This past weekend saw my attendance at Seattle’s Emerald City Comic-Con, my first west coast convention, and the first time I’d visited Seattle. I can’t manage to organize my thoughts or experience into a single coherent essay, so you get a numbered list. But I’ll kill the suspense now; I had a great time.
1. I never want to list the creators I talked to, because I’m afraid I’ll forget someone. But I can’t write up my thoughts on ECCC without discussing Periscope Studio. Everybody I talked to from Periscope, everyone I met, was friendly and engaging. I would be remiss if I did not mention Jen Van Meter and Greg Rucka, both of whom were charming and tolerated my fannish glee at finally meeting them. And Corrina Bechko and Gabriel Hardman were a pleasure to meet. I blogged about this already, but I’ll say it again; nearly everyone I meet at comic conventions is friendly. The creators I admire, the people whose work I wait for each month, whose stories have shaped my life, these people are really a decent bunch of folks.
2. The webcomic presence at the convention was huge. Huge, and, in my view, telling. The line for Kate Beaton, of Hark, A Vagrant fame, was huge. The line was a serious traffic impediment. Ms. Beaton had people standing to see her every hour, both days. Bendis, Brubaker, and a handful of artists had lines like that. Hark, A Vagrant and Questionable Content have devoted, passionate fans who buy books and collections, pins and buttons, posters and sketches and art.
My walk-around view of things led my to the impression that those two webcomics were among the top ten most popular creators at the convention, by line length. It’s time people stopped saying that webcomics are the future of comics; webcomics are the present.
3. Christina Strain, Colleen Coover, Jeff Parker, and C.B. Cebulski comprised the panel, How to Break into Comics the Marvel Way. I go to these panels to comfort myself that I am doing all the right things, trying to get into comics. I didn’t hear anything new to me, but I found the four panelists informative, funny, and very, very blunt. Here’s the gist:
Work your full-time paying job, or two of them. Then spend all your free time working on your comics. Work for free. Get nothing from it. Get a website and put your product up there. This is the cheapest advertising you’ll get. No-one will ever read your script; get an artist and get them to draw it for you, preferably by paying them, since they are also working a couple jobs and are trying to get into comics. Meet people. Don’t be creepy. Talk to people on Twitter, on the forums, and at conventions. Did I mention, don’t be creepy? Advertise your work, be proud of it. Listen to criticism politely. Keep making your comics for free. Eventually, if you are good, someone will pay you. Though probably not enough to live on.
The panel also offered the base criteria for working in comics. Of the following traits — be very talented, be very timely, and be easy to work with — you must have two.
4. I noted the strong presence of women comics creators at ECCC. I already mentioned Christina Strain, Jen Van Meter, Corinna Bechko, Kate Beaton, and Colleen Coover. But I also saw or talked to Danielle Corsetto, Jill Thompson, Sarah Oleksyk, Dylan Meconis, Cat Ferris, and Erika Moen. (I was delighted to finally meet Erika in person. I was also delighted to find that PopCap Games was giving away copies of our comic, Plants vs. Zombies: Bedtime, as part of their promotional material at the convention.) Even if Girl Comics was not pointing out that women have careers in all levels and aspects of comic creation, walking around ECCC would be enough to make this clear.
In conclusion, I had a great time. Thanks again to everyone I met!
Email: sigrid @ fantasticfangirls.org