Hey folks, an update from me regarding the COVID-19 virus: I’m at home, self-isolating. All foreseeable convention appearances have been postponed until we figure out how this whole virus thing is going to turn out.
But there’s a silver lining! More time at home means more time to create! Production continues with Thunder #3, Spectrum #2, Twilight Detective Agency #2, and the all-new Magickal Mister Punch #1, as well as the long-awaited Diaperman Meets Milk!
Also, did you know about the spin-off of TDA, “Twilight Detective Agency – GIRLS OUT?” It’s about two GIRL gargoyles on the run from their own people! Written and drawn by Mike Rieger! Check it out at http://twogargs.com/tdago/!
In the meantime, please enjoy this comic about the Coronavirus written by me, illustrated by Kyle Burles (with a cameo by Mike Rieger!)
APRIL 23-26! All-new con presence! New books! Same happy attitude! Mark your calendars to come see me as a comics guest at @calgaryexpo in April! #twogargscomics #calgaryexpo #conguest #indiecomics #canadian
Come see Michael McAdam and Kyle Burles at Kelowna Comic Con this weekend!! Bring your inhaler and smoke mask! We ain’t lettin’ no pesky forest fires stop us! #makecomics#indiecomics#smoky#kelowna#canadian#artist#writer
Folks, keep May 26th open! I am exhibiting at the Panel One Comic Creator Festival, ONE DAY ONLY, here in Calgary. Follow Panel One Calgary (@panel_one on Twitter) for more info! #makecomics#indiecomics#writer#twogargs#canadian#artscene#supportartists#Thunder#Gloaming#Spectrum#Diaperman#TDA
TL;DR I will never return to C4 Winnipeg. The convention is horrible from start to finish.
Okay, so here’s the story of C4 Winnipeg 2017.
Not too long ago, before the advent of mainstream organizations taking over conventions, they were run by well-meaning but inexperienced volunteers. It was considered standard for there to be hiccups, miscommunications and confusion in every process from registration to teardown.
Nowadays, we’ve seen a better way: We’ve seen competence, organization, and we’ve experienced being treated with respect by people who know what they’re doing.
Which is why C4 Winnipeg was such an unpleasant shock.
Flame Con was held at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott in Brooklyn, NY on Aug 19 & 20, 2017.
WHAT. A. BLAST.
Being an LGBT-focussed comic con, Flame Con greeted me at the door with an immediate feeling of inclusivity, celebration and joy. The staff were all “superheroes”– they all had capes tied at the neck with velcro– meaning the capes could be shared with volunteers, making anyone associated with the con immediately visible and identifiable. Clever, fun and reassuring!
Steven, one of the people who directed us to the registration line had a rainbow beard. “Now I know I’m in the right place,” I said.
Billing itself as the “Largest LGBT Pop Culture Convention in New York”, it’s easy to believe– last year’s attendance boasted over 3, 400 people and this year was apparently larger, though no numbers were available at the time of this writing.
The greatest thing about this convention is also the most fundamental and basic: I never once had to explain myself, my comics, or the art prints at my table. Not once did someone flinch as they saw muscular men in speedos, or an A to Z of superhero groins. No one turned up their noses at Cyclops embracing Iceman, nor did they look uncertain as I described my LGBT superhero, Spectrum, or for that matter my tongue-in-cheek comic, Diaperman, where all the heroes and villains are fetishists. Heck, I didn’t even have to define “fetishist” to anyone.
In short: Everyone at Flame Con “got it.” All-inclusive. We Are Family. In The Club. That sort of thing. And the feeling– it’s amazing. It’s knowing you belong, knowing you’re doing something that appeals to people, hearing feedback on your work that’s very positive.
Speaking of which, I met gay comic icon Paul Charles, the Gay Comic Geek (Warning: Link NSFW) who read Spectrum and gave this amazing review!
I would describe my convention experience as a success: I sold out of Spectrum, and my now-famous Superhero A to Z groin posters. Other popular prints were Hogwarts Swim Team, and Jeremy’s female Gambit. Our comic Twilight Detective Agency also sold well!
Too, there was a Saturday Night shindig at a local bbq joint/bar where Exhibitors got in free after 9:30; It was called Camp Fire and there was a themed comic-and-pop-culture drag show which was fabulous (but when they did the Bette Midler number from Hocus Pocus– “I Put A Spell On You”— I was having none of it! I have secretly choreographed that number in my own living room for years, and I was not gonna let someone else do it (so I quietly did it in the corner of the bar for an audience of one, as Jeremy found my antics amusing).
I got to meet Greg Fox of Kyle’s Bed and Breakfast, a fantastic series of excellent graphic novels about a gay B&B; he was our table neighbour. We traded graphic novels and I read his stuff on the plane ride home (review to follow at another time).
Challenges for this show were: Travel, primarily. Schlepping the con gear and merchandise across the US Border is ALWAYS tiresome, troublesome, and downright inconsistent. On this particular trip I was told I wasn’t allowed to transport merchandise by air, though by ground was fine. They let me through anyway, but it’s just another inconsistency in the grand world of US Customs.
The second was cost: New York City is a spendy, spendy place. The hotel convention rate was $300 US a night, which was just not in the budget for Jeremy and I. We ended up staying further away, still in Brooklyn but at a nice little pseudo-B&B slash hostel called “J-Stel.” Three floors, each floor had a shared bathroom; air conditioned rooms (thank God). I didn’t mind it; I’d stay there again.
Warning: DO NOT TAKE A CITY CAB FROM THE AIRPORT TO DOWNTOWN. I used Uber (which is always wonderful, I love Uber) and paid $40– Jeremy took a cab and paid $197.00. Almost two hundred dollars! DO. NOT. USE. CITY. CABS. Period.
The con was extremely well-run, and well-organized; check-in took us maybe five minutes and they had time slots prepared for those folks that needed to use the loading dock so as to avoid congestion. It was wonderful. Also, the staff were always checking on the vendors, seeing if we needed anything, being around and being visible.
And the music– god yes, the music. They played fun, light, pop music from the 70’s and 80’s in the dealer’s room with various famous gay anthems and fun songs, which really brightened the room– and had me dancing and singing all weekend. What a way to improve the mood and interest of the crowd and potential buyers! Anytime I can groove to the Go-Go’s is a happy time indeed.
I want to support this convention and return next year, as it attracted an excellent calibre of creators and fans; it will take some consideration though, as the travel and costs are prohibitive. Definitely will require consideration. However, if you can get to New York, you owe it to yourself to experience this joy!
Fresh from the fantastic Calgary Horror Con, and I want to capture some of my thoughts on the show.
Firstly, it’s expanding– last year there were two dealer’s rooms, this year there were three! Celebrity guests included Doug Bradley and Ashley Laurence (from Hellraiser) and John Kassir (voice of the Cryptkeeper) as well as Zach Galligan (Billy from Gremlins) and others! Attendance was also up from last year, to the point where there was a line-up to get in as the show opened on Saturday.
The show seems to attract all types of fans: families, individuals of all ages; there’s no “set” demographic that I could really discern. I saw a family of four in full costume from four different movies, fans in their 60’s and 70’s browsing tables for curios and photos; girls and boys, women and men. It was lovely to see!
Traffic was steady and flow-through was good in our room on both days, with brief lunchtime lulls and a dwindling crowd in the last hour of Sunday.
I love Horror as a genre, though it’s never been as intrinsic to me as to my friend Kyle Burles, the artist on our shared Horror comic, Gloaming. The first year of the show, Kyle had a table by himself, and because it was slow he asked if I wanted to come down and set up some of my stuff and share a table with him; we had such a good time, I’ve come back every year.
Two Gargoyles Comics produces a rainbow of comic book genres- Superheroes, Comedy, LGBT, Noir, and Horror- and at first I thought of Horror-Con as a small supplement to a very specific audience, but I was in error. The fans are of course delighted by horror offerings but are interested in others as well!
This year, my comics seemed to fly off the rack. Gloaming 1 and 2 were very popular, of course, being the “Showcase” comic for this show (in fact, on Saturday afternoon I had sold out of Gloaming #1 and had to rush home to grab more inventory); but also there was interest in the Gargoyle Noir/Comedy Twilight Detective Agency, and half-Norse God half-Canadian superhero Thunder. Folks also enjoyed the cartoonish Diaperman (I actually sold out of his graphic novel at the show!) and there was also love for LGBT hero Spectrum. I sold 60% of my 4-day Calgary Expo numbers of comics at this show– to a whole different audience, which made the show amazingly worthwhile!
It’s worth noting that for the first time ever (and we’ve been doing shows together for eleven years), my comics sales exceeded Kyle’s print sales, and his sales are always incredible! Perhaps this was the year for fans to broaden their horizons? Who knows? It’s frustrating for all creators/vendors to try to anticipate the market, because it seems we never can, but I will appreciate success where I find it and that’s for sure!
According to its own website, Calgary Horror Con is “The first and largest convention in Canada dedicated to Horror,” and this seems to be corroborated by actor Dick Warlock (Halloween) who, in his CBC News interview, said “The crowd has been tremendous… this show is as good or as big as any I’ve ever been to.”