I’ve been going to comic conventions as a guest for a long time now. The first one I attended was Fallcon back in…2005? I remember working on Uptown Girl #7 at the convention and met my pal Albert Nguyen there. To my surprise I actually sold some comics that day. Actually, that surprise doesn’t change much…I am still surprised when I sell comics. At any rate, after my first convention I started to get emails from people who read the comic and wrote in to say they liked it.
My first fans.
But to be honest, I have never been comfortable calling anyone who buys, reads or likes my comic my fan. I am not entirely sure why…maybe because I have a rampant ego (I really do) and wanted to keep it in check and if I started thinking that I had fans that I would start…I don’t know, buying into it and elevating myself above others. I don’t think I’m wrong in worrying about this as I did let my ego get the best of me years ago.
But I suppose if I am being honest, I do have fans. I compromise with saying that I personally don’t have fans, but Uptown Girl does.
At any rate, yesterday was Fallcon. I can’t say it was a great convention year if I measure it by sales. Having the next Uptown Girl book delayed certainly isn’t helping and I’ve been too busy with trying to wrap that up, keep up on The Retros and the rest of life to try to put out a new one-shot. But if I look at the conventions in other ways, this was a great convention season. I spent more time sketching in notebooks than selling books, more time talking to people abut comics than making money off of them. I sent my days talking not to fans, but to friends. I realized that the real reason I am not comfortable with the term is that I can’t call anyone my fan. I think of you as my friend. I have thought of you that way for a long time. I’ve known many of you for years and years. It was at my second convention when I met Susan and Mark. That was ten years ago. I’ve seen your kids grow up and go from stroller to cosplay. You share with me the other sketches you’ve gotten from other artists at the convention. We talk about our families, our lives, almost anything but comics. But we do talk about comics, don’t we? Everything from what is happening in Wonder Woman to what the next Retros story arc will be like and the epic-ness of the last Uptown Girl story. Spoiler: the epilogue of it will be titled “My Life Would Suck Without You”.
Cartooning is a lonely thing. I am never entirely sure what people will enjoy or what’s working or which characters people like. It’s really, really awesome to hear what you are saying about the comics I make. What did you like? What’s funny? Was it surprising when (fill in the blank) happened? Your reactions, opinions and feedback help tremendously. When you worry about a character it tells me that those characters are connecting with you…that they’re working for you. When you asked for that drawing of Volcanix it made me realize that people actually liked/like him. When you suggested the title for the upcoming Retros print collection it told me that yes, you do read the comic. When you gave my friend an aspirin for their headache it felt like you two knew each other for years.
Part of me thought about skipping Fallcon (not really) this year because I knew I’d end up buying more than I sold. And that’s exactly what happened. But I wanted to go. I wanted to see you. And you were there. It was awesome. Like I said, drawing is lonely and I appreciate your friendship, your reading my comic and stopping by to visit. It would have been a lonely day if you weren’t there. Without you, I really don’t know if I’d still be doing comics. I love drawing comics but I think if people weren’t reading my stuff, it’d be hard to keep at this.
And just to add some art into this wordy post, here’s a panel I inked at the convention for the upcoming Retros arc.