The verdict is in and New York Comic Con 2015 was a great success! Tabling with Gregory Benton at Artist Alley U15, we shared lots of laughs and had so many nice interactions with fans and friends both new and old. I came into the convention this year with a mission however; to plant seeds for new work and new collaborations. Of course, sales are always a focus but they represent a short term goal as opposed to the longer term project of finding my next major series. I'm still working on The BUNKER but I have time in my schedule now to begin developing new properties. So how did it all go? Well, let's see…
Thursdays sales were tepid but I was buoyed by a lead on a writer I've admired for many years who was looking for an artist. I was psyched! My intrepid art dealer, Court Gebeau of Comicon Art had the lead so this looked exactly like what I was looking for. And on the first day, too!? Awesome. The day ended on a high note with Oni Press' Rock 'n Comix Party promising notes of the shredding variety. It did not disappoint. We arrived at Rockbar NYC and before long, Shy Allott had a beer in my hand and Robin Herrera served up some delicious pizza to accompany the hilarious and thrilling comics readings by Jeffrey Burandt, Antony Johnston, Charles Soule, Ted Naifeh, Dean Haspiel and more all hosted by Albert Ching of Comic Book Resources. After a brief break enlivened by The Americans UK's music videos, I think we were all collectively blown away by yet another facet of the uber-talented, Charles Soule -- his Rocket Fuel band. I think Simon Fraser said it best; "lawyer, accomplished comics writer and fiery blues man!? There's no end to this guy!" But alas there had to be an end to the awesomeness as this was only the first night of a very long weekend. So as I hopped into a cab home my head swam with The Rocket Fuel's and The American UK's riffin' but also with the anticipation for what the weekend had in store.
Friday! Day two very quickly dispatched with any optimism from Thursday as word came down that the writer had in fact already found an artist. As a freelancer, I should be used to these hiccups but as a person who loves to collaborate and create, it was hard not to feel somewhat dejected by the setback. I rallied and took a stroll around Artist Alley to talk with a few folks and try and turn the day around. After checking in with Fred Van Lente, a writer I am already working with on a proposed project, I looked over and saw Scott Snyder up the way. My quest for work has gone back a while and over that time I had sent a few unsolicited emails to him so I thought I'd follow up with him in person…if only to apologize. Even though I'm a huge fan of Wytches, I never had an opportunity to see Scott's rapport with fans. It's easy to see why he's so beloved as he spoke with everyone with a surprising and disarming familiarity, kindness and patience. I would love very much to work with him on something so we discussed looking at samples and I came away with a little of Thursday's optimism and excitement at new opportunities.
Soon thereafter I had the pleasure of finally meeting Declan Shalvey who I've only ever chatted with online. Declan's an amazing artist and I'm excited to dive into Injection, his recent Image book with Warren Ellis. It was also great to chat with other creators whose work I follow, including Steve Ellis, Ray Fawkes, Matt Kindt, John Paul Leon, Matt Rosenberg and James Tynion IV. Later in the afternoon, I spent an hour at the Oni booth signing a few BUNKER Volume 1's and introducing my good friend Frank Reynoso to my editors at Oni Press, James Lucas Jones and Robin Herrera. I sincerely hope there's a love connection there as it's always rewarding to connect my favorite people to see what comics come of it. Best of luck, Frank! Follow up after the show, buddy!
Friday's shindig was the Image party at Bowlmor Times Square. Wow, this was a blast! I finally had an opportunity to catch up with my good friend, Bob Fingerman whose second arc of Minimum Wage just came to a close. Stay tooned for the trade coming soon, folks! Also it was so nice to give a big hug and chat with Adam McGovern between bites of food and frames of bowling. Adam's the sweetest guy you'll ever meet and the talented writer of this year's Image title, Nightworld. For almost as long as I've known him, he's had pages of his collaborator, Paolo Leandri's, amazing art with colors by Dominic Regan. The collection is already available everywhere and you should all get on it. Lastly I had the pleasure of talking with John Roberts of Comixology. John, Chip Mosher and David Steinberger all hold a special place in my heart ever since they did such a great job getting the word out about the early digital chapters of The BUNKER on Comixology SUBMIT. If you're a burgeoning comics creator of any cloth (mainstream or indie) looking to break in, you should be using Comixology's wonderful Submit portal. DO IT!
Saturdays loom large in the convention circuit as they are invariably the busiest days of any convention and this year's NYCC was no exception. The lukewarm sales of Thursday and Friday were a thing of the past as almost everyone coming to the table was eager to snatch up some BUNKER Volume 1's, Time F•ckers, Prints, drawings and more. Gregory Benton's Smoke and B+F were flying off the shelves and his newly minted buttons had the fans squealing with delight. If you're going to be attending Locust Moon Festival this Halloween, look for Gregory's fine wares. Saturday came to a close with a nice dinner with friends, Mike Cavallaro, John Cebollero, George O'Connor, Greg Benton and more. It was a much needed reprieve from the furor of the show floor and was really the cherry on top of a great day. A few of us shambled over to Tir Na Nog Time Square for the Comixology Party.
My stay was very brief. The partying over the course of the weekend became increasingly short as my endurance was running out by Saturday evening. I was very happy, however to have a chance to catch up with Chip Mosher. Chip and I go back as far as my comics career (over ten years now!) as he was one of my earliest advocates and was there when I broke in with my work on Borrowed Time with Neal Shaffer also published by Oni Press. So although the night was short, we still had one more day to bring the weekend to a close.
Sunday morning we all got together in Panel room B02 to celebrate our friend, Seth Kushner. Seth, as many of you already know, was an amazing photographer, father and husband as well as an overall exemplary human being. Sadly he lost his battle to cancer after a protracted bout with a very virulent strain of Leukemia. Dean Haspiel, Christa Cassano, Shamus Beyale, Josh Neufeld, Hannah Means-Shannon, Gregory Benton, Chris Miskiewicz and I all shared some memories and thoughts with the somber crowd. It was an emotional way to start Sunday but none of us would have missed this opportunity to let as many folks know just how beloved and missed he is. We'll all travel very far before encountering someone like Seth. Thankfully there are going to be more comics by him as his collaborators, Shamus Beyale and George Folz, work towards bringing more of Seth's writing to life. In the meantime, you can enjoy his writing in his recently released book from Hang Dai Editions, Schmuck.
As I said to Gregory many times over the weekend, I often get a real buzz just from the nice micro interactions you have with people as they walk by the table and look at our work. Sometimes it's just a smile and other times it can be something great like meeting Nathan Fox and Cliff Chiang. I'm a big fan of Nathan's art going back to when I first saw many of his originals in the now gone, Bergen Street Comics store. We exchanged a few comics, chatted about artist talks, mentoring and the new SVA Riso lab when Cliff Chiang happened to swing by. We had only met one time before but it was nice to be able to congratulate him on the very recent launch of Paper Girls with Brian K Vaughan. He had us all swooning as he passed out copies of the first issue to all of us. I can't wait to read it! Perhaps the best way to close out the week is to make mention of Hannah Means-Shannon who I had promised a sketch at the beginning of the convention. We all signed her stuffed Iron Man toy and after some consternation she picked out my recent Imperator Furiosa drawing. I couldn't thank her any other way as she's been a valuable resource and help in my career. Hannah's about to embark on a big adventure so it's fitting that she should have Furiosa at her side during her upcoming travels. Best of luck, Hannah!
So I think that's as exhaustive a convention report as you can get! Thanks for making it to the end. If I can swing it next year, I'll be sure to haunt the halls of New York Comicon Artist Alley 2016. Hope to see you there!