Convention Nerves

I’m heading out late this afternoon to Seattle in preparation for the Emerald City Comicon this weekend. Since it’s March Break at the college I thought I’d go a day earlier than usual and chill a bit with friends before the con.

Even though this is my ninth year convention-ing, I’m actually really nervous this time. For the past eight years I’ve been heading to conventions as a Project Manager guy for UDON. It’s been an incredible experience and I’ve made lifelong friends along the way. Even still, my role has been almost entirely organizational. I’m the guy double checking hotel bookings, making sure product gets shipped, reminding artists to be at the booth and answering questions from people who want to know where the latest product is at. With certain special things like the Tribute books I’d autograph copies and occasionally someone would bring by a copy of the Makeshift Miracle book for me to sketch in but, overall, it’s been about setting up other people’s stuff and not being at the forefront.

When I pitched the Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki mini-series and Capcom went for it, I was thrilled. I knew that in the summer 2011 there would be a cool trade paperback with my writing in it. When Image gave the green light to Skullkickers, I was shooting the moon. I thought we’d have the mini-series collected and that would be that. Now, instead, I’m going to be at the Image booth launching the collected first volume and we’re cranking away on the 2nd story arc.

For most people this will be their first exposure to me and the work. For most pros this will also be the first time they’re seeing me as a writer. It feels a bit like I’m starting over; It’s the same convention season but I’m attacking it from a completely different angle.

Are people going to like the book?
With so many things happening at the con, will anyone care?
Will it sell?
Will other creators be cool?
Will the social stuff be different (better/worse)?

Everyone seemed really nice at New York Comicon, so I think it will go okay, but my anticipation is a bit stomach-knot-inducing.

I’ve been doing this for years, it shouldn’t feel like I’m heading to prom in a pastel-coloured suit.

Creator-owned comics are riding such a razor’s edge right now. Our sales numbers are good given the current state of the industry, but hellishly low given profitability. Every dime we’re currently making (and a bit more out of my own pocket) is supporting the art team to keep the book afloat. Lots of people are talking about creator-owned stuff right now but no one knows where it’s going. We’re launching the trade and then get to see how it goes. Creator-owned anxiety.

Working on this series really is a labour of love… and, in turn, I want people to love it. Simple, eh?

I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m losing my mind a bit. I just want the weekend to go well.

Wish me luck.

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