I spent this last weekend exhibiting at Anime Central (ACEN) and once more came back more invigorated about making comics than I've been in months.
Here's why...FOUR THINGS THAT MAKE AN ANIME CONVENTION WHAT A COMIC CONVENTION SHOULD BE1. GENUINE FAN ENTHUSIASM
Yes, part of what makes the fans at an anime convention enthusiastic is equal parts sugar and hormones, but damn if it isn't infectious. People who came to my table were excited to be there, but also desiring to be on the other side of the table some day, selling their own work, not just consuming, but wanting to create their own stuff. Of course I got a few "So, what do I need to do to work on NARUTO one day?" questions, but those were greatly overshadowed by the "How do I start doing my own stuff?" questions.2. WILLINGNESS TO DISCOVER
I made some serious bank at this con, more than at all the other conventions I exhibited at all last year (less last year's ACEN). Why? Because I met fearless fans who either (A) bought one of my books last year and came back for the rest, or (B) just decided to pick up something they liked the look of, even something that was fringe at this kind of convention. I did a ton of commissions the first day from fans making snap decisions that they wanted me to do something for them. And at comic conventions, I still get the "Oh, I don't read black and white books" as an excuse. Really, that's the best you've got?
The fans at these anime conventions are willing to take a chance, and even in these crap economic times, willing to put some money on the table.3. DIVERSITY OF FANS
Seems weird to have to bring this out as a remarkable point, but man, I love doing a convention that has some ethnic/age/sexual orientation diversity to it!
It just makes things stronger for all, and makes me realize how narrow-cast the mainstream comic market can become. And to see an environment where kids where teens can safely fly their freak flag in any direction they wish while surrounded by people and things that they love is really awesome to witness.
And not just teens, but adults, male/female and all points in between. It's all good.
I saw a marked increase in cross-dressing cosplay this year, and man, they BROUGHT IT WELL AND HARD. Great to see, on many levels.4. A KICK IN THE ARSE
Again, I walked away from this convention fired up to make stories, complete the stories I have in progress and just do, do, DO! Having to tell all those young artists that they need to work hard reflected nicely back on me, and reminded me to take that same advice. It also made me what to encourage others to demand this level of energy at the mainstream cons they go to. The programming, panels, Hell, one of the staff actually came around to offer me a hand made chocolate that was exquisite! Cheaper tables for artists! They close the vendor area a half hour before the Artist Alley area, to force fans to blow more money on art! This is a con that values the creators, and it's made this convention grow and grow over the years. I am back next year, no question, with new product. Period.
Thanks to the nice DeviantArt locals who stopped by to say hello and buy stuff. You made a kilted man's day!
You can check out my FLICKR set of photos here
Paul S. Sizer... the "S" stands for "Quality"!