Saturday, February 24, 2018

Planet Comicon 2018 Bigger isn't better.

The updated setup, and me looking like I am about to tell you how "brutal" the new Nordic DeathCore Metal Album I'm all about is...  
I want to start off by saying that I'm not trying to be negative. I'm not. In this day and age, there's enough of that to go around. But I will be fair and open on how this is probably the last time I will be doing Planet Comicon. I know right? Sounds all click baity. Far from it. Read on inquiring mind readers!

First off, I did cover this in a series of vlog posts on my channel, I won't bog this update down with all the details on that, but you can check out the first of the three on my YouTube page.

A few things about my experiences with Planet. I started doing it about 8 or more years ago, and in some ways all of them have started to blur together. Every year, the show got bigger, the media guests invited were more well known, and more and more artists in the comics and other creative fields, started to come in to sell and stake claims.

Fast forward to 2018, and its a behemoth show. Seriously, you can burn Everest like calories walking to your booth from a loading dock, never mind as an attendee just trying to look at everything that is one display..

Now its no SDCC or NYCC, this is true. But it is a very large pop culture show. Notice I did not say "comic" show. Because, although there are a fair few creators and writers in the mix, there isn't much of a push to identify the new and constant indie creators that fill the vast majority of the tables. Nor is there much of a celebration of the unique and variable makers that fill the rest of artist alley.

With the show growing, so has the cost to attend, which for a family of four, is around just under $200 to get in the door. To get a table there if you pay early bird is around $200. That's a huge hit on wallets before they even get to spending inside the hall.

I'm not against anyone earning money. I wouldn't have three jobs currently if I didn't think that way. But I also don't understand how in this kind of economy, any show like this can hope to ask for prices like this to be paid.

It came down to this simple factor. I use a system to judge how much business interaction I will have at a convention. Every year with the exception of the first two times I did Planet, I had stacked business cards on my table. I knew how many were on the table and how many would be used up. Nothing novel right? But still a pretty good way to at least see customer interactions and people that come by to get things.

Well two things became apparent this year. One, I only handed out (I recounted it 3 times during breakdown of my booth on Sunday to be sure), 37 business cards. For a show that has a reportedly 60 to 80,000 attendance rate, that is so terrible it's on par with being made to watch Mexican soap operas.

My booth wasn't in a bad area, I was in the center of the show. I managed to get out of the show with just having earned a bit over $120. Now, I will admit there are a lot of other factors involved in whether or not someone makes money at a show like this. But my table was a $200 investment/gamble that didn't pay off. I can't justify that anymore.

But enough of all of that, let's get into the photos and the things that really were cool to see.

The nights before all of the shenanigans of Planet are like normal for me, working away at my workstation, and making sure I had everything accounted for before setup the next day.
The studio is a mess as usual...
But hours marched onwards, and after a little sleep the evening before the show, it was time to get to Bartle Hall, find my badge, and then get set up.
Pretty kick ass Ant Lucia artwork for exhibitors (should have gotten the badge signed). And the ever elusive WEST dock that you have to take the most indirect path in the world to find. If they told me the path was in a magical wardrobe I'd have believed it.
I've posted about set up at this show in prior show updates, and like all other years, it was the same old same. Drive in, dump off, drive out, park, come back, set up, and then leave praying to everything in the universe that you have a decent show.
My buddy Jake Angell made a heck of a debut setup at the show. I was freaking stoked to see his stuff and picked up a few things from him (I'll show those off in a later post).
Mega Man cosplay. More of my new series of digital works go to a new home!
To answer some of you that asked, yes, my Society6 page will have new art designs based on the robots added very soon.
I love it when old friends stop by, thanks for catching up with me you all!
I am hellaciously grateful for all of you that did stop by to talk to me and keep me company during the show.
It is so nice to see some retro arcade action, and families that cosplay together, hanging out at a con together.  
When I was living in Warrensburg, the local arcade had copy of Dragon's Lair that always was blaring in the background. I was and am still probably very horrible at that game.
More artwork with new owners!
So I discovered this insanely cute webcartoon called Corgli. And I swear it is the life definition of my own dog Kubo the mighty Loaf of le Fluff.
Kubo (two inset side photos) is wondering why o why he cannot have donuts or a pizza flag now. I ask myself that every day sir.
Because my studio is all kinds of filling up with my collections and tools and things I own, I am down to the last of the old retro toys I am searching for. And here is an open offer if any of you wanting artwork done want, and you have access to any of the toys from Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, I will so freaking trade for art for them. They have to be in good to great condition, parts accounted for, and ones I don't already have. I only have SawBoss at this point. But the way this would work, is that they are roughly valued at $30 for smaller vehicles to around $80 for the larger ones. I would do one and a half the value amount towards creating art for anyone that gets me some of these. (So if you got me a smaller vehicle, it would be worth $45 worth of artwork) You all can email me at if you want to know more.
(Left) Sawboss vehicle I found at the show. (Right) Screencap from the show. 
So let's talk some awesome people. I happen to know two. Ben and Cristen of Brass Engine Productions. These two consistently work every show out there they can get into, and are some of the most creative and just kick ass people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. If you see their booth at a show, go talk to them, tell them you heard how amazing they are, and then, buy something from them. Everything they have is just awesome and made with care and love.
Ben with 3D printed swords. An evil eye created by Cristin. Ben in cosplay as Talion Lord of the Rings.  Ben and Cristin celebrating his win as best in show for Cosplay.
Winding down during tear down, I was feeling pretty off. Low maybe,... nah, just off. Doing shows is a gamble, and I used to have a gambling problem, and,... well, that's a terrible comparison.

But the ladies from Dorky Dino were kind enough to share some excellent pizza with me, so midway through tear down, I just sat down, ate it, and enjoyed a diet pepsi (many thanks to my buddy Ernest for checking on me all weekend long, Aramark bros for life!), and just thought about what I was going to put in this blog update.
Pizza makes everything better. Just ask Corgli.
I'd always managed to wear myself down into the ground and after the end of almost every show, absconded from hanging out with friends. But I was happy to meet up with Brass Engine and cohorts for some after convention talk and humoured good times. It was good, no, it was more than that. I then remember that yes, shows will be hard. But the people that march along with you can make even the worst shows seem alright.
IHOP, and then no, that is not the lights of a random UFO in my rear view window...
Thank Odin that the cop that pulled me over was a nice guy. He was totally understanding about an oversight on my license plates. He saw my show badge, and asked me if I had played a show there (I guess he assumed I was a musician), but I said no, it was the big comic show and I just got done eating at the IHOP after the show. His expression softened and he smiled. After he ran my info he simply said "I'll let you off with a warning. Have a good night. Wear your seat belt, and remember... Captain America would have current plates."

I owe you one Cap.

Until next time, support your local artists, be kind to your fellow beings, and always take the path less traveled!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist

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