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The $3350 Investment, A Lesson 15 Years In The Making, and NYCC 2022
This may end up being a long post, but we’ll see how things go as I type this out. I may say what I need to say using less words and detailed descriptions than I originally anticipated. However, it mostly depends on what I’m willing or unwilling to openly disclose. I try to be as open and honest as I can be here without getting TOO personal, but let’s see where this goes. Shall we?
You know what one of my favorite things about being in comics is that I didn’t truly learn until I was in it as a professional the first decade? That comics doesn’t really have an age limit of when you break in or how long your career will be. Taking gatekeeping out of the equation, comics creators can be absolutely any age, race, sex, gender, religion, political group, sexual orientation, etc.. It’s just people telling any and all types of stories with words and pictures. The more diverse the people putting out comics the stronger comics as an industry becomes. Countries like Japan have long understood that and as long as you got it in you, you can start making comics at 14 years old and stop at 94 years old. As long as there are fans out there that want to read your stories and see your work there will be companies out there who will hire you and publishers willing to put your creator-owned projects out there. Because goddammit, human beings LOVE stories. Especially ones where we can see ourselves and who we aspire to be! If we as creators are doing it right, despite whatever walk of life we’re individually coming from, it can bring us closer together! At NYCC last weekend I saw that and it was glorious.
Now, it’s not that I didn’t see or hear things that might have been disturbing and disruptive. People disrespecting creators and attendees, obnoxious and conceited behavior, and flat out rudeness on exhibitors, creators, and attendees parts alike. That said, based on the majority of what I was aware of, it was minimal at best and perpetrators have been documented. Gave me a lot a faith in our comics community that I think we were all looking for. For the most part, it gave damn near every creator I know a boost of jet fuel in our endeavors. Well done, my peeps!
Below is a few pictures I have from my time at the show. Notes on each pic will be in italics:
My view from the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken.
A shot of my Artist Ally table. New portfolio went over very well! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my convention banner, but somehow people were able to find me! Gotta than social media for that one!
This picture of Kim Jung Gi’s table was not taken by me, but I wanted to share it here that there was an undercurrent of solidarity in our loss(es) throughout the show.
A very rare sight! This is the first time I have EVER seen a printed version of Midnight Tiger: STRONGER of any single issue! Thanks to friend and artist Eric Van Elslande for bring this by all the way from France!
Declan Shalvey, one of the very best visual storytellers currently working in comics, casually dropping to see me! Go buy his creator-owned book OLD DOG at Image Comics!
ALYSSA WONG!!! We finally meet and it was AWESOME!! Team Aphra!! They were effortlessly cool!
When I meet up with Joe Illidge it’s like hanging out with my successful and wise big brother! Always doing big things, lifting you and everyone else up, and drops nuggets of wisdom every damn time!
This was my SQUAD! How lucky was I to both have DANNY LORE & ALYSSA WONG basically be hanging with me most of the show!?! Two of the MOST talented writers of this generation steadily on the rise and, in my humble opinion, representative of the power and possibilities of comics!
Khalid Brooks brought his A-Game to this Knullified Miles Morales Cosplay! The work paid off!
Here are just a couple of the head sketches I did while I was there!
Even though I caught some kind of a cold/virus/whatever between the airport and the first 48 hours I was home, my overall NYCC 2022 was truly amazing. I got to meet so many people I only talk to online, was visited by several editors who I’ve either worked with before or may work with in the future, and made some new fans! It was worth the money I spent to make the trip. Oh! About that…
The $3350 Investment
That’s right. The entire output of my big amazing trip to NYCC 2022 cost me almost $3.5k. And no. I didn’t make that back. However, I didn’t expect to! You see I haven’t been on the shelves regularly the past year-ish. This business, your ability to generate more job offers, and your popularity with fans and retailers are directly connected to what you’re currently working on. No. Not the stuff you’re doing in the shadows that nobody sees. It’s the stuff people are talking about. By people I mean consumers. If nobody sees anything from you, especially on the shelves or in the comics news, or whatever you’re practically invisible. I’m simplifying it, but essentially it’s hard to sell toys of an action star based on a killer movie that nobody has ever seen or talks about. It just doesn’t exist in the minds of the consumer and that is the nature of the entertainment business. “What are you working on now that I can go get?”. I was essentially being “seen” based on previous work and random attendees either watching me draw or looking through my portfolio. SOOOOO glad I brought that portfolio! LOL! Which is why I was there in the first place. To get back into the game that appeals to my current needs and desires as a comics creator. So, I do like I always do and invest in myself! So, I hit the floor and just be myself and that’s it. Being myself includes talking to anyone and everyone that comes by, checking in with peers and colleagues, doing impromptu portfolio reviews, geeking out over creators I admire, doing my damnedest to keep up with head sketch demands, and encouraging & listening to those who need it. That’s everyone, if you haven’t figured that out! So, that $3350 drop will sting a little while, but make no mistake, it was WELL worth it! Especially meeting someone out of the blue who’s work changed your life as a kid and hitting it off in a major way! Danny Lore knows what I’m talking about! LOL! With that, whatever fruits may come from putting my money where my mouth is and jumping back into mainstream comics, it’s up to the universe now.
A Lesson 15 Years In The Making
15 years ago at the age of 33 I took a risk and became a full-time comic book artist with Spider-Man Family #8. I’d worked on comics before, but I ALWAYS had a full-time job. However, the universe (and my wife) aligned in such a way that there was an opportunity to truly pursue this career in a meaningful way and there was no turning back. There have been big risks, mistakes, pitfalls and heartache, but THIS is a part of me and the rewards have been immeasurable. There were forces working against me both known and unknown and impossible to avoid, but I had allies and support because I AM made for this. For 15 years I’ve been forged and reshaped by this industry with many lessons to teach and many more to learn, but the one it’s taken all this time to REALLY get? You GOT this and you truly belong here! Now, make it work for you!