So the first GRASP con is in the history books. Now that I’ve had a chance to recover from the drive and lack of sleep it’s time to take a look back at the weekend.
First of all, traffic on I-94 sucks. There’s construction all throughout Indiana that turns a relatively easy drive into a hard one. Our car is in need of work so I got a rental Chevy Impala. That baby had lots of trunk room, moves like a cat and rides like a couch floating down the highway.
After getting the “full breakfast” included with the room at the Best Western I was disappointed that the only thing worth eating was scrambled eggs that may or may not have been army surplus, brown & serve sausages and juice. Everything else was heavy carb heavy sugar including a self serve waffle iron. They didn’t even have bacon! Full breakfast my eye!
After breakfast I got to the venue with no delays and beat the 9am deadline when they start charging $5 for parking. The Deltaplex is the building equivalent of a nondescript white van. On the inside it looks like a bomb shelter. The Deltaplex is also the home of The Grand Rapids Drive, of the NBA’s D-League.
Saturday started slowly with my first customer attempting to buy a $3 button with a fifty. Come on lady, do I look like a currency exchange? It was cold as a meat locker and stupid me forgot to bring a sweater. Combine cold and a lack of business and by noon I’m struggling to stay awake. At one point I go to the parking lot just so I can warm my hands on the hood of the car. After my warmup I got a second wind and even did a sketch for one of my neighbors of his character for his book. Sunday was even more sparsely attended but I was prepared after seeing Saturday’s turnout.
The bottom line is this was the first year for this show and it takes a while for any comic show to get established. I didn’t make a lot of sales but on the positive side I sold more comic books than ever before! The Ninja Bunny debut book was the best seller and garnered a lot of attention. I also got to talk to a lot of people that actually read small press comics and networked with some really cool creators. I would probably do this show again.
The first of three conventions I plan on doing this year is happening this Saturday & Sunday the 27-28th in Grand Rapids Michigan and it’s called GRASP Comic Expo. GRASP stands for Grand Rapids Alternative Small Press.
This is the Inaugural show for the organizers of this event but they have had success with their fall show the Grand Rapids Comic Con. Their booths were very affordable and since it is not a juried show they were kind enough to accept my money and rent me a booth without any approval process.
Since this is their first show I’m going in with no expectations. Whatever happens it’s all good and I’m just going to enjoy being a part of the show. I’ve had some good experiences with Michigan shows so far so hopefully the trend continues.
I have been a Cubs fan since the days of Banks, Santo & Williams but I was born on the south side. That means a lot of abuse has been sent my way from south siders as well as anyone that thought me a dope for rooting for a bunch of perennial losers.
But all the while I have never hated the White Sox. In fact the pale hose have a special place in my heart. The first ballgame I ever attended was a Sox double header that my uncle brought me to. I still remember being awed by the red pinstripe uniforms because we only had a B&W TV.
It wasn’t until years later I discovered that the Negro League All-Star Game was often held at old Comisky Park, and for years they commemorated that by giving away Chicago American Giants caps as a promotion every year.
So even though I bleed cubbie blue I think baseball fans are lucky to have two major league franchises in this city and I still enjoy catching an AL game every now and then.
After scoring a seat in section 520, sixth row even with first base for $5, I settle back with my Lagunitas IPA and a much anticipated Bill Melton Brat. The brat was disappointment. It was pretty dry, overcooked and burnt in some spots. Since it was covered in onions there was no way I could tell until it was too late. Should have gotten the Beggar’s pizza instead.
Halfway through the top of the second inning a group of teenagers came in. Then another group. Then, I swear to God about 150 of them just swarmed in. Of all the empty sections in a pretty damn empty park this group of youngsters had been assigned section 520. I’ve got nothing against teenagers but I was kind of hoping to just enjoy the game and all of it’s nuances which you don’t really do if you go with a group because then it becomes more of a social event. A few years ago I was at a Blue Jays game in Toronto and was attempting to return to my seat after buying food. The usher stopped me and said ” Sir, please wait until the batter is finished” after which myself and all the other patrons waited until between innings to return to our seats so we wouldn’t obstruct the vision of the seated fans. Americans have no problem putting an ass in your face at any point in the game even if something crucial is happening. Hey, I need my third hot dog, you got a problem with that? With the kids constantly getting up and parading back & forth to the snack bar, by the third inning it was time to move.
Luckily for me since the park was so empty sitting in another section wasn’t hard to do. After moving to the first base side I was able to focus on the game which was 1-0 Astros. From then the game took a turn for better for the Sox as well. My guy Geo Soto (ex-cub) hit a home run to put them ahead and Jose Abreu, who was one of the reasons I wanted to see a Sox game in the first place hits a two run shot to give them a cushion and the Sox end up winning 4-1.
Being at the park is fun if you have crazy good seats with parking included, but for me personally, the best seat in the house in in front of your HD TV with a clean restroom just steps away and unlimited food & drink at your fingertips.
Summer is here and for me that means Comic Con season. Since I hate driving in bad weather the warmer months are the only time of year we do shows. That and I’m starting to totally rethink the whole concept of comic shows as a way to gain recognition, but that’s another story.
If you’re going to do cons then you will be needing actual books to sell to potential readers. It sounds simple but as you know printing costs are expensive so what I like to do is small print runs so I won’t have a lot of back stock in case the book is a slow seller. It’s been a trial and error process to find a printer that accommodates small indie comic makers and our limited budgets.
At a recent show I bought someone’s book that was printed by Comix Well Spring and it looked pretty nice so I decided to give them a try. I have to say that they did not disappoint.
The books come standard with a cardstock cover which feels very substantial. The interior pages are also a decent thickness and the images almost look like books printed using the offset process which is more expensive and usually require a higher print minimum. The colors are true to the pdf original, unlike when I use Ka-Blam printing who’s process makes the images darker. And turnaround time was crazy fast unlike Ka-Blam who makes sure to take every bit of a month to get your books to you unless you pay them an extra fee. I got my books in just under two weeks. Needless to say, I’ve found my printer.