Comic Con San Diego 2016 Reflections
This year was my fourth year attending San Diego Comic Con. I first attended in 2010, then again in 2014, 2015 and then 2016. My first time in 2010 was a part of a road trip and a huge whirlwind experience; my first time in California, first time in Los Angeles, first time in San Diego, first time DRIVING to Las Vegas and so on. All this in a rental car because my actual car broke down in Medford, Oregon (I'll always remember the name of the city Medford thanks to "Double Indemnity"; unfortunately no one IN Medford ever said to me "I'm a Medford man..."). Maybe one day I'll write a long article about it but for now...2016!
2016 Comic Con in San Diego was the best one yet for me personally! I got over some of my fears and insecurities, got to hang out with some amazing people and spread the word about "The Supers" project! Also it was an emotional, soul-searching kind of trip, as I was at one point actually re-considering this whole comic book thing but then not long after, more determined than ever to get this sucker done! It was quite the emotional ride!
I love attending panels at Comic Con. I'm not a Hall H guy...I figure whatever exclusive footage they show there will be online soon after. It's usually my routine at night after getting back to my hotel...check out that day's new trailers online, then go to bed. I'm not a line-up-for-autographs kind of guy. Even at smaller cons when it's not that busy, I generally leave "celebrities" alone (although I did get to meet some AWESOME celebrities at this con...more about that later...).
But again, I love panels! I love learning things at comic cons. I tend to gravitate towards panels such as "Comic Book Law School" and writer's panels...I always take notes and get inspired. At so many panels this year, I would get a sudden inspiration after a simple comment by someone on the panel, then I would type it all into my "Notes" on my iPhone. Lots and lots of notes for future issues of "The Supers." It's a wonderful, creative, energetic atmosphere to be around. So why, at one point, was i ready to give this all up?
I attended the panel for Diamond Distribution. They were very encouraging to people, asking who in the crowd wanted to self-publish their own books and wanted to have it distributed through Diamond and a bunch of us put our hand up. These two guys seemed really cool, genuinely loved comic books and wanted to help others accomplish their goals. Then they changes slides on their power point presentation and the subject was "What NOT to do if you want to be distributed by Diamond...NO SUPER HEROES!" I was, of course, flattened, like I'd been struck by a speeding train. Or a powerful bullet, one of the two. They explained that since DC and Marvel and others were focusing on Super Hero comics, then you shouldn't bother, cause they have the market cornered. They were nice about it and said "This isn't a set-in-stone rule, but for the most part..." so the door was left open for a really good, eye-catching super hero project. But it was a slim chance.
This wasn't the first time I'd heard this...in fact many people had told me not to do a Super Hero comic book. But for some reason THESE GUYS made it ring through my ears. Why bother? This project isn't THAT great to be the exception to the rule...nothing I do will ever be THAT great. And I didn't necessarily want to cry or get really upset...I took the news quite well, I think. I smiled and exhaled and thought to myself..."Oh well, it was fun while it lasted." Also "Should I even bother finishing the book?....should I just call it quits now?"
But then a couple of things happened...I had printed off about 200 postcards featuring "The Supers" and dropped about 50 off the first day at the "Free Table" inside the Sails Pavilion. I walked by later on, around noon as I was heading to a panel on the otherside of the Convention Center and I notices all my postcards were gone. I asked the man in charge if he had put them out and he said yes and they were the most popular postcards at the table and asked if I had more with me. I said no but I had more back at the hotel and would bring more the next morning. I did that and all four days, the same thing happened...they would quickly be snatched up by people and the whole stack would be gone by noon. So that felt good.
Then I went to a panel called ".Insights for Independant Creators" that was moderated by Charlotte McDuffie Fullerton (wife of one of my writing heroes, Dwayne McDuffie and quite a great writer herself!) and on the panel was a friend of mine, Hannibal Tabu, so it was a no-brainer for me. Also on the panel was a writer/artist named Russell Nohelty (@russellnohelty on Twitter)...he took over the panel, and was quite adament about EVERYTHING he said. I kinda was worried he was coming off a bit rude at first, but then I slowly realised he was just intense and incredibly passionate about what he was talking about. Later, he became even more intense and said (going off memory, this is what I remember he said) "I made a graphic novel, ten years ago, it put me $10,000 in debt. But then I made a second graphic novel, and it put me another $10,000 in debt. But then the books got around, I went to comic cons with them, I got to meet people and opportunities came from that. Sure I was $20,000 in debt, but who cares about that? And right now, today in 2016, I am at San Diego Comic Con, on a PANEL, with published books and more work coming my way. So my point is, MAKE YOUR BOOK! MAKE YOUR GRAPHIC NOVEL! MAKE YOUR COMIC BOOK! It might take ten years but you'll get to be on a panel at comic con and be working in the industry! Trust me, it's worth it!"
Now, I was rejuvenated! I wanted to run up and hug him but I didn't cause he was still intense and kinda scary but he had said exactly what I needed to hear! Really, in this life we live today, when aren't we going to be in debt? If I don't finish this book, I might not have as much debt in ten years but I will have regret and wonder about "what if?"
So hopefully The Supers will be finished soon, books will be printed and after you are done reading this you will be able to purchase The Supers #1. Cause this book is going to be completed. Not just because I want to...Cause I HAVE TO!