My interview in SEQUENTIAL MAGAZINE is now published! Download for any donation amount at https://seqmagazine.gumroad.com/l/seqm11?fbclid=IwAR2-nrlmEehavlgPFOooLWC5GVsNlCNyDgYNFOZoXlMj5syV63v6DvOo-wc
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!
Life’s a rainbow,
Two Gargoyles is pleased to present the return and first free digital publication of THUNDER, our Canadian Superhero.
In anticipation of the release of THUNDER #5 at the Calgary Expo a the end of April, I would like to make a very special announcement regarding THUNDER. As of this post, you may now enjoy all of Issue #1 for free on the Twogargs site– Just go to http://twogargs.com/issue/thunder-1/ and enjoy!
New THUNDER stories and pages will be posted every Thursday leading up to the convention. If you’ve read the book already, please enjoy refreshing your memory with a re-read. If you’re new to the book, please share it with your friends!
HALF NORSE GOD. HALF CANADIAN. SUPER POLITE.
It’s always fascinating to me how life can imitate art. Thunder, my half-Norse God, half-Canadian, Super Polite hero, is the star of a comic about a young man seeking identity in a tale reflecting the Hero’s Journey of mythology: seeking realization of potential via the journey to maturity.
So, too, does the process of creating the comic mimic that journey. Thunder has more issues published than any other Twogargs comic: Four to date, with a fifth one more than half completed as of this writing! And yet, after the fourth issue there came a pause, a crossroads in the creative process.
The artist left the project, creating the need for change in the book going forward (and I’m excited about the direction in which it’s going, which I will share in another post!) but also leaving me with a decision to make looking backward: I always said after the fourth issue of Thunder I was going to collect those first four comics into one graphic novel, as a one-stop jumping-on point for those readers who wanted to have one big story arc all at once. Unfortunately, with the departure of the original artist came certain changes that needed to be made. So the decision was this: Pick apart the story or completely refresh it? I chose the latter: Why not have something fresh for existing Thunder fans to enjoy, as well as new readers?
Thus I began to search for new artists to deliver the Graphic Novel’s art even as the new artist began work on the newest issue of the comic.
But, like the Hero journeying through the Forest, I encountered obstacles. I found an artist who began to draw the first book with fresh eyes, and then suddenly his job and work-life balance changed, which meant he could no longer devote any time to the book. After finally realizing that (because I think we Indie comics people bend over backwards in the vain hope that maybe things are still possible even when we know darn well they aren’t) it wasn’t going to work out, I went with another artist.
This artist had life troubles from the get-go– not his fault, of course! Life Happens! But one can only say “it’s nobody’s fault” for so long before one realizes that isn’t the issue; the issue is there’s been no work done on one’s project for a number of weeks. And so, it came time to say goodbye to that relationship as well.
As of this writing, I have found another partner with the help of a Facebook group connecting writers and artists, and it seems as if Thunder can finally move forward into realizing that fresh, new Graphic Novel!
There’ll be refreshed art, new characters, slight changes to the story; it will still be the Thunder you’re used to but with a spiffy new shine to him.
I’ve been silent on this topic for so long, it is a great relief to finally share with my readers that YES, that Canadian super-hero you were getting to know is coming back in a BIG way. Watch this space as I continue this Hero’s Journey with all of you.
Onward and Upward,
Our newest SuperGroin, The Flash, is now up on Redbubble.com and available for purchase! Whether you want a flashy throw pillow, coffee mug, or art print, your favourite “red streak” can be at your house IN A FLASH! And today,(July 20, 2015) coincidentally, Redbubble is having a sale– 20% off sitewide if you enter the code “REDTOWN.” How’s that for synchronicity? Woo!
Check out our other great Super Groin collections and our Super Boobs, too! Alphabetical from A to Z! Can you name them all?