Monday, April 14, 2014

TransCat #1 Cover Final Version!!

So yes! This! This is finally a thing! I'm so excited! After a multitude of delays for various reasons, TransCat #1 is finally a finished product! Looking at an early June release, maybe late May, depending on what happens with Fanime. Colours are by the ever talented Dani Smithers <3 p="">

Fanime! Whooo-boy! Now there's a clusterfuck right there.
Fanime, for me, has historically been a clusterfuck, but I always manage to overlook it because in the end it's always such a good and fun experience for me. This time might wind up being very different for me, because of the latest fuckery the Artist Alley is dropping down on the townsfolk below.

To put it a simple way, the main reason Fanime has been such a hassle in the past is because the Artist Alley has always been first come first serve. It is stressful in it's own right, but I could always rely on myself to be fast enough to get in somehow. If I didn't make the initial cut, I at least always wound up pretty early in the wait list, and kept my fingers crossed that it'd dwindle down to the point where I could sneak in, OR I could rely on a friend to share part of their table with me. Point is, I could get in one way or another using this system, even if it took a little finagling.

The new system, on the other hand, makes it WAY harder to get in if you didn't make the initial cut, and it seems like it's been tailor made to create animosity and rivalries between artists. The idea  is in essence, a jury system. Instead of everyone trying to get in first, Fanime set a time period of two or three days to get a very basic portfolio in, and then a panel of judges(?) would review them all and decide who they thought was "good enough" to be in the Artist Alley.

Now, before I even submitted, I had reservations. With any kind of jury, or panel judging system, you're going to have to deal with bias. I don't care how impartial they're consciously trying to be, there is GOING to be a bias! My initial fear was that everyone chosen for AA was all going to have art that looked essentially the same. I've joked in the past how a majority of indie/underground comic artists all looks like Scott Pilgrim meets Adventure Time, I'm imagining that Fanime this year will look like that with a dash of Kill La Kill mixed in.

Piled on top of that is the fact that the judges didn't post any kind of rubric for what the portfolio should include, and NO clue about they were even looking for or how they would be grading, so everyone kinda just went in blind. The results we got back were even less helpful. It was either "Hey, you got in!" or "Sorry, you didn't". I know this whole process wasn't meant to be a "critique", but the fact that no one knew why they were chosen or why they weren't chosen kind of defeats the purpose of a jury system at all. This was further illustrated by lots of people who were rejected posting the portfolios they submitted on the Fanime Facebook page. They turned away TONS of great talent from a great number of different styles. this only adds to the confusion, WHAT were they looking for? WHAT made the cut? We won't find out until Artist Alley actually opens on the first Friday of Fanime. If my fears are correct, I am going to be very sad.

All this drama was not made any better by the fact that the Facebook kinda exploded with the smugness of those accepted and the anger of those rejected. This wasn't true of every person, but it sure seemed like those who didn't make the cut were hellbent on tearing down those who did, and those who did make the cut were just being snarky assholes about it and lording it over those who didn't. Those seems like they were the most vocal conversations. It was depressing to behold.

I did not make the cut myself, and I would be a liar if I said I wasn't immensely butthurt. It's kinda hard to not take it personally when an institution you've been part of for 14 years tells you you're suddenly not good enough to be welcome there anymore. Especially depressing because I look SO forward to Fanime every year. After last year's debacle with the Artist Alley lots of artists are angrily shouting that they'll never work with Fanime again. I don't want to be too hasty, but I might be jumping on that bandwagon. I'm too often the optimist who says that things might be bad now but they'll be better next year! That has been demonstrably false with Fanime year by year. The con itself might be fun, but the hassle of AA gets just dumber and dumber. I have some friends at BAAU who are TRYING to squeeze me in to a table, and if that works, I'd be very happy... but if not I won't count it as such a big loss. If the system doesn't change again next year, I do not see myself returning to Fanime in 2015. The end of an era for me, most certainly. depressing...

On a much MUCH lighter note, I may have found a new home at Gaymer X! I am all signed up for it, thanks to my good friend Winnie. I did not go to Gaymer X last year, but I heard it was a blast. It's kinda nice to be getting on the ground floor of a new con that's already so successful. I'm not sure what to expect, but I'm hoping for good things :3

In other news, I had a speaking engagement this last weekend up in Stockton for their local PFLAG chapter. It was essentially me recounting my experiences getting started in comics, and encouraging the various LGBTQQIA people who have stories they want to get out there with my humble success story :)
It wasn't a huge crowd, but I felt welcomed by them and felt like the things I had to say were appreciated.
Perhaps this will be the first of many speaking engagements I participate in.

Anywho! Keep your eye out for more news on TransCat. It will be coming!

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