Bye, NYC! Driving over the Verrazano Bridge, SPX-bound on Friday.
Here is the table that I shared with my lovely friend Alison Wilgus and her beautiful book A Stray In the Woods. We were moved from where we originally were on the map, but most people were able to find us and the SPX staff was super helpful. Note the ATM next to our table which RAN OUT OF MONEY on Sunday because everyone loves comics so much. Alison, her husband Scott and friend Paul (who had his first zine at the con) made room for me in their car, let me crash in their hotel room, and brought lunch so a million thanks goes to them! Another thank you shout out to Raina and Dave who drove a box of my books to Maryland and brought me lunch on Sunday!
I was super stoked about the new stand I got for my Urban Nomad issues and think it helped a lot with visibility and organization on my table. I was kind of glad I decided against getting a banner for SPX since it was a tight squeeze in our corner space. But Alison's banner turned out great, so I'll probably invest in one for next year.
It was delightful to see so many Cooking Up Comics readers! It warms my heart whenever someone tells me they actually make the recipes. One of the volunteers stopped me in the bathroom to ask if this was my comic and comic maven Spike told me she makes some of the recipes! Swoon! I got a great recipe for chick pea "tuna fish" from one reader. I talked with lots of awesome creators and people who have followed my Urban Nomad or Counter Attack series through the years.
Other awesome moments:
-Met John Allison of Bad Machinery through Gina from First Second on Friday night and managed to not make an ass of myself so that was pretty awesome.
-Delicious diner food with John Green, Gina Gagliano, Carol Burrell, Zack Giallongo, Colleen Venable and Scott on Friday night.
-Got lots of hugs from Nonesuch Doll creator Megan Baehr who was a last minute addition and was probably as excited to be at SPX as I was!
-The convention floor on Saturday:
-Got to catch up with my old SVA friend Joe Flood who drew The Cute Girl Network (written by Greg Means and MK Reed) out from First Second this Fall.
-Ran into Sarah McHenry (Hey Pais) in the hotel elevator and we both had the same style of Modcloth dress on but in different colors! I wish I'd been thinking quicker, because that would have been a great photo.
-Of course one of the highlights of the convention was the Ignatz party where I was able to partake of the mythical, dueling chocolate fountains.
-Raina introduced me to the legendary Jeff Smith Saturday night and I heard the story of how he and Kate Beaton discovered they are related.
-One of the guys who worked at the copy shop I used to get my books printed at even stopped by!
-I drew a BMO in Zack Smith's Adventure Time themed sketchbook.
-Another too brief conversation with Kenan Rubenstein who is now a Bostonian and Neil Brideau from Chicago!
-Unexpectedly ran into a high school classmate who is now married to a cartoonist so it was fun to catch up with her!
-Met Monica from Strip Search who was tabling near Perry A, another awesome reader/cartoonist of The Tale of Tamarind!
-Got to meet some of my Canadian and out of town cartoonist friends like Adriana Blake (Fall on Me) and Burt Durand (Horse eComics) in real life and only wish I had been able to hang out with everyone for longer!
-Ran into fellow cartoonists like Pat Lewis, Hamlet Machine, Glynnis Fawkes and zinester AJ Michel who weren't tabling but are just the best.
-Met Sarah Sobole of Doctor Cat, MD who was just the nicest. I'm trying to figure out where to use my Doctor Cat stickers!
-Ran into Tara Abbamondi on the show floor. Seemed like every time I left my table to visit people, those same people were running to my table! Glad we all met up eventually!
-It was also nice to see Jennifer Hayden whom I met at Drink and Draw Like a Lady this past year. I'm only bummed I never got around to pick up her journal comics "Rushes."
-Our table was across from Drawn and Quarterly so I tried not to ogle all of the top notch talent like Kate Beaton, Lisa Hanawalt, Seth, and Adriane Tomine while they were signing books all weekend. While we were breaking down on Sunday, one of the women running the booth gave us beautiful D&Q tote bags that I imagine they didn't want to ship back. Canadians are so nice!!
-On Sunday I was asked to donate a set of Urban Nomads to the Library of Congress which was such an honor!
-Had a much too short conversation with my tablemate Britt from CAKE last year and met Canadian cartoonist Jordyn and her fiance at the Ignatz party.
-One of my last sales on Sunday was to PBS executive Linda Simensky who I've seen at various animation events but was always to shy to say anything to. Her daughter was at her first comic convention!
It seemed like every time I turned around, there was another amazing cartoonist to say hello to, yet I managed to miss at least 5 people I wanted to meet. (Ugh, I'm sorry if it sounds like I've been name dropping too much, but I just love the comics community!!) And just like that, it was Sunday evening and SPX was over.
Now for the Cold Hard Tabling Facts (this isn't as fun to hear, but people may find it useful): This was my first time tabling at SPX. Everyone always says how well they do at this convention so I probably overestimated how many books to bring. I would have kicked myself if I sold out of stuff on the first day, so bringing a bunch of books back home wasn't a problem.
Overall, my sales were just a little less than they usually are at MoCCA. Even though MoCCA is in my hometown which means my travel costs are basically my metrocard, the table prices are at least double what SPX tables run. So even though I had to pay for a portion of the hotel, rental car and meals, SPX and the last MoCCA I did were probably about even expense-wise.
I'm also taking into consideration that there were a LOT more exhibitors this year than in the past which means more people to spread money between. Also the fact that our table wasn't where it was supposed to be on the map probably didn't help a lot. But ultimately I think our table had better traffic than it would have against the opposite wall where we were supposed to be. There were also people who WANTED to spend more money, but both ATMS ran out of cash. This was a good argument for using a Square reader. I definitely was glad I picked one up after CAKE last summer. At least 1/3 of my sales were with credit cards.
Surprisingly I sold VERY few $1 zines. I never know what people will be drawn to at a particular convention, so I like to keep stats on this sort of thing for the future. The good news is that my biggest seller was issues of Urban Nomad, specifically issue #4 which is what I was spotlighting. The one thing I DID run out of was free Cooking Up Comics bookmarks. I brought 150 and ran out before the end of Sunday. People always love free stuff! (And if you stopped by the blog because of my bookmarks at SPX and have read through all of this, bless you! I'm not usually this long-winded on the commentary.)
Ultimately, I don't do conventions to make money and I don't know many people that do! I do it because I love meeting people who love comics, to have a conversation with them and to introduce new readers to my work. Meeting people like Pat McCuen and his wife are the reason I love conventions.
So I had a fantastic time at SPX! It was really wonderful talking comics with everyone and I'm so excited to work on some new stuff in the coming months.
Finally, here are some of the excellent books and miscellany that I collected at SPX. I also bought a beautiful print from Kali Ciesemier that I'll have to find wall space for soon.