Calgary Fan Expo 2022 is in the books– and it was a success! This was the first Expo at which I had only comics and a novel– so, books only– on my table, and I beat previous years’ sales numbers with just the books! By golly, I think that’s a success, so I do!
We premiered a lot of books at the show! THUNDER #3, MAGICKAL MISTER PUNCH #1, GLOAMING #4 and my first novel, SPECIAL PROPER MAGIC!
Mike (@hawkstonedraws) Rieger was an indispensable table partner as we were not only debuting his book, TWILIGHT DETECTIVE AGENCY: GIRLS OUT, but for keeping me on track and recording sales and bagging and boarding comics as we sold them; “division of labour,” indeed!
Each day had its ups and downs, sales-wise– Thursday and Sunday were the most consistent.
It was also great to finally see the “con folks” in real life again, instead of just online. I bought books from Caanan of Occasional Comics (Max Overacts is hilarious and hits close to home for me) and the prolific(!) GMB Chomichuk (Dead Projects is something I’ve wanted to read for a while!)
Of course, the spectre of COVID loomed over us, but many people were masked and I guess we’ll find out how we all did in about two weeks! Still, I hope that conventions are back to stay; I have greatly felt their absence in my life!
Next con for Two Gargoyles will be Vernon Comic Con in Vernon, BC on May 7! See you there!
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!