For those who follow me across the social medias, you may have noticed I spent the past weekend exhibiting at the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con with my buddy and inker extraordinaire, Chris Arrocena. I returned home with a few less books, a few more pounds (so much sumptuous food!), and had a wonderful time meeting new creator friends and a handful of independent comics enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the convention itself was not without its fair share of inadequacies. Some of the blemishes could have been avoided, some were beyond their control. More on that later.
On Friday the convention floor was open from 3 pm to 8 pm, allowing VIPs and others to get their bearings. Saturday was by far my busiest day sales-wise which was most likely affected by the 10 am to 7 pm hours of operation. On Sunday, the final day of the show, families attended in droves to have their children get a picture with a Power Ranger or saunter from toy booth to toy booth. Unsurprisingly, my picture book The World’s Crummiest Umbrella was the day’s top-seller. Thank you to the folks who took the time to stop by the booth, chat about my work, and purchase some of my wares!
I certainly don’t want to dwell on the negative, but the convention itself felt underwhelming and poorly organized. Maybe it was due to my discomfort in extreme heat. Maybe it was my increasing age-inspired misanthropy. Either way, there were foibles galore. The programming schedule was nowhere to be found and the floor layout was so difficult to navigate that several people who came specifically to support our table vocalized their frustrations with trying to locate us. I saw several members of the security team patrolling the floor, which was great, but the show was surprisingly bereft of any official staff.
While obviously beyond the control of the convention, I’ve witnessed a disturbing trend at the larger-scale conventions. Focus has shifted away from indie creators to a staggering interest in collectibles and fan art prints (which are 100% illegal). My pal Brian Fies espoused sentiments regarding the latter I wholeheartedly agree with in a recent post on his site:
I think true fan art is terrific. A kid who loves Iron Man and draws up little pictures, stickers and stuff to sell for a buck a piece is technically violating copyright but should be left alone. They’re expressing their passion for the character. I like passion.
Likewise, comics professionals who’ve made a living drawing these characters should get a pass. Neal Adams defined the look of Batman in the 1970s and for generations to follow. As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Adams can draw and sell all the Batmen he wants.
That’s not what’s going on here. These print peddlers are big commercial operations. They’re not in it for the love of characters or stories, they’re in it because the prints sell. And unlike fandom, booth space at conventions is a zero-sum game. There’s only so much real estate. These big guys crowd out others doing original art with characters and stories they actually created.
It’s hard to feel sorry for giant corporations that own Superman and Indiana Jones. That doesn’t make violating their copyright OK. I don’t think these print emporiums are good for comics, conventions, creators or fans, and I’d really like to see cons crack down on them, maybe with a little encouragement from the true copyright holders and their scary lawyers. Make room for new creative voices producing original material. That’s the real life-blood of the industry and art form.
For this and other creative reasons I am making the following announcement exclusively here: Unless I am invited as a guest—and let’s be honest, this isn’t bound to occur any time soon—I will no longer be exhibiting at larger comic conventions. Instead, I will be focusing on book fairs where my particular storytelling may be better received.
A NEW DECADES REVIEW!
Moving on to more enthralling news, the sensational Sirens of Sequentials published a new review of Decades of (in)Experience as of May 29th, 2019. Reviewer, and Siren-in-chief CJ Pendragon, had this to say about the webcomic:
Decades of (in)Experience is not a bit of light reading before bed but it is an introspective narrative full of sociopolitical commentary, hierarchy questioning and wanderlust. I loved it.
I recommend Decades of (in)Experience to those who can stomach being taken by surprise by a multitude of sensitive topics. Schumacher doesn’t tiptoe around them or soften the blow, he deals them up in a realistic and relatable manner that’s refreshing in a sea of kid-gloved comics.
Read the write-up in its entirety here.
That’s all for now, folks!