Convention Stories

edited May 2014 in On The Road
This thread is for funny, interesting, bizarre and off the wall experiences you've had exhibiting at a comics convention.

I have several myself which I will post in a bit!


  • The fire alarm going off and causing an evacuation at my first non-anime con (Baltimore...'05? '06? Marv was there.) was one thing, but getting outside and seeing George Perez with his back to a column, still doing commissions in a five deep circle of fans is what really sticks with me.
  • Fire alarm went off at Otakon a few years ago. Hilarious chaos. So they let the Artist Alley stay open an extra hour. (Also in Baltimore.)

    Um, people at Momocon last weekend kept telling me I looked like Doc Brown. Yeah, whatever Doogie Howser.
  • Ok, I'll play.

    Two stories from my second ever con--Megacon 2006. 

    I had just self-published my second comic, an anthology called ROCKSTAR PIZZA. MegaCon had placed us int he back corner of the hall at the Orange County Convention Center, with the loading bay doors on the left and the kiosk in front of me. Massive dead spot. People from the kiosk kept coming up and asking if they could use our tables to eat off. 

    Me and my buddies in the corner quickly got bored, and started to pass the time by making fun of cosplayers. (Privately, amongst ourselves, mind.) Then this teenaged boy dressed as a cat approaches us. He has ears, and a tail, an a badge with his name on it explaining that he is a cat boy and he's looking for a cat girl to love.

    The cat boy introduces himself and then proceeds to explain that he bought my book at the previous MegaCon and he loved it--, and he's been checking my website waiting for something new, and he's really excited to read Rockstar Pizza. And then he bought a copy, and he bought copies of all of my freinds' books, as well.

    The cat boy was my first ever fan. I've never made fun of a cosplayer since.

    Anyway, things picked up a bit on the Sunday. I had a standee behind me of the cover art, showing a girl playing a guitar (yeah, that was Clarice from my novel Bloody Waters), and this drew the attention of a very intense looking young dude. He immediately identified the model of the guitar on the standee, and when I confirmed that it was indeed a Schecter Revenger  he ran off and came back with a guitar case of his own. That's right: he brought his electric guitar to a comics con. the young dude pulls out the guitar to show me--a very custom Jackson, similar to (but much nicer than) a guitar that I own. (I have a Revenger as well). 

    Well, guitar guy starts showing me scales  and finger strengthening exercises, and tells me that I can keep the guitar to play with while he explores the show, and that we should meet up and jam some time. He's clearly not gonna buy a comic and he's taking up a lot of my time so I just agreed to it and off he went.

    But guitar guy kept coming back, all day long. Not only that, but he would jostle away people who wanted to browse the books and glower resentfully if I tried to talk to any other customers. How could I get rid of guitar guy?

    Eventually I figured it out. "Hey, man, it's been a pleasure hanging out with you. Would you like a free comic?"

    Once he had a copy he took his guitar and I didn't see him again.

  • I was at a Vancouver Convention called Comix and Stories, it was a few years back now (about 2009?). Anyway, I'm at my booth doing my thing when this old guy wearing a baseball cap, beige trench coat, a white dress shirt with brown dotted design, and suspenders holding up his old man polyester pants, walks up to my table and begins to look over my books intently.

    After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence after he's inspected all of my books, he turns to me and asks,"Do you like to tell it like it is?"

    I answer, "Of course, I love to speak my mind"

    He replies, "How many people do you know of who have told it like it is that have been shot?"

    and then he just hobbled off.
  • My favorite con story, from ACen a few years ago.

    @SteveHorton and I are exhibiting side by side, and two young women who appear to be in their mid-20s walk up to us. One is cosplaying as Robin, the other as Supergirl. They look fantastic, and we thank them for cosplaying as DC heroes despite it being an anime con. We chit chat a bit, and it's a con so I'm flirting more than a little, too.

    Later, as we're walking in the hotel to the elevator, we bump into the women again. I suggest that, after everyone changes, they join us in the green room for drinks and conversation. The women look at each other furtively.

    "Uh, do they card up there?" one asks.
    I look at Steve. I speak.
    "Exactly how underage are you?"
    "Nineteen," one says. "Eighteen," the other says.

    I politely say the green room isn't a good idea and we part.

    Steve looks at me, reminding me that we're both married and that it's not like we were gonna sleep with them.

    "Sure," I say. "But do you want to be the guy who raises his hand when someone asks "Who gave the underage girls booze before they fell down the elevator shaft?"

    The end.
  • I have too much convention dirt on people on this forum to tell a proper story, but I will tell one:

    One year Russell and I did a tiny sci-fi con out in a nice hotel which we were told was going to be well attended, but really wasn't. There were maybe 200 people at the show, and most of them were more interested in cosplaying than buying anything. 

    But at the show there were these two girls who were dressed as 1970s Battlestar Galactica viper pilots, and also a guy who was a really convincing Mal Reynolds (and then reused the coat for a very good David Tenate Dr Who). Russ and I chatted them up throughout the weekend and have since formed a good friendship with the group. They were the highlight of the weekend, by far. 

    To this day whenever we attend a show that's a dog (or the floor is slow), Russell and I always say to each other, "You know what would make this show better right now? Viper pilots." 
  • 18 is legally old enough to drink where I come from.
  • I was tabling at a small indy con, and struck up a conversation with a bored-looking young woman
    who was wandering through the aisles on Sunday. It turned out she had
    been dragged along to the show by her boyfriend, and was pretty
    disdainful of the whole "nerdy" enterprise. I pointed out that there
    were much worse things that her boyfriend could be into. "Heroin,
    maybe," she said with a smirk. "There you go," I responded, "that's my
    new motto: 'Comics - They're Cheaper Than Heroin'." That got a laugh,
    and she started looking through the newest Fantasy Theater. After
    flipping through a couple of pages, she suddenly got this look on her
    face that was a mix of utter bafflement with a hint of disgust. I
    couldn't see which page she was looking at (the Capella story with the
    cactus monster, maybe?), but her reaction was so strong it cracked me
    up, and I told her to keep the book. "You know, just like heroin...the
    first hit's free." She replied, "If I turn into a nerd, I'm totally
    blaming you". She wished me luck, and I told her she was doing a good
    deed by supporting her boyfriend's interests. Writing this out, I know
    I'm making her sound like kind of a jerk, but we were both smiling and
    laughing the whole time, and it was probably the most entertaining
    conversation I had all weekend. And I like to think we both benefited
    from the chance to see the show through the other person's eyes.
  • Here's a story that's a cautionary tale:

    At two Chicago-area cons, I have seen a guy (the same guy) standing IN FRONT OF his table rather than behind it, trying to sell books. He has bookmarks in his hand and whirls them like one of the pimps/touts on Las Vegas Blvd., trying to get customers for his hookers. He gets people to stop, but I don't see many sales happening. And it drives people away from the booth, turning people off in such a way that they don't stop at the next booths in the row (which at C2E2 included mine). People also avoid him if they see him ahead by walking away from the table -- again, costing his neighbors customers. I'm told this is his regular schtick. If I'm ever near him again, I'm reporting it to the con manager.
  • Armageddon Melbourne in 2008:

    A guy comes up to my table and asks what I'm selling. He doesn't look at any of it, he just asks me.
    "You know, I never liked comics."
    "That's too bad."
    "Cartoons, animation , newspaper strips... I love that stuff. but comics? I just fuckin' hate comics, man. Always have."
    This went on for about fifteen minutes. 
    Then he went away.
  • I've had guys like that at the table. Or the ones who say, "I don't have money" or "I don't read American comics."

    I say, "OK. See ya."
  • I would like to throw in a convention pet peeve, people in Artist's Alley who are technically vendors. I'm talking about the guys who are buying posters wholesale and then selling them in artist's alley. Some of them claiming that they are "selling their friend's stuff" who conveniently couldn't make it to the show.
  • I would not do an artist alley that allows resale, especially like that. One good thing about anime cons is that they have very definite rules about what can be sold in the Artists Alley. Of course, that's many time also one of the bad things about anime cons. And "selling their friend's stuff" is not allowed in most of them. At least one artist must be present. Good rule. 
  • edited June 2014
    At least once every Dragon Con some famous author or famous someone will stop at my table and buy comics and I won't know who it was until someone squees that they wish this person had stopped at their table, and I say "who?". This past year I think it was Larry Niven. He bought a  Blood graphic novel on Friday, and then came back on Monday, bought the newer issues, said "keep up the good work", and toddled off. I had no idea who he was until Georges Jeanty leaned over and said, "I wish Larry Niven liked my comics." I need to start looking for guest badges when people come up to my table. This happens every flippin' year. (I had to look up who Niven was... still not sure Georges wasn't pulling my leg. He was sitting directly behind me and I think he was jealous of how many of my vampire comics I was selling. Ah ha ha ha ha, as if.)
  • That reminds me of the Rashamon story that Russell and Trevor differ on regarding Neal Adams. :)
  • The first time I exhibited at a con was Denver ComicFest in 2010.  I had a few mini comics made up of the early Angry Faerie strips and I had my portfolio of the inked pages.  There was one kid (well I thought he was a kid, apparently he was in his 20's) who kept coming around and looking through the comics and the portfolio.  I'd say hi, he'd say hi, then he'd be off again.

    Finally on his third or fourth go around, he says "I like your art."  I say thanks.  He says, "I think you'd have a great style for drawing a comic where Hitler comes back and starts up a new Reich and it's just filled with dead bodies and high tech concentration camps and stuff like that".   I can't tell if he's joking, but he's not smiling and he seems pretty serious.  I just say "That's not something I'd ever have any interest in."  He wanders off again.

    Later, he returns.  "I have another idea.  About a space station where the security guards go space crazy and start murdering everyone".    Again, "That's not something I have any interest in doing."

    I spent much of the rest of the day looking at my portfolio and the most recent comic strips I was working on, all of which involve faeries and elves and that sort of thing, trying to figure out what this guy is seeing in my artwork that clearly I am not.
  • edited June 2014
    I had the first issue of Red Angel Dragnet printed and for sale at the Cincy Comicon last year. It's drawn by Anna Wieszczyk, the Polish artist who's done a couple books for Archaia. To anyone who'd ask, I'd pitch her style as "a cool mix of European and Manga influences." 

    After I'd gotten done with a customer, a preteen girl who'd been hovering at the next table over approached and asked me to repeat my entire sales pitch for the book.

    Then she stopped me and said, "I'm sorry, but it's pronounced 'm-ahn-ga,' not 'm-ayn-ga,'" and then she ran off without another word.

    (I don't know why this story sticks with me, except I'm from NW Ohio and thus overly conscious of how I pronounce the 'a' in words like calendar and challenge.) 
  • @EricPalicki - Congratulations, you met a Weeaboo in the wild. It's natural habitat is the floor of the manga aisle at B&N. 

    I can't tell you how many times I've been told my manga-inspired comics are not manga. Degree of difficulty: I never call what I do manga. The word is not part of my pitch. I say comic or graphic novel. *sigh*
  • @EricPalicki I do a lot of anime and manga shows, and I've found there exists a subculture (what I call "elitists") who are very specific on how words should be pronounced. 

    Usually, they pronounce them wrong. (Instead of "anime" being short for "animation," for example, they call it "on-e-may" and get very upset if you don't pronounce the "an" like "on." It's not called "on-i-mation," so mostly I just chuckle to myself whenever they try to correct me.)

  • "Comix should be pronounced 'koh-MIKS' as in 'co-mixture', not 'KAH-miks' like you're talking about people who tell jokes!" ~X(
  • @EricPalicki I had one person come up to my table at a convention and comment on how they could see the manga influence in my work....

  • @EricPalicki I do a lot of anime and manga shows, and I've found there exists a subculture (what I call "elitists") who are very specific on how words should be pronounced. 

    Usually, they pronounce them wrong. (Instead of "anime" being short for "animation," for example, they call it "on-e-may" and get very upset if you don't pronounce the "an" like "on." It's not called "on-i-mation," so mostly I just chuckle to myself whenever they try to correct me.)

    Anime isn't short for animation -- it's a Japanese word that means "animation" and is indeed pronounced "Ahn-ih-meh". :)

  • Still, there's no reason for people to be elitist pricks about it. And we've all met those people.
  • True. I don't care, but it is a pet peeve of mine alongside people who say "eye-talian." :)
  • Anime isn't short for animation -- it's a Japanese word that means "animation"
    ... formed as a shorter approximation of the English word. :)
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