Unshelved comic strip for 7/26/2004

Comic Con Man

Ah, Comic Con. Of all the shows we do it's at once my most and least favorite, this year more than ever.

It's my most favorite because these are my people. In one (very large) room I can find most of the people whose works I read regularly. I had nice chats with Terry Moore, Mike Kunkel, Scott Kurtz, Fred Gallagher, the Dumbrella guys, my friend Mike Jantze, even Bill Plympton. Increasingly I feel less like a fanboy and more like a fellow pro, albeit one a few steps behind on the path. And with my knowledge of the library market I even feel I have a little something to teach them.

It's my least favorite because in going from ALA to ComicCon I go from being a rock star to being just another webcomic artist, and not a very good one at that. In my world 12,000 readers a day is a lot. To the (totally obnoxious) guys from Penny Arcade it's a rounding error. It's not so much that I'm competitive - I am - but rather that I get a sense of my place in the ecosystem. ComicCon is my Total Perspective Vortex. I left with some humility but a renewed determination to do everything better. Beware.

Last year we had a tiny small press table with amazing location. This year we had a largish exhibition table with terrible location. I preferred last year. Foot traffic along our booth was terrible, maybe half what we had last year. It was easy to see people peering down our dark, uncarpeted aisle and deciding that it might perhaps not be entirely a safe place to visit. As Top Shelf's Brett Warnock said, that part of the exhibit hall has the "stench of desperation." Even so we sold a bunch of stuff - more books than last year, fewer shirts - but it was often like pulling teeth. I signed us up for a booth in the Independent Publisher's Pavillion next year - we'll have more room, more dignity, and a much better location. My hope is to be near Terry Moore, with whom I suspect we share a very similar demographic.

On a happier note, we did get a lot of positive strokes about the strip and our books. Several retailers mentioned to me they planned to order it from Previews (presumably by tomorrow's deadline), which would be a pleasant development now that we are sprinting towards a second printing of Volume 1.

A big thank you to everyone who helped us out. Derek passed out thousands of fliers with help from my friends Anthony the physics grad student, Ellen the hot librarian, and Hawk the fangirl. Mike and Nicole Jantze are, as always, a source of friendly support and good advice. Our neighbors Tom and Elizabeth put up with our sales antics and the truly nice people from Nice.Purrsia.com helped us pass the slow times with some frisbee action.

And yeah, I'm already looking forward to next year. I'm such a nerd.

This Unshelved strip

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