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.


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


  1. Great details concerning Post-ComicCon! The event was so fun and my kiddos truly had great time there. They are such a huge fan of comic events and we always attend all the comic shows and conventions at domestic LA venues for events.