As I prepare to leave for Spain on the 11th, I find myself slipping into what my wife calls, "Convention Mode."
It's a mix of excitement, trepidation, stress, and most of all, having a very thin skin.
See, I have a tendency to Cram before a show. I worry about the time spent away from Home, and from work. The time I will spend missing Stacie and the Kids, and the time I lose at the Drawing Table. I try to make sure that Stacie can come with me as much as she would like when I travel, but it's harder now that her Parents moved away at Retirement. So she comes when we can arrange childcare for the Brood. Funelly enough, I don't see her much during the day, because she is VERY busy turning the temperature in the Hotel room down to -20 celsius and crawling into the bed with a good book. Quiet. That's what she craves when she get's away. But we hang at night, at Dinners, and the bars with friends we only see a few times a year. So when she doesn't come with, I miss her so. BUT, It allows me to put my Game Face on and work. Because, make no mistake. Conventions are work. Maybe not for everyone( including me when I was a younger man) but it should be. You are there( In MY mind) to do several things.
1. Show up! Because in a LOT of cases, Show Promoters have paid for your travel and acommodations, so it's the least you can do is be at your table when the Show opens.
2. Press The Flesh! Again, that is what you are there to do. To meet, hang out and CONNECT with your Fanbase. This is an EVER increasingly important part of your Job as a Comic Book Creator.
3. NOT BE A DICK! Yes , I said it. Because I have witnessed this first hand many times. If you don't enjoy attending conventions and meeting the people who pay your Rent, then stay the Fuck Home!( barring the occasional fuck-up or bad mood because yer Human).
4. Make as many Fans experience with you, no matter how great or small, MEMORABLE. Most of these folks are spending a great deal of money to buy Plane Tickets, Hotel Rooms, Food, incidentals, and maybe even buying your Art, Prints and T-Shirts, so give them the time of Day. Treat them with the respect they deserve. Or stay Home.
5. Make yourself available to the Show Promoters( as much as is possible, because this is our Job and most guysNEED to be at their Table to make the $$ they would have if they were in the Studio). Do some Panels, interviews or just hang out , have a drink and thank them for bringing you out to the show.
6. Be nice to the kids. You know why, I don't think I have to explain this one.
I was supposed to do a panel at a show recently, and I don't recall what show it was. They all start to bleed into one after a while. Anyway, I was on the way to the Panel, and I was chatting with my Studio Mate about what to expect. Most times unless you are Jim Lee, there isn't a HUGE turn out. BUT, the people that ARE there, want to be. They are interested. So we hatched a plan: If there were just a small handful of Fans in attendance, we would invite them to leave the Conference room and have a Spot of Lunch, or a Drink at a Roundtable Discussion. So that's what we did. And guess what? It was the BEST panel I ever did. No pressure, just talking. Fans and Creators talking about what they love: Comics. And isn't that what it's all about?
MACON GA 2011