Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Post-ComicCon Wrapup :D :D :D


Approximately fifteen years ago, I wrote a comic, that even to this day I consider to be one of my greatest works. It was a sarcastic and darkly comedic re-framing of the popular Magical Girl genre, taking place in a ruined cyberpunk city-scape inspired by Dark City and Final Fantasy 7. By the time I was "finished" with it, it was 255 pages long. It was funny, it was brutally violent, and I loved it.
But! It's never been published, and most likely never will be, at this point. At the time I was writing it, I had so many supportive friends (many of whom are the only people who've ever seen this story) who urged me on and on to get this book published. They insisted! I was young, I was insecure, and no matter how many people told me they loved my work and that they felt like I was talented and funny, I never felt like I was good enough. I never felt like my work was "ready" to be thrown into the real world of cartooning. This sentiment was reinforced a few years later by my first serious romantic partner who told me that they would never marry "a starving artist", and that I should get a real job if I wanted our relationship to go anywhere. 
So I kept my work to myself for a long time. I had a small outlet in my DeviantArt account (which I should really get around to deleting someday! Wow!) but for the most part, the frequency of my artwork dwindled to almost nothing. Me and this person parted ways in 2008. In 2009, I got the inkling to maybe start drawing again, and realized I'd forgotten how. I had to reteach myself all over again.
The point is, I spent a large chunk of my life convinced that I my work was garbage, and it would serve no purpose other than to amuse myself. But last weekend, I got back from ComicCon, quite possibly the largest comic convention in the world, where my work on TransCat was debuted in front of one of the largest groups it's ever been shown to. People were asking to take my picture, people were asking for my autograph. I've never been more proud.
Despite the fact that I still to this day struggle with these feelings of inadequacy, I've come a long, long way since that day in 2009 when I decided to take a serious stab at being a cartoonist. Hell, I've come a long way from my 255 page epic I wrote in high school. I'm glad I've made it this far, but there's still a part of me that wonders how different my life would have been if I hadn't spent so much of it scared too try.

But that's enough of my angsty past! Let me tell you guys about ComicCon!

As you know from my last entry, I was VERY apprehensive about going at all. The drive was easily the most daunting part of the whole journey. I swear on my life I am NEVER making that drive again. If I am lucky enough to be invited to SDCC a second time, I am saving up some money and buying a plane ticket. The last 3 hours of the drive I was shouting "I WANNA GO TO BED!!!" There was no one there to shout to. I was just shouting. Also, just the experience of driving THROUGH Los Angeles was enough to send shivers down my spine. I kept worrying the neon monster of a city would swallow me and my car up, never to be seen again. I was also unlucky enough to hit some heavy, midnight road construction. Five lanes, which even at this ungodly hour were filled with cars and semis were forced to merge into one. It was a nightmare.

Thankfully, the actual city of San Diego was surprisingly habitable! I was worried that it was just going to be an extension of LA, and I can't tell you how happy I am that I was wrong. San Diego actually reminded me a lot more of my home town than it did San Francisco. I was warned ahead of time that parking in the area was going to be tricky, but I lucked out and found a place to perma-park, and just took Lyft everywhere else. Bless those people. My host was trying to convince me that the train would have been cheaper, but I can barely navigate my way through public transit in my home town, no way I'm gonna risk it in a foreign city.

Lyft almost became my undoing on the first day, actually. My own fault though, nothing to do with them. On the first day, I naturally had to bring my box of comics with me. That was actually my whole motivation for taking Lyft in the first place. I didn't want to have to lug that thing around on public transit. but anyway, i had my box of comics with me, but it was pretty huge, so i put it in the guy's backseat. Then, on the way over, i forgot it was there and LEFT it in his back seat when I got out. I didn't even realize I was missing something important until I got almost all the way to the door. LUCKILY, Lyft has contingencies in place for just such an event! The driver (who was fucking awesome by the way) took the time to try and find me again in the crowd so I could get my books back! This guy was a fucking champ!

So I got my books, went in and got my badge, found the Prism table (which would become my base of operations for the weekend) and finally managed to settle down in a way that truly allowed me to enjoy my surroundings. Thursday was apparently going to be the "quiet" day for ComicCon, despite the fact the place was still what I'd consider "crowded". Even on its slow day, SDCC was still at least ten times more packed than Fanime on it's busiest day. Additionally, this con confirmed what I guess I've always known about people who go to cons, is that 90% of them have minimal spacial awareness. They have no idea who or what is around them, they'll walk right into people, back up into people, gather up and crowd already crowded spaces, block busy intersections, ignore where lines form/end, etc. To put it simply, it was a clusterfuck. BUT! I can't complain too much, because over the past several years, the time and training I've put into Kung Fu and taught me how to move through unruly crowds with relatively little trouble. I barely bumped into anyone. and really, that's the main reason anyone studies a martial art, so they don't bump into people in crowded places.

There was one other very stark difference between this con and many other cons I've been to in the past. Usually when I go to cons, I want to take pictures of people's costumes, the costumes are the main attraction. However, at ComicCon, the main attraction was STUFF! giant statues, displays, sculptures, products, etc. Normally I'd never consider taking a picture of an inanimate object at a con, but the inanimate objects at this con were SO COOL! Like, holy shit! I won't bother trying to describe it with my puny, human words, because like, here's some pictures.


CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES

So that top one is me on the Prism panel :D I was gonna hafta to get to this part of it eventually, wasn't I?
Yes, the panel was 100% awesome! BIG ups to Tara and to Prism comics for making it happen, and for letting me be on it. There were a few articles penned about it while I'll link you to here.

Bleeding Cool News did a quick little write up of our event. I was mentioned by name, but somehow I was the only member of the panel whom they chose not to quote :P

Racialicious did a pretty thorough live tweet of the panel. They misgendered me :( But apologized halfway through :)

The Daily Beast probably did the best summary of the event, but couldn't stop themselves from dropping Caitlyn Jenner's name every couple sentences. *eyeroll*

HuffPo did a thing, even.

The Onion even felt we were worth some snarky blurbs :3

So yeah! It was good! Great, even! An hour was NOT long enough though, wow! I was amazed at how quickly it flew by. By the time we were done with introductions, it seemed like we'd already eaten through 30 minutes. I'll admit I was nervous when I first got up there. when I got asked my first question I definitely stalled and stuttered a little bit, but got into the swing of things after my first sentence, and it just got easier from there. I'm glad I was able to share the table with so many other great people doing great work. I felt like a dwarf among titans for the most part. I was surrounded by people who'd won awards for their art and writing, people who worked professionally for their art in professional circles, and here I was, this little comic that hadn't been around for much more than a year, in very small runs, sold mostly online and at conventions, no major distribution at all~

And here I was! WITH them!
I was enough to simultaneously make me feel very accomplished, AND very small. A strange feeling indeed.
After the panel, I went back to the Prism booth for an autograph signing session. To my pleasant surprise, there were people who actually recognized me from the panel and wanted my autograph. Others were just passers by whom I hooked with methods similar to ones I would use at any other con. i also got hit on by a LOT of dudes! I've never been hit on this much, actually. It was slightly uncomfortable, but what made it that wasn't the fact that they were dudes, but more the obvious fact that I don't think any of them realized I was trans at all. so it was just a bunch of gay guys hitting on who they thought was another gay guy. Also, all of them were considerably older than me. Like, considerably, considerably!

Thankfully, that was over quickly. I spent the remainder of the weekend doing my best to stay out of long lines. I met Jhonen Vasquez, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, Stephen Silver, Aaron Alexovich and some others. I got autographs, I got selfies, it was good.
I also got, like... almost $200 worth of toys! Holy crap did I buy a lot of toys. ComicCon apparently is a good place for nice, exclusive action figures. I guess I always knew this, but this was the first time I experienced it firsthand.

I got the SDCC exclusive set of Doctor Strange action figures:



Look at that! Look at how badass that is! These are easily the most finely packaged toys I've ever had the pleasure of owning. The toys themselves are badass as well, but the packaging is something really special. You can't tell from the picture, but there are pages of a book that fold down over them in their box, and the box itself is lined with their really nice, velvet covered plastic molding. almost felt bad taking them out, but to be honest, the box was too LARGE to be displayed in any logical way, assuming that is how I wished to display them.
The real kicker is, I don't even know that much of Doctor Strange :P I got it because Doctor Strange (up left) and Dormammu (bottom center) who both play prominent roles in "Marvel vs. Capcom 3".
Also, hearing the Marvel plans on releasing a Doctor Strange movie sometime next year might have motivated the purchase as well. He's definitely an intriguing character ( a space wizard???) and one i'd like to read up on :D

So yeah, there were my ComicCon escapades! Stressful, but ultimately, very worth it.
I would definitely go back next year, if invited. I dunno if I'm big enough in the industry yet to go on my own volition, but hey! Lots can happen in a year, right? We'll see!

In the mean time, there is some additional news to announce. As a result of my involvement with Prism comics during this con, I've wormed my way into the next Alphabet Comics Anthology :D There will be a new TransCat story featured in this upcomming issue, info on that as it comes! :D

TransCat #5 is STILL coming out! Hopefully before July is out.

I also got Sac-Con, Sac-Anime and Alternative Press Expo coming up! :D
SUCH EXCITE!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pre-ComicCon Emotional Meltodown D: D: D:


First thing's first, I realized i never uploaded or shared ANY of my Fanime pictures. I got real lethargic after that con, and then lethargy turned to forgetfulness, and now that ComicCon draws ever nearer, I feel i should do what i can to give these guys the proper unveiling they deserve.


Follow me to my FACEBOOK
But now I cannot afford to be lethargic, because San Diego Comic Con is literally tomorrow and I have approximately 400 miles to cover, and one last day of work to get through. I've definitely traveled farther distances before, but never for anything this important. Also, San Diego has accrued somewhat of a reputation for being a crowded, busy city. I've sworn on my life, a vendetta against San Francisco, I can only imagine what sort of piss soaked, white knuckled, shrieking terror awaits me in San Diego, a city roughly 1.5 times as large and roughly twice the population. I pray I make it without having some form of mental breakdown =_=

That in itself would be a feat, getting to the city BEFORE having a mental breakdown, that is. Like I said,, one last day of work left, then I need to make the drive there, at the same time everyone else is getting out of work.

I am prepared for Armageddon.

Thankfully, I'm arriving at a friend's house first, so I can get right to bed if need be (I will probably need exactly that) and THEN, even on the first day of CC I don't need to be there before 4pm. That will give me plenty of time to traverse the horrors of the city and the existential torture of finding a place to park my car.
I figure I'll take my car on the first day, since I'm having to lug a box full of comics with me. The rest of the weekend, however, i'm gonna try and master the public transit system. Friday through Sunday I don't need to be there at a certain time AT ALL so I can take my time getting ready and getting there, as much time as I want.

This will be a very different sort of convention experience for me, since I am not expected to occupy a table the entire time. I have a panel, then an autograph session, and then I'm free to roam. I'll only be leaving my books at the Prism Comics booth, while the good people there sell them for me. I can do whatever I want in the mean time :O
Part of me is weighing the merits of being at the booth regardless of not having to be there. Afterall, who's better at selling my comics than me? But then again, how often do I get this opportunity? Almost never. It's a tough balancing act.

Either way, I'm excited. I just hope I don't go crazy before it all happens.

I'll be in touch, guys [heart]

Thursday, June 25, 2015

FINALLY! IT CAN BE TOLD!


So! You remember last time (last month?) when i was talking about biiiiig things happening?
I wanted to tell you about it sooner, but had to keep quiet until every detail was finalized. it tore me up inside, it really, truly did, because I'm a press whore. either way, the big news can finally be revealed.

TransCat is coming to COMIC CON!!!

This will be my first time ever at this con, let alone being there in any kind of official capacity. Just being there is reason enough to be excited, but I've actually been offered one hell of an honourable opportunity. I'll be sitting on the panel for Writing Transgender Characters. Me and five other very talented artists and writers will be sharing our thoughts and experiences and fielding your questions about how we write our own respective transgender comic book heroes.

All info on this magical event can be gleaned from THIS link.

I can't say enough how honoured I am to even be considered for this panel. This is the most prestigious opportunity I've ever been offered, and I hope I'll be seeing as many of you guys as possible there.

I gotta thank my friend Zan, who runs Northwest Press. he helped boost TransCat's visibility online and is directly responsible for getting me on this panel. I also have to thank Tara who put the panel together in the first place, and has been so kind and helpful is navigating me through this big fat world of Comic Con :D

So, come! And crush a cup of wine!
Actually, please don't do that, just come and sit quietly and watch and ask a question if you feel like it :D

Apart from being on the panel, I'll be spending some time at the Prism Comics booth, where issues of TransCat will be available. Hopefully, if I can get my ass in gear, the long awaited Issue #5 will be making its debut there. If not, no big deal, we still got 4 sexy issues to choose from. And if that's not enough, Tara will be travelling around the country with these books at a variety of different conventions as well. Burbank, Long Beach, L.A., Salt Lake City and New York are all on the list.

So this is no small deal, for me, obviously. It is a big deal! A GREAT BIG DEAL! TransCat-Mania is going wild, brother!

I have limited time to do the rest of my preparations for this big fat show, so I'm gonna cut this blog post short and get back to work. More updates as they come.

~Knave Out

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fanime 2015, BAAU Vol. 14 and...SURPRISE EVENT~!!!.




Okay! Wow guys! Whew! So there's biiiig things happening in the world of Para~Somina comics.
First off, there's Fanime! Coming up in just two (or one) more day(s)!
If you're coming, and you wanna find me, and OTHER people from Bay Area Artists United, here's a handy little map!

That's me, with Alfred Twu at Table 602

I will be there, peddling my new TransCat Issue #4 along with all previous issues. I'm not certain I will have room at my table for TransCat apparel and accessories, but I am going to TRY!
More importantly, we'll be selling Volume 14 of the annual BAAU compilation.
Apart from being the combined efforts of dozens of talented local artists, it also houses Episode #0 of TransCat :D First time in print! Don't miss out this MIND BOGGLING opportunity!

If you CAN'T make it to Fanime, don't despair! You can get BAAU #14 on Amazon as well.
All the TransCat books can be found in the Online Shop as well.
I'm still trying to figure out how I'm gonna do apparel on the shop. I apologize, please bear with me <3 br="">
So, as many of you know, I've been doing Fanime since 2001, and for those 14 years, Fanime has been THE single biggest thing I've done every year in my attempts to get my name out there and further my comic career. Well, I've come to announce to you today, that Fanime is about to become SECOND BEST!!! :O

This is not 100% certain yet, but I'd go as far as to say it's at least 90% certain, and sadly, I am not yet allowed to give specific details yet... BUT trust me when i say that when this all gets revealed, it will in fact be the BIGGEST THING I'VE EVER DONE! Plus, if I play my cards right, it might become an annual thing for me in the same way Fanime is, and it might lead to something awesome happening for TransCat comics :3

I am doing my best here to not count my eggs before they hatch, but by golly I am just so gosh darned excited! :D

In the mean time, I'm scrambling to finish TransCat #5 in time for this hypothetical event. The only thing that would make this great thing greater is debuting a new book ^___^

Anyway, gotta prep for Fanime. I promise you all tons of pictures!

Knave Out!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

TransCat Issue #4 Now Available!

BUY IT HERE!

It's finally happened! A full year of TransCat! Welcome to Issue #4! The issue that PROBABLY took the longest to complete. For some reason, doing the inking on this one just dragged and dragged. A lot of it can be blamed on a mixture of depression and laziness (or laziness brought on by depression?) but the other side of this coin was some technical difficulties I've been battling on this laptop. Without an immediate mode of repair, I had to cut some corners and make do with doing some things analogue. The end results looks amazing, but it took me at least twice as long.
Everything seems to be running okay on the machine end of things now. Issue #5 is already underway (looking at a late June/early July release). Still dealing with the fact that I'm depressed and outrageously lazy, though. My New Years resolution for 2015 was to step up my TransCat game as much as I could and i feel like I've really done the opposite :(

I'll get there though...

On the brighter side of things, I just got back from Big Wow Con in San Jose! Last year at this very convention, TransCat Issue #1 was released to the public, so I got some sentimentality associated with that particular con :)

The show went amazing, by the way. It started out kinda weird because not only did I get there slightly late, but when I first arrived, I had a hell of a time finding my table. The thing that happens when you arrive slightly late is that a lot of the table numbers get covered up by people's stuff, so walking down the aisle, counting down the numbers you CAN see trying to find YOUR number, can be a hassle.

I finally settled down at a table that LOOKED like it should have been mine. It was in the general area at least, but it was actually lacking any number altogether. I asked one of the Big Wow Staff if this was supposed to be me, and she replied, just as confused as me, "I THINK so...".

It was an awkward table to be at, I was at the end (or the beginning, depending on which way you were approaching from) of a row of cosplayers, and directly behind me was the Table Top Gaming area, which in itself was the last row of tables before reaching the wall. This in and of itself discouraged me because the LAST con I went to, I had the bad luck of being set up against a wall. I was really out of the way, and made very few sales. I was worried because I thought this was going to be a repeat of that event.
HOWEVER, less than an hour after set up, a different staff member approached me with a hopeful look in his eye. He said something to the effect of "Okay! So we made a mistake! It turns out THAT guy took your table before you got here", he pointed at a man on the opposite corner with a massive fan art/pin up setup. The staff member continued "...this table is promised to another cosplayer, so we are going to try and find a better place for you, since his setup will take forever to move."

I was immediately reinvigorated, because my setup moved really easy, and if it meant getting a better table, then i was ready and rarin' to go! Before I knew it, the staff member from before came by ans told me that she was gonna help me lift my entire table over to where I'd be for the rest of the con. And by "entire" I do mean the whole damn table. She took one end, I took the other, and we walked it over to a VERY nice place on the aisle, surrounded by other cartoonists. I've never received a finer upgrade. We had lots of traffic. In that first hour, I made zero sales, but after the move, I made my table money back and then some, and then day two was even better.

So yeah, needless to say, Big Wow was very good to me. I want to thank my friends Cameron and JD for coming with me, helping me carry stuff, keeping me company during the slow parts of the day, and providing me with amusing colour commentary all weekend :D
They were actually among my first customers when TransCat debuted last year, and now they're good friends of mine. O, the wonders of being an indie cartoonist.

So that was this weekend. But what does the future hold for TransCat?
Well, there's a small convention being put together by the Anime Club at Foothill College (which is, in a way, my alma mater) so I'll be participating in that.

Then, the end of next month is FANIME! :D So... like... that is also a big deal.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

TransCat Pencil Adventures! Issue #2








So here's a funny story! A little bit more than a month ago, My Facebook page reached the hefty milestone of 5000 subscribers. I thought to myself "Golly! What a thing! I should commemorate this by drawing something special!"
So I had this idea for a another Pencil Adventure comic that I wanted to do, so I started it, thinking it would be done in no time. But over time, the idea got grander, the setup for the joke became more complicated, and the artwork for the concept needed to be upped and upped and upped, to make the whole thing seem worthwhile. Suddenly this silly idea for a short comic became this 7 page concept piece that merely housed a joke. The joke was even added upon by my friend Amy (she came up with the closing punch line, props to her) and to top it all off, about 5 pages into it, I started to think about how this was all going to interconnect to the greater TransCat narrative!
So here we are now, more than a month later. My little gag comic is now commemorating 7645 Facebook subscribers and is not officially cannon.

There we other distraction as well. I mean, I'm pretty lazy, but I'd like to think there were other mitigating factors in this comic taking so long other than that. I guess first and most obvious is the Holiday Season. Chrimbus and New Years were kind of a big deal. or at least they WOULD have been, if I wasn't breathing snot the whole time! Oh joy! For real though, my body pretty much set out to ruin my vacation from work. I got myself sick ON Christmas day, and it was a sick that hung around until New Years Day, as if it were purposefully just trying to fuck with me. So as you can imagine, I was not doing tons of drawing. I did however listen to ALL of the Green Day!

Before and after the Holiday, and The Great Sickness, I actually managed to pull off some con appearances, at Sac-Con and Sac-Anime which went extraordinarily well. I used to do Sacramento Cons a LOT, but honestly I haven't really been there in awhile due to money troubles. Now that TransCat is more of a thing, i could afford to make the trip.
Sac-Con was great, as usual. i was reunited with Danielle, whom I'd go as far as to call my Sacramento comics partner now. Sac-anime was a bit of an adventure though! Long story short, I wasn't sure if I was even gonna be able to make it. I had made plans to at least ATTEND, even if it wasn't as an artist. I got on the wait list for Artist Alley way too late, and getting on wasn't looking good. But I was given a phone call, literally the evening before the first day of the con, and suddenly ALL my plans had to change :D to add drama to the experience, I HAD to make it there before noon, or else my table would be forfeit!
So what followed that morning was a mad, early morning dash all the way up to Sac, picking up my partner, check into the hotel, drop off our shit, get to the con, get registered (we accidentally went to regular registration first before we realized we had to register AT Artist Alley) and then set up the table. we made it with less than an hour to spare, thank God.

Sac-Anime went extraordinarily well! I almost ran out of TransCat #1. Another trend that seems to be cropping up is that early in the con, people would come by to get #1, and then much later on, come back to get #2 and #3. I was very flattered ^_^
This was also my first con with shirts, but I only managed to sell one. I'm glad I didn't make a ton of them, limited release was a good idea.
I am signed up to do Sac-Anime again in the summer, Sac-Con again in March, there's a small college convention going on in MV in April which I'm in for, and then THE BIG ONES! Fanime in May, APE in October and GX3 in December!

This will be a busy year for TransCat!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sac-Con Reviews, Store Updates, Things To Come!



So this is a sample of a poster I had made specially for Sac-Con, they came out lookin' awful swank.
I'm gonna be adding this to the store front tomorrow, but first I need to get some shipping tubes, and figure out how much it would even cost to ship! 

Here are the two patterns of shirt I made! These will also be added to the store front, hopefully as early as tomorrow, but again the problem of shipping comes up.
I'm so dreadfully new to all of this :D
I only have experience shipping books, but now I am becoming a true "captain of industry!" I think this moment comes when the time to spend merchandising your art exceeds the amount of time to spend creating art.

MC Frontalot and MC Lars did a very appropriately titled song on this subject, "Captains of Industry". Check it out on any of THESE LEGAL PLATFORMS because media is important :3


So Sac-Con was wonderful~!
It's been awhile since I've been up there for a show, at least a year, and probably even longer since I've tabled at one. This time was very different indeed. Sacramento has never seen TransCat before! In the space of time between now and my last show there, I managed to produce three TransCat books! I would say the reception was mostly positive. I'm always worried some zealot will happen across my table at some con someday and start preaching to me about how I'm promoting a sick life style and how I'll burn in hell etc etc etc... but it hasn't happened yet, thank god.
The main thing that was different, however, was the AMOUNT of stuff I had to bring with me.
I've NEVER promoted more than two books at a time.
Now, not only are there three TransCat titles out there, but still the two Dave the Punk Rock Cat books. On top of that I'm not a t-shirt and poster maker. All in all, I was carrying three pretty large boxes, plus one smaller box, and a flat box full of posters. I'm just glad I had helpers, is all I'm sayin'. Shout out to Danielle and Lindsay for that! :D Yay!

In the mean time, I am going to make an effort to just get into more shows, period. I'm on the wait list for Sac-Anime in January, so keep yer fingers crossed for me.
In the mean time, Issue #3 of TransCat is officially up for sale ion the shop, plus a number of holiday bundles I three together <3 br="">