The 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con marks my 10th year attending comic-book conventions, both as a creator and a fan. My first show was the SPX (Small Press Expo) back in 1998 in Bethesda, Maryland, if memory serves, when Rich Henn and I were first pumping our comic book, Timespell. But at our first show we didn?t even have the first issue yet. We were selling mini-comics, these little teaser comics to drum up interest for when the issue finally came out.
Many years?and miles?have passed since thoThe 2007 Baltimore Comic-Con marks my 10th year attending comic-book conventions, both as a creator and a fan. My first show was the SPX (Small Press Expo) back in 1998 in Bethesda, Maryland, if memory serves, when Rich Henn and I were first pumping our comic book, Timespell. But at our first show we didn?t even have the first issue yet. We were selling mini-comics, these little teaser comics to drum up interest for when the issue finally came out.
Many years?and miles?have passed since those early days. I attended the SPX almost every year for the first few years with Rich, but he was the real road warrior, also going to shows in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, as well as a host of other local shows. And I?m sure I?m missing quite a few others. And then, of course, he started heading out the San Diego Comic-Con with his new book, Zoomies.
And through all those shows, packing up the car with boxes of books and fliers and posters, Rich has really become quite the wizard at creating a snazzy booth experience that you just don?t see all that often. God bless Henn, that little maniac, because through his time and effort and experimentation, I?ve started to pick up on a bunch of booth marketing that I?m sure I wouldn?t have come up with on my own.
When you go to these shows, and you see what other creators do at their booths, some are impressive, some less so, but rarely are they as well put together and impressive?without publisher backing?than what Rich does. Because of his 15 years in the printing business, he knows how to create a slick, eye-grabbing 6-foot poster promoting his books. And besides the poster, you have to hang it up somehow. These mini-walls don?t come with your booth. If you want to hang a poster, you have to supply the stand. And you need the proper hooks and attachments and baseboards and collapsible stands and display cases to do so. There’s so much it can drive you nuts!
And while I used to help Rich with all this back in the Timespell days, it?s been a few years since I was in the throes of it, and even then, Rich was doing all the planning. He already had all the equipment, which just doesn?t appear out of thin air. That means that for every one the items I just mentioned?plus a mini DVD player to play trailers from the videos he directed, power strips and battery back-ups and the remote control?he had to realize that he didn?t already have them, but needed them. Which often comes from being at one show, thinking?damn, if only I had this or that?and then running out and getting them for the [i]next [/i]show.
Being back behind the booth at Baltimore, and San Diego before this?this time not just to help Rich with Timespell but to promote Finders Keepers, my book?it’s amazing to see that Rich had already taken care of this amazing supply of materials that I just didn?t have to think about, deal with or pay for. So I get to learn off the pain and suffering of others! Sweet!
And being there during these shows with Rich Koslowski has also been a good learning experience for me, as he has his own style of manning the booth, with his own little kit of supplies?like a Swiss army knife (which comes in quite handy for box cutting and the like), as well as a supply of Sharpie markers, double-sided tape and Velcro matting. Again, all things I wouldn?t have thought to bring. And he’s a bit of a ball busting sonuvagun, so that keeps things fun!
Being at the show is great. But putting the booths together, getting yourself ready to greet the fans, is one big pain in the you know what. It takes planning and coordination. It is its own brand of madness, and one of the best parts for me is being able to share the madness with great guys like Rich Henn and Rich Koslowski, who not only have their own process down to a science (albeit sometimes a weird science), but are fun and trustworthy (except when we’re torturing each other with practical jokes and a constant barrage of ball-busting). We don?t have to worry about getting screwed over because as much as we?re individually responsible for our own contributions, we?re in it together. We share booths because it?s a team that works. And from my experience, that?s rare. They tell me the same thing.
It’s grate for me to be learning from these guys. Without them, my road with Finders Keepers would be much more difficult and a lot less fun. And as I define my own style along the way, when the day comes when I?ll have my own supply of books ready for the fans–bring it … bring it … in many ways I?ll have Rich and Rich to thank for it. Ball busting and all.
Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/09/12 12:03
Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2007/09/13 07:17