only makes art from February to March, then he’s back on the road. Does wood-block stylized art prints and has a huge fan base of convention goers. Asked me about my comic. “Yeah it’s like 525 strips. These are the characters, etc.” “Wow, I wish I could do what you do.” Me: “Guh..?” Him: “I’m so sick of drawing other people’s shit. I want to draw my own charcters and pitch my own stuff.” Grass is always greener, right? Well, this guy certainly can. Use the strategy me and Jess came up with. It won’t win over everyone, but it plays to people specifically at conventions. I think out of all 500+ Artist Alley tables, there were MAYBE 4-5 actual webcomikers. Maybe 4-5 of 500 tables. That’s telling. It’s telling that the model of strictly pitching your own original work is a failed one. Back in 2006ish at my last con, there were dozens of original artists. They’re gone now. Times are changing, and we have to change with it. The Unapproachable J. Scott Campbell I’ve loved this guys work since I was a teen. No idea what he looks like, or that he’d even be there. Stumbled across his table on one of my rounds. What a colossal sourpuss. Completely indignant looking and unapproachable. Had a line of rabid fans gushing about his work. CjlSYZ_XAAA_QNC I observed him snatching a credit card, swiping it on a tablet, then with one uncaring hand movement, flip it around and hand it back. Always leaning back in his chair. Arms crossed. Annoyed expression. J Scott Campbell I decided not to buy anything. I would’ve waited. To see a veteran of the comic arts who is so massively talented show so many indifferent meals to his own fanbase was bemusing to me. Smile, dude! These people love you! I made a big mental note to never turn into that. To always smile, and to never take my fans for granted. If they’re giving me money for something I drew (like Patreon) they’re a godsend. Lesson 6) Don’t take anyone’s interest for granted. Fans are your lifeblood. Once I was home I researched a photo of him. He wasn’t there. CjZilwvUYAAxbny Apparently it was some kind of surrogate, or his dad or something running the booth for him. Regardless.. SMILE. For all that’s holy: CARE. Campbell may have got some cash out of me if he picked someone into what they were doing in representing him. Like me, many don’t automatically know it wasn’t him to begin with. I assumed it was. This was around the same time I went to the cafeteria to get something for lunch. Papa John’s had a little kiosk selling pizza. Let me tell you, it was absolute trash. They had this huge heating container keeping these nasty dried out pizzas mildly warm for those of us that were starving. This personal pan pizza mess was barely 5 inches across, sauseless, dried out, and nasty. It was totally disgusting, and if Mr. Papa had seen what he was putting his brand name on, he’d be furious (I’d hope.) No one would want this grossfest of inedible food to represent their company and brand. Lesson 7) Be careful what or whom you choose to represent you It’s funny how these two instances happened back to back. It’s obviously something I need to ingrain heavily. You ever experience irony, dejavu, or repeated instances of the same foolishness repeatedly? Don’t think you’re not being told something. The Sad Booth All the confidence in the world, with a novice’s talent. I saw this at Megacon. It’s to be expected anywhere these sorts of shows take place. It’s the amateur that never heard a negative word. And well, God bless em, they’re left a little confused and dismayed by the end of it all. sad booth I coined the term with Jessica before the convention started. I told her I’d seek out anyone who ran a booth that was visibly struggling and buy a print. Give some encouraging words and move along. I found it. It was that guy. By Sunday, Jessica had to go to a wedding and had her parents hanging out with me all day. I can’t brag enough about them. They’re awesome. Jessica’s dad Daniel used to be a packaging designer, engineer, miniatures builder, and holds the patents on 200 different trademarked products. Ever heard of the juicy jewel of flavor that is RingPop? This guy. 11136878_10153291531209729_1894519923_n aaiDesigns_photography-people aaiDesigns_helm_teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-game That’s Jessica going "WOOOOOOW!" on the TMNT product art when she was a kid. Daniel is well known in certain circles and can basically have you killed with a phone call. Did I mention he’s awesome? He’s awesome. Jessica’s mom thought the Sad Booth guy was staring at her for most of Sunday. Turned out he was asleep and his face was pointed in her general direction. Pretty hilarious, but also unfortunate. Lesson 8) You have never ‘arrived’ as an artist. As Joe Mad once said “You’d better be getting sick of your own shit daily, or other people will.” You have to constantly perfect your craft. Me and Jessica even had a conversation about me doing mainstream character prints. Since my comic is the real point of me doing conventions at all, she asked “..you’re not really going to tell me those prints will have art as good as the comic? Why would they if the comic is what you really care about?” Me: “Oh absolutely they will. They’ll have BETTER art than the comic. I want to sell prints. I have to drive interest in my prints to sell them and then pitch the comic. We’ll be back in 2017 and we’re going to melt faces. We’re going to drop kick the entire aisle we end up on. Don’t doubt it.” And there is my take away from the whole experience. I’ll HOPEFULLY do more cosplay awards like last year cause Jess got tons of photos. I’d like to really thank all the fans that showed up to meet me. It literally made the whole trip and was fantastic to talk to you. I’ve never felt so encouraged to keep doing more. Some had even told me they were emailers who pushed me to keep going back when I almost quit a year and a half ago. It was pretty overwhelming. In a good way. :D And if you’re joining us now from Megacon, WELCOME. I have the most fantastic readers a comic dude like me could ask for. I don’t deserve them, but they keep hanging around. They’re pretty awesome. Now you’re awesome too. Thanks for checking in! I’ll have a new comic soon. Still sore and fatigued.. but I assure you I’ve been steadily working on loads more stuff. (One item would be Fatfat plushes. Oh yes. Be prepared…) Until then, go back up and keep staring at that Power Girl. -Chris

63 thoughts on “Megacon 2016

    1. Thank you. I tried to be realistic and shoot everyone straight like normal. I’m not gonna lie and be like “Oh I made no mistakes and everything was perfect.”

  1. Great read! Fantastic insight to the other side of artist alley.

    I always feel bad having to pass on any art. I feel like i’m at the pet shelter and I have to adopt all the arts. Every single arts.

    And I love how you specified about CARING! As a purchaser of way-too-many arts, seeing the artist themselves show interest in their own art is infectious. And when they bring it around to something personal (nice cosplay, I like your shirt, you play Mass Effect? Me too!) It’s a done deal that I have to buy your stuff. Even if I might not like it the best, I want to support YOU the artist for just being a damn fine human.

    That’s unfortunate about J. Scott Campbell. But for every one type of him there’s George Perez who just bubbles over with excitement.

    I’m glad it was a good experience for you!

  2. My thought, after reading this, is something you have already started. Go for the hybrid approach, and make stuff with your characters cos-playing other characters. It doubles up on the emotional investment thing:
    1. “I love [character X]!”
    2. “I love to cos-play [character X], and so does this character!”

    1. I can now visualize a “Pumpkin bullies various other characters into cosplay” series of prints.

      That could even provide an avenue for the long awaited Ashliii cosplaying as Launchpad McQuack.

    2. When a cosplayer walks up to Chris and Jessica as Pumpkin cosplaying someone else, or as any of the characters in his webcomic, he’ll know that he’s finally made it. (A cosplayer cosplaying as Pumpkin cosplaying — that’s a dizzying hall of mirrors.)

        1. You were picturing a 15 year old girl cosplaying as Pumpkin cosplaying as someone else? Why not a 50 year old 350 pound man? That’s much more entertaining.

  3. Awesomesauce! I’m right there with you on the whole “fan” thing. Fans should be appreciated at all times, even if you’re busy! Because without them you’d have no business!

  4. Ton of extremely useful information. I didn’t realize just how huge selling already mainstream stuff was. That is something I’ll definitely be focusing on with my work.

  5. I so want to make the con next year but going to Orlando twice in a year is not an option. The wife and I are going to be there in Feb for our 30th anniversary. I would have loved to have made it this year to meet both you and Jessica. Then I could have walked around and pimped your table and comic and forced people your way. I would have also bought so much stuff from you. I prefer the original stuff vs the trademarked other people stuff. So, if you have left over stuff, you need to put it up on the site for sale and if I can convince my wife, I will be buying stuff. And when you get the McFatFat plush, I will be buying that without permission.

  6. Great con recap, I’m glad it went so well. :)

    You picked up very quickly on a lot of the ins and outs and I definitely picked up a few things. Your pragmatism is wonderful.

  7. You ever show up in my neck of the woods, I’ll buy you dinner. There’s an Irish restaurant I really like near the convention (literally next door to one of the con hotels), though they do have a limited menu on the main con days. (But they don’t limit the booze menu.)

    1. I meant to mention this above and forgot in the original post, but we basically plan to perfect this one con, then once we’re solid and profitable, we’ll move on to other cities. So soon. Very soon.

  8. When I go to conventions, I am looking for people doing webcomics or graphic novels with original content. I guess I am in the scant minority. I don’t find many, either.

    Sounds like decent food delivery for cons would be a profit center.

      1. The problem is, it’s TOO MUCH of a profit center. Twice the price, for half the quality, and half the quantity. I usulaly bring my own food to the cons. Also, it helps to avoid con crud. The same person that handled your change, handled thousands of other people’s change, and then you eat right away…

        1. There is that. It’s just about the best iteration of on demand as possible. That and the adage of “Location, location, location.” I do agree that if the quality assurance people tried it, they’d be disqualified from Papa’s car.

    1. I’m with you, Brian. I really couldn’t care less about artwork copying other people’s properties. From my own con going, however, I totally understand with Chris is talking about. That’s why the “Just Cos” graphics are genius, as it accomplishes both goals at once.

      For one example, I remember discovering David Petersen’s Mouse Guard when he had just started the comic. He was in Artist’s Alley at Comic Con and the cover art instantly stood out as completely different from everybody else’s super-hero dominated stuff. For that matter, Comic Con still seems to have a lot of original artists and fairly big names hanging out at Artist’s Alley, but the smaller cons are definitely taking the non-original art tack, which is admittedly depressing.

      1. Well, it’d only be natural for a specific con to follow the tastes of the fans that show up there. Stands to reason that different cons will have different divisions for what’s around/available.

  9. Gotta find a way to use that Patreon dough to buy a Southwest ticket and head towards the Pacific! “Said ‘California’s the place you oughta be!’ so they loaded up the truck….” You know the rest.

  10. Sounds like you had a great time. Your description was spot-on. One thing I’ve discovered is that the feel of conventions differs from con to con (and sometimes from year to year at the same con). Some you’ll do well at, some not so much. Some conventions hardly have any web comic artists while others have quite a bit more (Such as Emerald City comic con, which had about two dozen web comic artists all huddled together.) Just remember to roll with the waves. You are so talented and such a nice person, I can’t see you doing anything but succeeding. And why is that? Because you’re enjoying the process! You take great joy in creating and it shows. I know you’ll do even better next year. (Oh, and yes, bring your own food next time. The swill they serve at these things is to be avoided at all costs.)

  11. Quite the interesting read. I’ve only been to one convention around my state once some time ago and it wasn’t a huge one, but it did manage to get some good artists that I got to meet.

    I don’t think I could ever get up the nerve to get a table for my webcomic at a convention. At least, not without improving my art a bit more, or at least my coloring and detailing skills. But your work should definitely get noticed as looking at how good it is compared to a lot of webcomics out there… Hopefully, you had fun while learning all those ins and outs of cons.

    Reading about the whole J. Scott Campbell thing makes me recall a story a friend of mine once told me in that she got to meet J. Scott Campbell at her art school because her teacher was friends with him and got to show him her portfolio only for him to immediately trash all her work for having a bit of ‘manga flair’ to it.
    Before that, she was actually a big fan of his work, but afterwards…not so much.

    Apparently, he’s not a big fan of any art that remotely looks like anime or manga in any way.

    1. Sounds like she shouldn’t have bothered to get critiqued then. :p His art hasn’t changed. You either like it or you don’t. If you hate it now because they hurt your feelings when you asked to be critique, you’re not really meant to be critiqued.

      So, even if he is the worlds biggest dueshe, I wouldn’t let that stop me from enjoying the artwork. Just wouldn’t make sense.

      If we look back at famous artist now that people the world over admire, a lot of them had personality problems that we’d all hate and would then hate their work based on that and they wouldn’t have made the fame :p

      Basically, a good friend would have told her to grow a spine. :p

      1. Well, the thing is…her art style is not really manga or anime stylized. He took one look at her first piece in her portfolio and basically decided he didn’t want to look at the rest even when her teacher, who was friends with him, insisted for him to actually look through it.
        Basically his rudeness soured her on him basically as a person. She still likes his art as far as I know, but isn’t a fan so much now.

        I look at it this way, if your art is good that’s fine. But if you’re rude to your fanbase it makes it so your work might not be seen in as good of light anymore no matter how good it is.

        But whatever, the friend of mine has gone on to do a lot of amazing art and is working towards being in animation here soon as well. If anything, the experience made her stronger I believe.

  12. Between this contest and the launch of Hearts of Iron IV the 6th has become my most anticipated day of the year so far.

    Your comment about sales being ‘alterior-motivey’ made me think of when they told us back in college that your marketing personnel should be the highest compensated members of your organization since they’re responsible for growing your business.

    I’m tempted to go down and see you next year, but Florida’s a long way to go just for that. Plus I’ll probably be going to GenCon next year and two big trips in one year is a bit too expensive for my taste.

    1. Making your marketing people automatically the highest paid seems like a bad idea. Giving them some kind of commission and/or profit sharing to incentivize them which could potentially make them highest paid if they do a great job seems like a better idea.

  13. I’m just glad to see the phrase “execrable tedium” show up anywhere in the universe.

    Someone needs to give that dude a monocle.

  14. “My character’s boobs will be so high you’ll be whipping out that wallet in no time.”

    …I died. X3

  15. Great, insightful analysis. It highlighted something I’ve often suspected about you – you truly watch and SEE the people around you. It’s a surprisingly rare skill, and useful for somebody that wants to capture the subtle nuances of people and their interactions.

  16. Good write-up. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a convention (last one was E3… in 2002, holy crap it’s been a long time) and while I was there as part of a gamedev company, we didn’t have a booth. I would like to start doing cons for my games soon (still working on just basic marketing and social media) and just have no idea what to expect from the behind-the-booth side of things, so this is all very good for me to keep in mind. Thanks!

  17. So awesome to hear about the con, looks like it was a blast. :D
    Love the analysis too, I’ve never managed to even get to one of those things as a CUSTOMER. Very, very insightful (and, as expected, hilarious XD).
    I second the DeviantArt thing too. Me and a circle of people I’m friends with there post mostly OC art and we’re bashing ourselves CONSTANTLY because, of course, nobody cares. There’s the brighter side of it with OC art oriented groups, but it’s still pretty small. Now, if we post, say, a picture of Noodle from Gorillaz or Johnny from JtHM, boom! Twenty faves, maybe three hundred views, maybe even a new watcher out of the deal.
    Which makes you feel better for like a second, then you realize they’re faving the CHARACTER, not you.
    Es life, no?

    Glad to hear the con went over well.
    Can’t wait for the next comic. <3

  18. The only comic con I have attended is the one in Seattle, Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC). I have seen the many many artists doing famous comics characters in their own style, and I wondered about it a bit. I guess the big companies don’t find it worth the time to step on them for trademark infringement or whatever.

    I made up a drinking game… if you see Alice (from Alice in Wonderland) shown as a sexy and mostly naked adult woman, you take a drink. If anyone had actually played that they would have been drunk quickly, and there was one booth that by itself would have probably caused death by overdose of alcohol. Harley Quinn also got the hyper-sexualized treatment a lot (ironic considering her origin).

    I go only to talk to web comic authors. To my utter astonishment, this year Randy Milholland (of _Something Positive_ and others) not only rememembered my face, but apologized that he didn’t remember my name. After how many cons that he goes to per year, and he has seen me only a couple of times for a few minutes… I was gratified he remembered me at all, it would have been crazy if he had actually remembered my name. Despite the weird negative tone to much of his comic he seems like quite an agreeable person in real life. He tosses off quick sketches for free, with a tip jar. I always leave a tip when I get a sketch.

    This year, Kate Ashwin (who does the _Widdershins_ comic) was at ECCC, and I went pretty much just to see her. She was happy when I told her that, and she was really happy when she told me she had seen a cosplayer dressed as one of her original characters. (Your comments underscore just how happy she must have been.) While I was standing there talking to her, Phil Foglio came walking up to her booth. He said “Oh, you’re the person who does _Widdershins_! I read that, excellent work. Sell me a book.” And he bought one of her books.

    Once when I was browsing all the _Girl Genius_ books in Phil Foglio’s booth (he gets a big one all for himself and his assistants), a convention goer started talking to him and telling him some details of his personal life. I was frankly stunned that a person would just pour stuff like that out to a stranger, but perhaps he feels that because he had read so much of Mr. Foglio’s work, that Mr. Foglio wasn’t quite a stranger? Mr. Foglio listened patiently, and gave some advice. (IIRC he said somethig like “Go ahead and apologize, and if the other person doesn’t accept the apology, f*** ’em.”)

    I look forward to the day when you are so big that you can afford to visit ECCC. I’ll come and see you. Heck, I’ll buy you dinner if you’ll let me. I guess I’ve read enough of your work that you aren’t completely a stranger to me.

    As always, thanks for making one of my favorite comics.

      1. There’s also the marketing/PR consideration. Comics are much higher profile now than they used to be, and cons have grown up along with that higher profile. All those extra artists drawing representations of their characters is almost advertising for them. It also seems to me that we’re also moving to a point in our society of remembering that supporting small/local businesses/artisans is a generally good thing and we should try to do that over the mega corporations where feasible, and that along with people being fans through DeviantArt or webcomics or whatever will draw more people than a con with 45% DC, 45% Marvel, and 10% misc smaller comic shops. So slapping cease & desist orders left and right would decimate the cons, and ultimately reduce their profile (look at MLB & NFL and the way they’re losing fans and in some places the players on the teams are buying up enough tickets so the games can be broadcast locally to try to fight it, at least I know that’s happening in Cincinnati). So it makes sense not to push too hard for the comic companies.

        I’m sure their lawyers are ready to strike like the Wrath of God on anyone who tries to use their characters as more than properly attributed cameos, protected derivative/parody (such as all the characters in the con in the story here), or standalone prints.

    1. Maybe Heather might be able to help?
      First, Curtis wound need to incorporate
      Then go conglomerate, and incorporate in various nations
      List Heather as corporate contact for shotgun shuffling in Canada llc.
      See what happens fr9m there.
      Import poutine.

      1. I ordered something from a Canadian webcomic artist and the shipping label clearly showed they’d paid import duties as part of the shipment (which I’m sure was part of the shipping & handling). Even with a Canadian agent to re-mail things, Rusche would still owe taxes for the shipment there.

  19. My grandfather used to say that success was, “the right mix of smarts, goodness, and grit.” You and Jessica clearly have a heaping helping of all three.

    Keep doing your thing Rusche!

  20. Wow, your art style has gotten REALLY realisti-….

    Wait, those are photographs.

    Anyway, glad you had a great time. VERY nice and informative write-up!

  21. Rusche – Belated thought regarding the PowerGirl cosplayer Jessica upsold. Did you take the opportunity to tell her you only remember having one Power Girl appearance in your comic and show her former Patreon comic And Into the Fire (currently dated January 26, 2015) to see if you could sell her on your comic as well? Seems like a potential good opportunity from the cold call/talk stance.

  22. If going to conventions has learned me anything, its thats there’s a HUGE gap in things to do wether u go to a comic-con or a Japan/anime convention.
    Since last year we have a Comic-con here in the Netherlands as well but when i looked up stuff that they were diong there i quickly dropped the idea of ever giong to it.
    I mean, 50 euro’s just for a picture with a artist or actor? and no workshops or events? hell, thats money i can save for other stuff.
    Then again, it might be the difference in mindset that the Americans and Europeans have on spending the day, and only walking around in a huge dealer room is’t it for me.
    So anime/manga conventions forward!

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