Monday, March 9, 2009

STAPLE! 2009: Aftermath

[image: my point-of-view for the convention. More photos can be found on my flickr account and on Evan's account]

An interesting part of being in comics is the convention circuit, especially for those of us who are not established names. We run into a lot of issues that the pros haven't had to deal with in a long time. It's something you really don't read a lot about in those "How to Do Comics" books. Some shows are great from the drive to the convention center to the face plant on the bed at the end of the long weekend. Others are three days of constant, wretched abuse that lingers on for weeks afterward, making you ask why you even bother trying. On average, conventions are a mix of both sides of that equation. Like most things, there is a bit of good mixed in with the bad.

STAPLE! is great show for its size; and its size is part of why it's a great show. The show is big enough to bring in some really cool and creative people; but it is also small enough that you can actually get some time to talk to people. This is a great show for both fans and creators. Small-time guys can mix it up with the bigger names. STAPLE! especially does this well with its pre- and after- parties. The pre-party was a really relaxed and casual atmosphere. As an artist at a con, this is great because there is no way to talk to people at the actual convention. A comic convention is work, especially for those of us who pay to be there. With travel, table, and product costs, we can't afford to just stand around all day and talk to friends. And when i do talk to other creators, i try not to them too long because i know they're trying to do business as well. But the events before and after are really good at giving us a really relaxed atmosphere to just chat.

Though a great chance to talk to people, these events can really put things into a unique perspective. STAPLE! was not a Total Perspective Vortox, but it did give me a decent view of things. What i saw was a real clear indication of where I stand in the grand scheme of this industry. Though i was able to make some money at this show and had a good time with people, i could not shake this feeling of being out of place. It was as if i was a high school freshman who somehow got mixed in with the career professionals. This was especially poignant during dinner. Granted, these guys probably felt as awkward towards me as i do towards them. However, that really doesn't negate the fact that i recognize who they are and have seen their work on a national level; whereas a lot of times i feel like a glorified tracer. It's a real disheartening and crushing feeling; one that really followed me throughout the night. Combine that with getting lost going to the venue, the music being just a bit too loud, and the heat, i just wasn't in the right mindset to hang out at the after party. So i would like to apologize to everyone at the live art show for my distracted attitude towards you. I was the the point where i just wanted to go home and talk to a friend. I was able to alleviate some of that by hanging out with my sister (it was her birthday as well). Sadly the bar didn't carry any Irish cream so we couldn't do car bombs, but i think the shots of tequila were a good substitute. And finally getting on an art board helped for some reason. I didn't bring my A or B game and i was really struggling with it, but it was an odd cleansing process anyways.

For me, i feel that STAPLE! was a bit of a Pyrrhic victory. I had a good time with friends, i was able actually make some money, and i got to hang out with my sister for a bit. But what lingers around longer are the negatives. That sucks, but it's just how things roll in this industry. Conventions are weird beasts to handle. Sometimes they're great and do what you want them to do; sometimes they smell the fear on you and will go for the throat.

1 comment:

David said...

"Conventions are weird beasts to handle." I **COMPLETELY** agree. I was happy to see you in Austin, and I'm thankful for your friendship.

You make these beasts more bearable.