Monday, October 17, 2016

End of the Con Season: Beginning of Hiatus

So! This is it! Everything that is TransCat now fits inside this box and this backpack, and here it will stay, ...until the time is right.

The last month of TransCat has been a whirlwind, a rapid fire of convention appearances and a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. I have been working like hell to try and get issue 8 finished for at least ONE of these conventions, but it just was not to be. This is easily the most elaborate and complicated TransCat issue I've ever attempted, and also the longest in terms of actual page-count. I also had the misfortune of having my main inking pens crap out on me about a quarter of the way in, and THEN I left me new pens at home while I was away for a weekend, so basically no work got done. There has also been a number of changes to my job recently so the time I actually get to work on this stuff everyday has been cut on half as it is. So UGH! THAT'S a whole big thing. but the good news is is that just because i'm on hiatus doesn't mean I'm giving up! Issue 8 IS coming out! I will make certain it happens, even if there will be no conventions to support it. I'll make it happen.

Let's talk about these last three cons though. Gaymer X 4, Santa Rosa Toy & Comic Show and Alternative Press Expo.

Gaymer X was so good that I do not exaggerate even a little bit when I say it hurt to leave.
It was an unusual con for me for a couple reasons. I arrived by myself, which is an oddity in itself. I almost always have someone with me when I go to cons, but this time I arrived solo. The other thing that was really strange was that we weren't the only con there. The first two days was just Gaymer X but the last day was Gaymer X and like, a bunch of people coming in from out of town for a football game? I forget who was playing but there were a LOT of fans! A massive contrast to the queer themed gaming convention.
I ALSO left by myself, which was incredibly bittersweet, but mostly i was just dead tired and wanted to go home.
The other thing that made this con particularly noteworthy is that it took place at the convention center that my very first ever convention took place in. The Santa Clara convention Center, site of Fanime 2001, where I got my beak wet for the first time ever. Needless to say, memories came flooding back. Not a lot had a changed and it really was like going back in time. A lotta games and a lotta gays. that's the convention life for me. It was also nostalgic because for the first time in awhile, I shared a hotel room with about a dozen friends, all crammed in, sleeping a couple to a bed, sprawled out on the floor. we were a bathtub sleeper away form having a packed house. It was amazing.
But like I said, it really and truly hurt to leave. Gaymer X is such an atmosphere of positivity and acceptance and it hits you like a cold bucket of water when you realize that when it's over, you have to go back out in the "real world" again where not everyone is a geek and some people are still really homophobic or transantagonistic.

The next show, Santa Rosa Toy and Comic Show started out very rough but wound up being a good show.
First off, I was lucky enough to have a partner with me this time, despite the fact I've never been to a show in Santa Rosa, let alone Santa Rosa itself. Thankfully, Danielle, my rock, agreed to come with me. Picking her up from Sac was a bit of a detour, but well worth it. She's been hyping for me since before TransCat was even a thing and she's one of the best in the business.
When we first arrived, we had some trouble with parking. The convention hall did not have a great big parking lot, and by the time we hard found a place to park and gotten loaded in, we found out that we needed a parking pass... and the pass was for another lot that was like, down the road and across the street =_=. And if that wasn't hassle enough, when we tried to load in and set up, they didn't have any record of my table. I was about to dig the receipt for the order outta my email, but thankfully some quick strings were pulled and I was taken to a table someone else wasn't gonna show up for. Not exactly the most elegant solution, but it worked, so who am I to complain? I also had the incredible fortune to sit next to an old friend and fellow artist, Age Scott. A guy i met way back, I can't remember when, but I hadn't really seen at a con in years. He is mostly East Bay and I'm mostly South Bay, and our paths don't cross as much as I wish, but it was nice to catch up with him and see what he's been doin' and all the new art he's produced.
I also got the new Scarlet witch action figure from Civil War, so that's pretty rad! :D

The last, and FINAL con of the season was Alternative Press Expo! This is a con I would somewhat call myself a veteran of. I've been attending it (off and on admittedly) for the last eight years. I got the opportunity to do another talk, courtesy of Nina and Laura of the Cartoon Art Museum (Thanks!) and got to browse a plethora of new and super interesting bay area artists. I had a rant about APE last year which you can read in it's entirety HERE, but for those who don't wanna jump to a whole different, long-ass blog post, let me restate the short version of my thoughts here, because they apply as much this year as they did last year.Moving the con to San Jose makes everything easier for the artists, but it just does NOT have the same atmosphere, or even get a fraction of the exposure that it did in San Francisco. now anyone who knows me knows that I hate that city, I HATE it. There are very few things in this world that will make me ever want to go there... but Alternative Press is one of those things. When APE was in SF is felt like a juggernaut. It was crowded, it was like a social event. It was in a hellish city, but a city full of people who were either indie artists, wanted to be one, or just really dug the indie art scene. I would be hard pressed to really say San Jose even has an indie art scene! It's a great big city with a college, and a downtown, and a GREAT fan community (Fanime is proof of that). But it's not the same type of community of actual creators as you might find in SF. Now, I know the reason it moved was because SF is a hellhole and they probably can't afford to rent the space anymore. however, i feel like San Jose might have been a poor choice to move. I would have gone farther norther, like to Oakland or Berkeley first (and I dunno, maybe they considered those options already) but yeah, I dunno, that is a thing I feel this particular con has lost. chit chatting with other folks there, I'm not the only one. APE 5 years ago gave you a reason to want to hang out after the show, APE this year makes you wanna leave early because it's so desolate.
SIGH! But enough about that.

you know, I've really been dreading this hiatus. Not just because it represents a massive and unwelcome change in my lifestyle, but because I can't shake from my mind all the things that I just won't be able to do anymore. all the things that TransCat can't do anymore. In my mind, it was a massive domino effect that spelled the end of my cartooning career. But recently, I've been giving this a lot more thought and realizing there's way more that TransCat CAN do.

Number one: No matter what, my Online Shop is still open.
Admittedly, the sales from this shop pale in comparison to what I make going to cons, but that might be mostly my fault. I try to promote it as best I can, but I'll be first to admit it always comes second to promoting my cons. That has to change.

Number two: My Patreon is still open.
Another sadly underutilized feature on my site. Granted, i'm still kinda new to Patreon and I'm still figuring out all the cool things I can do with it. That is a road I need to go down a lot further.

Number three: Prism Comics and Northwest Press are still heavily repping me, and they go to WAY more cons than I do. Granted I won't be the only artist they're repping while they're out and about, but since I'm not gonna be there myself, then any representation is good representation. This gives me an excuse to still produce books.

There are other avenues I can go down, and I need need need to explore them further. In the mean time, I'm gonna do my best to keep this hiatus as short as possible but I gotta do what I can to help my family. In the mean time, the updates are going to be sparse, but there WILL be updates. Trust in this, dear readers.

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