Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Brilliant Black Starres: Preview Issue Page 1

So! I already talked about Brilliant Black Starres being in BAAU Down #12.
Sadly, it is not up on the website YET. There is a reason for that. After Fanime there were only 8 copies left. I bought all of those copies. I am taking them up north to Sac Con this Sunday to try and help spread the word of BAAU and also pimp Brilliant Black Starres.

If you're gonna be there, try and snatch one up! I am assuming they'll go fast. They certainly did at Fanime. Despite the situation in the artists alley. If you're not in the know, and I don't really expect anyone who wasn't AT Fanime to be in the know, I'll give you the rundown of the bullshit.
So the McHenry Convention Center, the place they hold Fanime every year has been under construction due to a massive expansion project, which the building definitely needs! Every year Fanime gets bigger and bigger so it was only a matter of time before the convention center just wasn't able to hold it anymore. So they broke ground on getting it revamped.

Unfortunately for this year, construction was STILL going on. I don't blame them, it's a huge project! I didn't expect them to finish it in less than a year. The BAD news is, Fanime, which was already infamous for being disorganized got even DISORGANIZEDER in the wake of this massive construction project. Among the many problems was a line about twice as long as previous years. Longer even than the year they LOST POWER on day one! I heard from a friend that they hung out in line for SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS!! That's inexcusable. I don't know how people have the patience for this.
I felt privileged at first, being an artist gets me into a special streamlined registration process. I was in and out of there in about 30 minutes. I felt so grand and superior!

However, I payed for it later.

With the construction in full swing, the Artist Alley was... somewhat shuffled out of the way. The room we were normally in was reassigned to a makeshift food court (kind of a crappy one, if you ask me), and WE were reassigned to the now infamous... "South Hall".
South Hall is a big tented structure that looks like an airplane hangar located OUTSIDE of the rest of the convention hall. Not just outside, but behind it, even! It was dusty, drafty, out of the way, and had no attached bathrooms. We had to use portables outside... which in itself isn't so bad. I've tabled at some janky cons before, some where ALL they had were portable toilets! They can't all be nice as McHenry.
What really sucked about being in South Hall was that Fanime didn't really take any extensive pains to let anyone know we were there.
On the program, it was printed that the Artist Alley was located in South Hall, but it gave no instructions as to where South Hall actually was. All this is a moot point, since I'd guess maybe 1% of con attendees keep or even look at their programs. Those things are practically useless because Fanime posts SIGNS all over the place about where shit is and when shit is happening.

Well guess what DIDN'T have a sign?

Yeah, Us! Artist Alley. No signs in the hall or anywhere saying where Artist Alley had been moved to. Which is why it kinda surprised me that people even managed to find us on the first day. I guess there's lots to be said about the power of word of mouth. However, as expected, the tales from the people who found us were all kinda the same. Most of them had not heard we were even gonna be moved. They were confused when they walked into our normal space and found it occupied by a tiny food court. Many had assumed there just WAS not Artist Alley this year, and simply moved on, while few others took the time to seek us out. As a result, we got about a quarter of the foot traffic we normally got.

It was not until Sunday that I was hearing people say "Oh yeah, they put up big signs!"

Sunday it really picked up for us, but Friday and Saturday were boring as hell. During those first two days so few people came in, and maybe it's just me, but it seems like they were kinda standoffish and shy. Not all of them, mind you, but the majority of them did. Maybe it's just me? I am used to cons where I can play the snake oil salesman, hustle people up to my table and sell them my comic like and old fashioned travelling medicine show. This works all the time at the small cons, because for the most part I feel like people go to those cons to see what the underground comic community is up to in the first place. They're more willing to give the Artist Alley a chance in general. Fanime is VERY big. Not the biggest, but pretty big. As such, I am speaking to more demographics of people, and the same tactics just simply aren't going to work on everyone. Plus, people at Fanime wanna be there for a variety of different reasons, and it isn't always to see what the indie crowd is up to. There's SO MUCH going on at Fanime, and like it or not, the artists just aren't the center of attention like they are at some cons.

That's not to say I did poorly. I didn't do "as well" as I'd done at other cons, or even previous Fanimes. Like I said, Sunday really picked up. It more than made up for how slow Friday and Saturday were, so I'm doing my best not to be too bitter about it. Besides, I got to have tons of fun after hours. Selling wasn't my only experience there. I got to see plenty of friends, old and recent. I also got to meet a few really cool new people. I stayed up till sun up talking with this girl who I was sharing a hotel room with. Yeah, I'm one of those people who first meets their hotel mates on the first day of the con ;-P
Either way, we had a great conversation that lasted literally all night! Can't whine too hard about that.

In general, it was a great time, like Fanime usually is. The Artist Alley fiasco was kind of an annoying distraction, but I refuse to let it ruin my entire experience! This may not have been a fabulous as Fanime 2010, or as lucrative at Fanime 2012, but it was still at the very least a Fanime, and they're always a worthwhile experience, just for the culture and the surroundings, and the friends and the shenanigans. People may bitch, but for me, it's always worth it. :)

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