Well, they're over. Both Ashland Highlanders Herocon and Cincy Comicon are in the rearview mirror. I wish I could tell you they were rousing successes. But the truth is somewhere a little lower than my expectations.
Don't get me wrong. I had a great time at both. Got to see some friends. Got to look at a lot of different comics. But the books weren't flying off my table.
I kind of expected that.
As far as the Ashland Con goes, I did better than most there. Got to sell some art, Did my first commission. But the con itself was flawed. It was a fundraiser for the Museum and that's what its intention was. I don't think they advertised it as well as they did last year. I didn't see anyone who bought off me last year which was something I was expecting. I didn't expect the same amount of sales. I'm sure some who bought it may not have liked it enough to buy the conclusion. I can respect that. Traffic was way down from last year. Throughout the con, excuses kept coming in for the low turnout. I had a few myself. But whatever the reason, it was what it was. My hope it that the organizers need to understand you just can't say you're doing a con and expect a good turnout. Those that pay for tables are not only paying for the space, but putting in our time to make a nice show. When there's not enough feet on the floor, you can't expect us to return. Something I'm considering and I know three other exhibitors are not returning.
Cincy Comicon was another story. This was a big con with a lot of comic buying people in attendance. But the amount of competition there was intense. Most cons you have a 50/50 split of comic retailers and self publishers/artists on the main floor (not even factoring in the pros who were also there taking money). Here there was at least a 75/25 split with the majority being creators. That's a lot to decide where your money goes. I understand. I'm on the other side of the table too. But I was hopeful that my 110 page full story would have attracted more readers. Truth of the matter is, those that stopped were both cordial and complimentary. A purchase was made. But on the whole, my table was passed over for whatever reason. Thought I had a nice setup. MOst of my friends were baffled why I didn't have more business. I was happy though. The very fact I made it to a con like that with this project made me happy. It was my accomplishment. My book wasn't refused because those that opened it didn't like it. I was just simply left on the shelf without consideration. That's not failure. That's just a missed opportunity. Something I hope I can figure out as more conventions come my way.
One good thing that came out of the cons is I've decided to open up to commissions. Made a lot of art in preparation for the conventions and had a good time with it. Also made me a little more secure with it. And to also get my store running. These cons weren't the end of anything, just the beginning.
A lifelong comics fan, Mike W. Belcher is the writer/artist of MAN IN THE MASK. A story he's had with him for over 20 years.