Tagged: comicon

Molly Jackson: Autograph Dilemmas

autographsIt’s the fall con season! I love this time of year. It seems like there is a con every weekend and I can finally wear hoodies again. I really love wearing my hoodie while hanging with people on con lines. This past weekend was Baltimore Comic-Con, where I was sadly not hoodie in attendance but check out Emily Whitten’s recap! Over the weekend at BCC, what seemingly started as a small conversation eventually grew into a larger one on the Internet: Should comic creators be charging for their autographs?

It is a tricky conversation. A lot of people, including fans and creators, have very strong opinions on the matter. Many creators and fans think that charging is asking too much of fans, while others remark that charging for autographs is wildly done by many celebrities and no one complains.

The big argument seems to be that the creator already got paid when the book was bought and asking for autographs is too much. However, unless the book was bought at the show, the creator still needs to pay for a table and for attendance.

The other issue in all of this is the monetary gain for fans. Autographs add value to the book for the owners. Some creators only charge if they are signing for a CGC graded book; others charge for a large stack. In either case, the books signed might be resold for a higher price.

If I want their signature, it will cost me in some way. Every time I run for a signing ticket or sit in a line for multiple hours, it is costing me something. Time or money; I prioritize what it is worth to me. The same goes for the creator. They do not have to spend their time at a table in a smelly, loud, poorly ventilated, non-temperature-controlled convention hall. They determined why it was important for them to miss out on other things to pay for a table to be there.

Creators and fans have a symbiotic relationship. Creators give fans entertainment and fans give creators support. Yes, there is a monetary aspect. Fans buy product from creators. In fact, this is something I strive to do. If there is a book I want and I know I’ll see the writer or artist at a con, I do wait to buy the book. It seems like the right thing to do, plus I get the added bonus of telling someone how much I appreciate their work.

In the end, I guess I’m taking the non-committal way out from this conversation. Each creator should do what works best for them. As a fan, I will find a way to make it work for me. I am curious on everyone’s take though; what side of the fence are you on?

Mike Gold’s Off To See The Wizard


I haven’t done as many comics conventions this year as I usually do. By the end of 2015, I think I will have been to maybe five. That’s less than half of what I did a decade ago.

It’s not that I don’t like comics conventions; in fact, I love them. Most of the larger shows really aren’t about comics. They are pop culture shows, much like ComicMix is a pop culture website. We differ in that ComicMix is a pop culture website for comic book enthusiasts and the comics medium is our focus. ReedPop, to note but one, runs clusterfuck shows in New York, Chicago, Seattle, India (several; it’s a big place), Singapore, Sydney, Paris, Indonesia, Vienna, and probably Mongo. These shows have little to do with comics, the ReedPop staff acts like they wouldn’t know a comic book if it bit them on the ass and probably wouldn’t get my Mongo reference without Googling, and they seem as though they couldn’t care less. If you’re real nice to them and try to explain to them a different point of view, they might actually patronize you. And among comics pros, mine is not a minority opinion.

Yeah. I know. There goes my chance at scoring pro invites to Mumbai. I’ve been to their shows; I’ll live.

So it’s probably a bit surprising that this weekend (Thursday though Sunday) I’ll be at Wizard World Chicago, which is really in Rosemont but next to O’Hare International. Yes, Wizard World is a pop culture convention. I’m going for any number of reasons: Chicago is my home town so it’s an excuse to see my many buddies in the midwest comics field, it is an outgrowth of the old Chicago Comicon which I co-founded and worked on for ten years, it really has a massive comics focus and one of the best Artists Alleys around… and because my pal and Wizard World consultant Danny Fingeroth asked.

For the record, ComicMix is at table #1024 at the show, and I’ll be on two panels: the How To Get News Coverage panel on Saturday at 12:30 that ComicMix is running , and the Chicago Comics History panel on Sunday at 12:30. Check the con schedule; these things have a way of changing. I’ll be sharing the stage with a great number of close friends.

And the food. Damn, I need an Italian beef sammich.

This is not the only big show I enjoy. For example, I love the Baltimore Comic Con and I love Heroes Con in Charlotte North Carolina. I also really enjoy the smaller cons that are oriented to independent comics creators such as MoCCA in New York City. These shows are full of people who couldn’t care less who’s drawing next week’s Spider-Man but love the medium every bit as much as… well, as I do. By and large they’re young and full of enthusiasm and they put their money where their mouths are. Over the years we’ve hired a decent amount of talent at these shows.

If you happen to be at Wizard World Chicago, or you happen to be in or near Chicago this weekend, drop by and say hello. We look at portfolios when we can, we’re usually polite and we only bite when we’re hungry.

Or when the moon is full.



Marc Alan Fishman: What To Do At A Bad Comic Con


San Diego Comic ConA week ago Unshaven Comics had the pleasure to attend a convention in flux. The promoters – good, honest people – take this show to several smaller town and cities across our neck of the woods over the course of the year. I won’t divulge their name, nor the specific towns. Suffice to say the con was more or less akin to the conventions of yore versus the now-typical megacon. A single space occupied mostly by vendors, with a solid dozen or so independent craftsmen, creators, and miscellaneous geek-adjacent business-folk.

To their detriment, the convention grew from a single day endeavor to two. In doing so the minimal crowds that came were basically split. Twice the days meant twice as much transportation costs with little in the way of measurable sales increases. And because I like to be fully transparent about the plight of the indie creator: we sold less books at this show than the same show put on for a single day back in December.

It was, to Unshaven Comics’ till, a bad show.

But I’m forever an optimist – looking for a silver lining even when I need not go through the motions. When a show is not up to snuff, what do you do if you’re there to make money? Some slash their prices and attempt to break even with their sunk costs. Others cut bait and go home early. Unshaven Comics subscribes to the “make lemonade” methodology. We dig our heels in, enjoy the few victories we get, and we use the time to make strides at future shows.

So, what of those few victories? For us this past weekend, it was being able to take the time to really get into a deep discussion with someone who bought our book. It was having the ability to produce some extra sketch cards to fill our sample books to entice future commissions. It was being able to get up and talk to plenty of the other artists and vendors in attendance and network. In doing that, I now have a pile of business cards with potential for adventures down the line; a podcast looking to have us on right when our future crowdfunding campaign launches, a vendor who will be able to produce us some amazing cosplay materials, another who can assist us in producing some affordable up-sell merchandise, and lastly an artist who committed to producing a pin-up for the aforementioned campaign. Now, I’d certainly call that a win in the face of a loss!

If I can digress fully (kinky, eh?), allow me to end on an anecdote that reassures me that my commitment to being an indie creator will always be about the journey not the destination. During the show, a little girl came poking around my side of the table, as I was coloring in a sketch card. “Excuse me. Could you please make me a Fennekin?” One quizzical look later, and her mother came to translate. Fennekin is a Pokemon, and her daughter wanted a sketch card. Money was exchanged, and I assured my li’l fan that it’d take about 45 minutes for me to complete it.

“May I please stay and watch you draw?” she cooed. Oy the feels! “Of course!” I exclaimed. She then stood, stiff as board, locked to my left side, not even a foot from my drawing board. I propped my iPhone up with a reference picture, and she helpfully tapped it “awake” anytime the display dimmed. Whilst I tinkered away at her card, she proceeded to tell me everything and anything I wanted to know about Fennekin.

When I finished the card, I happily handed it over. She beamed from ear to ear, and thanked me. She would never have cared about The Samurnauts. She wanted a piece of art of her favorite cartoon. I obliged. And in doing so, I know that for at least a little while… she will treasure something for far longer than it ever took me to make. It’s a small and important victory not for my ego… but for my spirit. The joy I see in my own son was reflected back in a girl who herself was likely only three years older than my own boy. This moment to her, will be one for Bennett in hardly a blink of an eye.

With a genuine moment like that to cherish, who am I to say it was a bad show at all?