While there are lots of good reasons why Scavina should have stayed up on the ship (as discussed here and here), lack of experience isn’t one of them. Difficult as it may be for certain Survey Contact Team veterans to imagine.
I went to Fan Expo here in Toronto and had a great time! Thank you so much to everyone who bought a book (or a comic, or a button, or a post-it pad), or who just picked up a flyer and checked out the comic online. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time chatting with some wonderful people. I can’t begin to tell you what was a lovely change it was from my day-to-day life here in the burbs to be able to have conversations about super geeky things like Doctor Who and Star Blazers and the comic creative process, and not be looked at like I’m some sort of weirdo! Well, yes, I am a weirdo, but when you’re in good company with other weirdoes it’s suddenly a marvelous thing to be.
It’s been awhile since I’ve attended any of the major mainstream comic conventions. I did come to Fan Expo in 2007, but my webcomic was barely a year old and I didn’t have the new book to sell. Also, I had been set up in Artist’s Alley, which in Fan Expo terms means a half-table space somewhere along the back wall. I grant you, this is also where some of the famous names in comicdom also sit, but I didn’t feel as though it was a very nice location, if your goal is to sell stuff and meet new fans. So this year I forked over the money for a full table in the Small Press area, which had seemed to me to get better through-traffic.
Now, the strange thing about the Small Press area is, the actual comics there are far outnumbered by the fan-art prints, cosplay accessories, and other handmade items. This is a stark change from what I used to see ten years ago, when the Small Press area was full of self-publishers like myself. Perhaps this is because Fan Expo is trying to be an All-Things-To-All-People kind of show, with areas for horror, gaming, and anime in addition to the comics, and the Small Press area is the catch-all section for all the artists of all the different mediums. But as I said, I haven’t been to any of the other big comic shows lately, so I don’t know if this trend is just a Toronto thing or if it’s an industry-wide thing. I know the number of independent comic creators out there hasn’t gone down—the amount of amazing independent artists who came to TCAF was a pretty good indication of that. Not to mention all the great webcomics being made (I’ve listed a of a few of my favourites on my links page)! Of course there are plenty of webcomics that have frustratingly erratic schedules or come to a sudden stop within a few months, but that was how it was with minicomics and self-published comics in the ‘90s, so no change there. Maybe there is a larger proportion of webcomickers who either aren’t interested in print at all, or else believe they can better serve their fans by selling their merchandise entirely through online stores, and skipping the expense of buying tables at conventions. And I suppose another barrier is the move towards making graphic novels (or book-sized collections, for strip comics) rather than the old “floppy” comic. A 100-200 page book represents a year-or-two’s worth of effort, rather than the month-or-two’s worth needed for a 24-page issue. So I guess in print terms we’re losing a lot of those start-ups that never make it to their first year.
For myself, I wondered if I belonged in a big media show like Fan Expo, where so much of the focus is on the movie stars like Leonard Nimoy and Bruce Campbell, and when comics are mentioned at all it’s only in terms of the Hollywood-supported superheroes. But you know what? Despite the fact that probably less than 1 percent of the attendees were willing to give my table a second glance, that was enough to make the weekend worthwhile. Same was true for my pal Jay Marcy —he does an autobiographical comic, very different from mine and not at all genre-ish, but he told me he had record sales this weekend (Go Jay!). So do we self-publishers still belong at these big shows? Yeah, I think so. I wonder if, as the desire to “monetize” webcomics grows, we’ll start seeing more of us in the Small Press areas of Fan Expo again?
I’m pleased to report that I sold a lot of books this weekend, and between this show and the upcoming Word on the Street, I expect to need to make a second print run before next year. The next edition will likely feature different cover art, and while we’re about it we’ll fix some of the small interior things that are bugging us, so if you have a burning desire to own the original edition of Galaxion Book 1: The Jump, you should probably order it soon!
Finally, though I didn’t manage to take any photos this weekend, plenty of other people did. Here is a video interview in which we talk about my Star Blazers influences, and in this photo gallery on the CBC website (it’s the 24th one in the set), you can see me hard at work on the next page!
This is totally not Galaxion.
Welcome to the “First-Friday-of-the-Month” update (and apologies for the slightly delayed posting)! If you’re looking for the most recent Galaxion page, it can be found here.
Yes, I am a great big Star Trek nerd! I know, this comes as a terrible shock to you all. I drew this to go in the programme booklet for a local Toronto convention– darned if I can remember which one– back in 1995. This was shortly after that Nitpicker’s Guide book came out, and hence the gag. The Borg is Hugh (from the 5th-season episode of the same name), and the two Klingons are the Duras sisters, Lursa and B’Etor. I’m not completely sure anymore, but I think the three of them were all guests at this particular convention, which was why I featured them in this little fan art.
See you Tuesday for the regular Galaxion update!
Patty vs. an Anime Con.
Here’s the backstory: I drew this sketch a couple of years ago at Fan Expo in Toronto, at my first con appearance since leaving the comics scene in 1999. Technically Fan Expo is not an anime con, but it does have an anime area to it, and the cosplayers were certainly displaying their finery. Now, see, this was my first time at any sort of anime show. I’m used to costumes at conventions, but up til then I was always able to identify the costumes– superheroes, Star Trek uniforms, Storm Troopers, whatever. This was the first time I’d look at a costume and have absolutely no idea what the person was supposed to be. I hadn’t watched much anime in seven years, either! What made the whole spectacle even more startling was, I’d been expecting a regular comic con. All this anime stuff seemed to come out of nowhere!
But the weirdest thing of all, at the time, was seeing random people dressed in perfectly normal clothes… but sporting big furry ears and a tail. Now, a couple years later, I get it– I even bought a set for my kids to wear at Anime North– but at the time I couldn’t look at them and not want to burst out laughing because it looked so.. so nonsequitor.
So you see why Patty needed to get a new hat. Vessa, she’s known Patty for years, she’s used to seeing bizarre hats. The tail, on the other hand…. Anyway, I put off posting this because at the time when I drew this, the webcomic hadn’t reached the part where we learn about Patty’s hat collection, so it didn’t make sense to show it off. Then I forgot all about it. But at the Anime North show a couple weekends ago, surrounded by cosplayers and furries, a certain someone mentioned to me that Patty ought to have a pair of ears in her collection of hats. And I remembered this. Norbert, this one’s for you!
Come back on Tuesday for a new page!
Did you remember what day it is today…?
Not Valentine’s Day, not Singles Awareness Day, no, the important thing here is whose birthday it is (though heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are always welcome). Not that Fusella is likely to let you forget!
Last year we celebrated Fu’s birthday with the fictional character’s equivalent of flipping through the baby pictures: a 25-year retrospective. This year she gets cake. That’s a step in the right direction, I think?
See you Tuesday!
It’s not a new page, but…
I don’t have a usual First-Friday-of-the-Month update for you, but here instead is something you might find interesting– a lineup of most of the major characters that shows you exactly who is taller than whom. I don’t always get it right when I’m drawing the pages, but this is how it’s supposed to be! More or less, anyway. I actually drew this almost a year ago, but only finally got around to inking it this week. Next, I’ll have to work on colouring it!
See you on Tuesday with a real update!
When I first decided to do a little “Story So Far” to reacquaint everyone with the plot, I’d figured I’d stick to one, maybe two pages tops. But the fun part was really Fusella’s colour commentary, and as it was I had to trim down her dialogue to squeeze it all in to five pages! I already have grand plans to do this same kind of thing next year, but from a different character’s perspective. I had fun doing this– I hope you had fun reading it!
See you Tuesday! And Happy New Year!
Useless author trivia: I was falling asleep at my desk when I was in the middle of lettering this page. Notice how I began to lose it right around the sixth word balloon there? I took a quick nap before coming back to finish it off.
(Oh, and in case you’ve lost track: we’re not done yet. Keep clicking.)
I should note that I drew these pages before I came up with the idea of the holiday strips. So if we ignore those, then we haven’t seen Fusella since… well, she had that brief appearance at Halloween… but other than that, since the middle of September. And with those two short stories in the way (Flip Book and then Pathfinder), we haven’t returned to current events on the Galaxion since June. Hence why in this sequence she’s feeling a little neglected. (cue the thin mournful sounds of world’s tiniest violin)