October 28, 2011
I got to sleep a little later this day, staying in bed until the luxurious time of 7am before getting up and ready. I headed off to the Javits Center with a tinge of sadness, as I knew this would be the last day of what had been an immensely fun New York Comic Con. I didn’t have any panels lined up, so I knew I’d be able to make the most of my last day with lots of selling at the ComixTribe booth.
My only extended foray away from the table came when I attended the Jeff Lemire signing in the afternoon. I had arrived at Javits with a much lighter satchel bag on Sunday, having been able to leave the Joshua Hale Fialkov hardcover graphic novels and the massive pile of Scott Snyder comics at the hotel, and now all that was left was a few Jeff Lemire comics – Sweet Tooth #1, Animal Man #1 and #2, Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1 and #2. I’ve been a fan of Lemire’s since Sweet Tooth, and reading modern masterpiece Essex County took my appreciation of his talent to a whole new level. Combine that with the fact that, with Animal Man, he’s also writing one of the very best titles of DC’s New 52, and Lemire was the one guy left on my checklist of creators I really wanted to meet at NYCC.
With the massive queues I endured at the Snyder signings on the previous day, I dilligently showed up at the Top Shelf booth early, and asked where the queue for Jeff Lemire started. The bemused guy at the booth told me, “It can start with you.” Once Jeff arrived, I started gabbling at him about how I would have brought Essex County to get signed but couldn’t fit it in my suitcase, and how I’d convinced someone sitting behind me at the DC Dark panel to go and buy Animal Man #1 by showing them the copy I had in my bag. I don’t think he understood a word of my incomprehensible Glaswegian brogue, but he did smile and nod politely. I gave Jeff copies of The Standard #1 and #2, thus completing the trifecta of my favorite creators that I wanted to give my comic to. Having also given copies to Grant Morrison and Paul Cornell at earlier signings, this means that my top five favorite comic writers all theoretically have a copy of a comic I wrote in their possession, which in itself is a very rewarding feeling.
I’ll also take a brief aside to mention that the people at 215 Ink all rock. I didn’t get a chance to talk to them at length at any point over the course of NYCC, and I think they had an even harder time making out my accent than most, but they’re a talented bunch of creators, and I eagerly scooped up a couple of their titles on my travels.
Back at the booth, and I’m pleased to report that I was able to carry my momentum from the previous day over to Sunday. They say Sunday is often a very quiet day, slow for sales, but together we managed to make Sunday top even our performance on Saturday, and against the odds make it our most successful day for sales. There was one small thing that made a surprisingly huge difference. Each day, we had been inching our table a little further out, trying to lessen the effect of being overwhelmed by the massive China booths pressed against us. Well, on Sunday, at the time of the con floor opening to the public, the China exhibitors hadn’t even shown up, and all the tarps were still up on their booths, suggesting they wouldn’t be showing up on this last day. Tyler and I took advantage of this by bringing round an extra table from behind the booth, and sitting it out in front of our current table, creating a “corner” where we could display Tyler’s prints of Batman and Spider-Man at Yankee stadium. This had an amazing effect: loads of people that might have otherwise walked right on by were stopped in their tracks by this eye-catching print, now displayed prominently in full view of the show floor rather than hidden behind us. We sold loads of that print, and that in turn got people more interested in the rest of our output.
It was also fun to get a bunch of cosplayers interested in checking out our comics, and even have a few buying them. It’s a bit surreal when you’re standing next to Spider-Man, telling him about your comic, or you have Batman taking off his gloves so he can take money out of his utility belt to buy a ComixTribe package deal. But I think cosplayers are awesome. Screw that jerk from Men’s Fitness who made fun of them. It just creates a great party atmosphere when, for a few short days, you have people dressing up as fictional characters and walking around the streets of New York (or San Diego, or wherever), and having fun. I especially loved the couples who cosplayed together, particularly as complimentary characters: e.g. The Doctor and Amy, Green Arrow and Black Canary, The Joker and Harley Quinn. That right there is true love. I think that should be my litmus test for whether any future girlfriend is a keeper. But of course, the great downside of attempting to establish myself as a professional at cons is that there will be less of an opening to dress up in a silly spandex outfit at such events. Perhaps I should commission a Frying Scotsman costume for next year. Cosplayers, we salute you!
This last day flew by, and before we knew it, the announcements were blaring that Comic-Con was now closed for 2011. But that wasn’t going to stop me! I think I was still selling comics for a good 20 minutes after the show closed, catching people passing on their way out, or general stragglers. I had to live up to my “Sellin’ Scotsman” alias! The Standard really picked up steam on this last day, flying off our table at such a rate that, by the end of the day, I only had one copy of The Standard #1 first print edition left, and only small amounts of The Standard #2 and my NYCC exclusives. It was really exciting seeing my comic start to break out and get people interested enough to buy it, particularly on Sunday. Overall, I’d say The Standard was a big success at New York Comic Con, as was ComixTribe as a whole.
Just before we got ready to leave, Rich Johnston walked past our table. I made sure to call him over and thank him for publicising some of our titles and sending increased traffic our way over the course of the con. I’d given him The Standard on Wednesday, but we made sure to give him copies of all our other ComixTribe titles before he headed off.
With the con finished, we embarked on the tedious process of tidying up. Everything was packed away, and painstakingly hauled out from the show floor and back out to the car park, for Joe to load into his car. Once we were done with that, and I had said my goodbye to the Javits Center and New York Comic Con (until next year, hopefully!), Joe, Tyler and I made our way to the Pig & Whistle, where I had the best dinner I’d eaten in several days! It really felt like a victory meal, with the great con we’d all had. As a parting gift, I gave Tyler and Joe a copy each of The Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book One, upon learning to my horror that neither had ever read any of Moore’s Swamp Thing. In return, I was fortunate enough to grab copies of ComixTribe’s entire line – Scam, Runners, Epic, The Red Ten and Tears of the Dragon. After a great dinner, I said goodbye to Tyler and Joe – already creators I had a lot of respect for, but who over the course of the week I had become good friends with too – and headed back to my hotel.
New York Comic Con was a total blast, and I’d had one of the best weeks of my life. I was a bit sad knowing that tomorrow would be my last day in New York City, but I was also determined to make the most of it and end my trip on a high note.