Tuesday, August 31, 2010


FFWHOOOOOOFFFF. (That was me blowing the dust off this blog.)

Well. The Toronto FanExpo has been and gone--being the thing that, together with a trip to Nepal and a new girlfriend, has been occupying my summer. So yes--I do apologize for the lack of updates, both here and at Phantasmic Tales, and I do promise to be more regular with this stuff from here on out.

How was the show? It was...a little disappointing, to be honest. For one thing, there were some serious organizational issues, which Chris Bird has already touched on, but perhaps not emphatically enough. On Saturday, one of the people at my table was unable to get back into the convention despite being an exhibitor. That had to do with the fact that they packed us into the tiny North Hall, as Bird says, and then oversold--but it was also partly due to the pointlessly strict security. Exhibitors weren't simply allowed to show their passes to get in. Oh no. They had to get their passes punched for that day, and then get their hands stamped. Like what happens when you go to a club or a theme park. And they did it with the weakest, most water- (and sweat-) soluble ink I've ever seen. My co-exhibitor Justin was particularly pissed because he'd been planning to help set up, go home and shower, and then come back.

Regular patrons who bought three-day passes had it even worse: they were forced to wear a bracelet that they couldn't take off for three days. Seriously.

All of this was simply to prevent people trading passes, which is immensely stupid, particularly in the case of exhibitors. As my other co-exhibitor Nick pointed out, ticket sales are pretty marginal compared to the amount of money they make from exhibitors. By inconveniencing and insulting everyone to stop a relatively small number of people who'd be willing to go through all the rigamarole of trading passes back and forth, they probably lost more ticket sales than they saved. Again, this is particularly moronic when it comes to exhibitors, who have to sit at the table for hours--if I can find a friend who's willing to trade off my pass, is it really an immense loss to the con if we split our time there? Exhibitors are where you make your money, FanExpo. You gain so much more by accomodating them than you do by playing Scrooge.

The annoying part is that these shenanigans cast a pall over everyone, resulting in no one being in a purchasing mood. Our sales were way, way down from last year as a result.

So yeah. Not really worth spending all summer preparing for in that respect.

There were some bright spots, though. Fellow Durham Comics Guild members Dylan, Kris and Nathan sold out of their 16-page book, Larz, which I'd printed on our newly-purchased communal printer. Which seems to work OK, and may enable us to print our own stuff from now on. I also personally sold several copies of Freak U. Volume 2 (which I'll post a link to as soon as IndyPlanet approves it, promise). What was most important and exciting, though, were the many people I met and made a real connection with, many of which might lead to possibilities or new talent for the guild. I actually met not one but two very talented sets of creators making a comic called "SpyGuy"--one of whom, Mike Kitchen, has been a mainstay of the Toronto area conventions for a while now, along with his brother Blair. There was also the amazing Steve Mannion, who is NOT a Toronto mainstay, but has a great action-hero name. What's exciting is that he came up from the same sort of situation that I and most of the Guild are coming from, and he was full of tips 'n' tricks. In addition, a LOT of other people contacted us about appearing at other shows.

So a mixed bag this year, but in the long run it may end up paying off. But the important thing is...it's over.

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