John Ostrander: The New Breed
Last weekend I was at the Detroit Fanfare (which is why I wasn’t here) and I enjoyed myself immensely. It’s a good Con, well organized, and they took good care of me. I had a chance to say hello to old friends like Bill and Nadine Messner-Loebs, Paul Storrie, Howard Purcell, Norm Breyfogle and others and make new friends like Whilce Portacio. And, of course, talk with fans and sign books and stuff which, for me, is the main reason I go. I love meeting and talking with fans and having a chance to say “thank you” for their support.
I was ferried there and back by my cohorts in Unshaven Comics – Marc Alan Fishman (my esteemed fellow ComicMix columnist), Matt Wright, and Kyle Gnepper (the cute one). Marc drove and we blathered together in a wonderful fashion.
Da Boys (as I refer to them and, being from my home town of Chicago, they’ll understand) are indie comics creators, notably of the Samurnauts (which you can learn about and buy at their website here and they make the rounds of Cons, setting up shop, and hawking their wares at their booth. They do nearly a dozen a year and FanFare was the last one for 2013.
They were in a separate but adjacent ballroom to mine so I would touch base with them throughout the show and we had eats together. At the end of the Con, I wandered over while they broke it all down and packed it up. I was really struck with how organized they were and how compact it all became. Da Boys really know their stuff. Their book is wonderful but they also have a better business sense than I did at that time or have even perhaps now.
They sell their books, sure (and go buy them at the site) but I saw buttons and posters and cards at the table and they did (and do) sketches and so on. I looked around the room, which was mostly Indie folk, and this was a trend. My friend, Paul Storrie, who was nearby, also has a very professional set-up.
I don’t know but I suspect this is a trend among the younger creators. I suspect they wouldn’t sneer at work from the Big Companies but they have their own creations that they own and that they are hard at work selling.
You should also read Marc’s column from yesterday. Yes, I’m very flattered by the kind words directed at me – although if they eat with me a few more times I suspect they’ll get over the novelty – but what I was really struck by was how they evaluate which Con to go to. They know the numbers in terms of what they sell, of the costs of going to a certain con, the bottom line of each venture. They factor in the time away from family and having to go to their day jobs. They – and I suspect the other Indie creators – know their business far better than I did when I was their age. Hell, I’m not sure I had started writing comics when I was their age.
I salute them and I intend to support them. This is the future of comics, boys and girls. This is where the really good stuff, the fresh and exciting stuff, is coming from. So I’m going to urge you, next time you go to a con, to seek out Unshaven Comics and the other Indie producers, look at what they’re doing, sample the books, get the buttons, and be a part of something that is alive and vital in the comics industry.
As another innovator in the field was known to remark, ‘Nuff Said.
MONDAY MORNING: Mindy Newell
TUESDAY MORNING: Emily S. Whitten