Monday, September 22, 2014

Rose City Pix

Had a good time, met some nice people, saw some good stuff--but didn't sell much at all. We did get to sit near the Batmobile, tho' sadly this did nothing to boost sales--even when I added in an Adam West caricature. Dang!







22 comments:

JMG said...

Had fun I see

MrGoodson2 said...

Very good, off the top of the head, caricature of Adam West.
You probably have to spend money to make money. Some day you'll have to blitz san diego comiccon.

Great drawings and on the spot caricature creativity. One of us needs to step off and start our own party-time caricature business. I've heard there is a lot of moolah involved.

I'm not even going to say "Wish I could be there." You know better at this point. I'm super risk averse to wasting money.

Good shot of Rick. He's obviously ready for high pressure sales action.

And the Batmobile. Black with red piping. Gorgeous, though I doubt it is actually a Barris original Batmobile.

MrGoodson2 said...

Looks like some great banners and stands behind Rick. Did you go through Vistaprint? I love my stand and banner. I want dozens of them. Redecorate with them.

Oafcan is coming up. I'll get to use mine again.

MrGoodson2 said...

You Con Table Jockeys will appreciate this article. Is it bottom line worthwhile to endure the expense of Cons. By the wife of artist Dave Dorman

Rickart said...

Wow... that Dorman article is really making the rounds! I have a number of thoughts about that, not the least of which is that perhaps it isn't cosplay that's the problem but that Dorman's style/subject matter is falling out of style (to be honest I've never really cared for it myself). In the past Marty and I have sat next to people who have done pretty great business... but they know their market and have found a niche. I think web cartoonists are doing pretty well because they have built up a following on the web, people who want to met the creator and buy something personal and unique. I think webcomics are probably the best way to do it... that or a willingness to do prints of your take on other people's/company's popular IP.
We did have fun... it's always great to spend a few days with Marty, and I had an awesome dinner with a couple of Seattle friends. We didn't have a great location and I think that there needs to be a maturation of the market in Portland. RCCC hasn't been going for very long and I think it takes time for people to attend a con like this and realize that there's lots of cool stuff on sale... and hopefully the next year they will remember to bring a wad of cash.

For ECCC I'm going to do some prints that are going to be gag cartoons based on the most popular stuff of the day. Hopefully that will pay for the table and then some. I'm also going to do a Creeple sketchbook. That's the plan right now, anyway. What are you going to be selling at our table, Ellis?

Tom Moon said...

Dave Dorman's art is not my favorite either, but still, his realistic style is technically sound and his subject matter is of popular IP's. You would think that he could always turn a reasonable profit from these things where there are so many thousands of fantasy fans passing by. The fact that he can't is not encouraging news.

Tom Moon said...

I read both the Denise Dorman article and the comments and replies she got. She is taking a lot of flak from people because it sounds like she is blaming cosplayers for ruining the Cons for professional creators. But as she makes it clear in subsequent replies, what she is really saying is that the Con has become a social gathering where people's interest is in the cosplayers rather than a commercial event where people go to buy things from comic creators. She actually professes an admiration for the cosplayers craft. I re-read Denise's article carefully (you have to parse the wording very carefully) and have decided that the worst she is guilty of is letting some jealousy leak out in the way she phrases things. The headline "Is Cosplay Killing Comic-Con?", a title not chosen by her, puts just enough of a spin on it to skew the reading of the article.

Rickart said...

Marty: Yes, Dorman's work is solid, but I suspect that his style isn't as well aligned with what SW fans are looking for right now. The con art that I see selling is the IP mash-up stuff (like Ironman with a Boba Fett helmet), idiosyncratic takes on beloved IP (like the Bruce Lee poster you bought) and niche genre (like stuff that the young ladies who sat next to us at ECCC this year had). Dorman's style isn't terribly unique or edgy, and he just does straight up Star Wars stuff in a very traditional manner.

Tom Moon said...

What were the women next to you selling that was popular?

Rickart said...

Softcore gay centaur comics and posters.

Rickart said...

Softcore gay centaur comics and posters.

Tom Moon said...

That sounds like a punchline.

MrGoodson2 said...

Softcore gay centaur comics and posters- with the right kind of management could grow until Time - Warner buys them out for a billion.

Davis Chino said...

OK, I am finally back and able to comment on all of this (tho' I see Rick addressed a comment to me that I think came from a Tom Moon question?).

Read the article, appreciated its candor--and the insights certainly help us make a little more sense of this shifting landscape that Rick and I have waded into these last couple years...particularly interesting to read some of the reader comments, many of which come from Artist Alley participants, many of whom speak from a similarly newbie level of involvement in the Con World (and they also share me n' Rick's low status!--ie., no hi-profile titles/books).

One thing that leaps out at me is this idea of "promotion" vs. "pure selling," (should have a better term there, but you get the idea). These Cons--esp'ly the bigger ones--seem better suited to promotion of yr product (or even just yrself). They don't seem to bring a lot of high-dollar transactions any more. Lots of scapegoats have been fingered for this--complaints about Cosplay or the heavy schedule of celebrity signings/panels--but I think the shift going on is much bigger & broader.

A couple (tentative) conclusions:

1. These days, the biggest Cons primarily attract people who are not interested in buying comic books.

2.
Therefore, the target audience for anyone not selling pop-culture themed merch. or a name title (like BATMAN) is at best going to consist of only 10-20% of the gate!

3. The trick comes in finding a way to get that 10-20% of the masses to your booth (this is where something like Emerald City's "Monsters & Dames" charity book is very helpful--tho' it is only helpful at getting people to your booth--Rick and I noticed very few of the near-constant stream of M&D book-buyers coming to ask for our autographs end up buying anything.)

And if no one is buying, then what is the point of buying a table and traveling to these far-off places...?

I think it must be promotion.

So, what's effective promotion in this set-up? Is it simply getting people to remember yr name/art? Is it getting people to sign up for your e-newsletter/fan page 9nd therefore bolster yr cred with a publisher via a sizable online following?)? Is it getting people to the URL of yr online comic or website? And then hopefully migrating them to fandom/followerhood, and who will then, in time, either (1) order a collection of yr work via the web, or (2) seek you out at the next Con and pay some $ for a book/drawing/photo op (just kidding about the last one--except in Ellis's case)...?

I am prepping for A.P.E. Con in San Francisco next weekend, and I am thinking of handing out a FREE comic book sampler (with e-newsletter signup) to anyone who wants one, and just writing off the cost as a promotion. I'll have a sketchbook for sale, and I can do drawings--but I think I might channel the Chili Peppers and just, "Give it away, give it away, give it away YEAH!" and see if I can't build some kind of following/fan-base that way.

Thoughts?

Davis Chino said...

re: softcore gay centaurs, and other mentions of the gay art imagery @ these Cons: wtf, huh?? More surprising is the cute-sy, almost non-sexual way it's presented--it's not a signifier of a seller of "erotica"--it's more like romance tales (mainly aimed at young girls?) where the protagonists are semi-femme'd boys in love with each other...? Again, wtf?? But it's popular!

And specifically on Rick's and my tablemate from ECCC, and her gay centaur/1870's western comic: I bought and read the young lady's full graphic novel--and it wasn't graphic. In fact, not even gay--at least not explicitly, at least not in this first volume--tho' the simmering undercurrent, whether real or imagined, is what gave the narrative its forward...thrust).

OOF!

But this is a growing trend--it's been showing up everywhere, and at this show (Rose City) it was almost endemic. And usually done by girls, often seemingly gay girls....

...but yeah--how can you compete with prints of Kirk and Spock kissing? (I know that stuffs been around forever--I remember someone doing a report on it when I was in college--before the internets!!!)

Davis Chino said...

The lady in question:

Toril (yes!) Orlesky, author of HOTBLOOD!

http://hotbloodcomic.com/

Rickart said...

I don't think you are wrong, Marty. building up a fan base is critical... something that our centaur neighbors had clearly done (people where LOOKING for them at the con). the best business that Marty and i did at this year's ECCC were repeat customers from the previous year.
it's a bit ironic that if you look at all of the conventional wisdom concerning webcomics it's the notion that you give away your comic "for free" online and make your money selling stuff, mostly at cons. Marty seems to almost be saying the opposite.

Davis Chino said...

Hmmm...maybe I got it all backwards!

Tom Moon said...

I like the idea of "giving your comic away free" via the internet. Your comic can potentially reach millions of people at almost zero cost to you. But when someone tries to hand me a free comic at a Con, I almost never take it. And even when I do, I perceive the comic as almost worthless because of its "free-ness". Unless it's something by a well-known creator it just feels like so much junk in my hand that I have to carry around and it soon goes in the trash.

Rickart said...

Royden says he likes to have a little something to give away (like bookmarks)... he says it attracts people to his table and can lead to a sale.
I think that charging a buck for my post cards, or getting it for free if they gave me an email address, was useful in getting more emails... it gave the postcard a perceived value rather than just being a free hunk of junk.
Marty, If I were you I would consider doing a half size ashcan version of your comic that only uses pencils or is otherwise an incomplete version of your comic and selling it for a few bucks... that might be a good way to build up anticipation for the final book plus make a little money to offset the printing costs.

MrGoodson2 said...

I think Marty thinks through things really well. But I have to agree with Tom. Don't give your books away. What really follows on from there?

To get a following, you probably have to get 10 issues of a hot mainstream publisher to get any kind of play with the crowd wanting to invest in the new top tier you.

That's what they want. The extra specialness of art bought from someone that did that run of Batman they really dug.

Whereas the free webcomics. (Free to you too. That's important.) That could get some heat going into a con. People that want anthologized what they could only bring up an url at a time before.

Davis Chino said...

Thanks fer the suggestions, dudes. I think y're right--I'll charge 'em SOMETHING.

I'm working on finding the absolute cheapest printing method...think I'm almost there.