It can be rough out there trying to break into the comic industry. It is all about knowing people, doing good work and in the long run spending lots of money. That last part is the tough one because of the economics of the system. Paying for convention tables, paying to print work, paying for hotels, paying for travel, paying for food and even paying for other people’s work because you need to stay up to date on comics – it can suck.
And so Saturday at HeroesCon after what had been a pretty miserably slow day for sales, I rode the exercise bike, took a long soak, wished I had more money for booze and then took a nap. Pre-nap I was stupid. I was considering quitting comics. I was calling myself a failure and hating myself and just getting super depressed. The lack of sleep had gotten to me. That nap saved me and the weekend. For one thing, it put me in a better mood, for another thing it prevented me from doing something while tired and delirious and it really set Heroes Con in place for me.
Last year when I went to HeroesCon with Joe Hunter and my friend Tim who doesn’t do comics, we chose to stay 30 minutes away from Charlotte to save money. I chose to not really drink. And I think it ended up being pretty sucky leaving at 11 or 12 each night.
That Saturday I stumbled into the city hungry. I had eaten Moe’s for lunch, a reclamation of my college day. Unfortunately it was 8:30, I was delirious and I couldn’t find the Middle Eastern place I wanted – I seriously could have just gone for a bunch of pita and hummus.
I stumbled into the food fair but without cash to my name and fearing the dark god of the atm, I ended up walking through without finding anything till 9 pm when I arrived at the CVS I’d seen earlier. I was personally hoping for frozen burritos and I wandered through eventually remembering booze would be cheaper here than at the hotel – I paid $7.50 for a cheap cocktail called the Hulk last night – it was sour and not very strong.
Eventually Jon Hex called and decided to get booze. I asked my dad for beer advice (I prefer rum drinks and the liquor stores were closed) so when Jon arrived it was a decision between wine and beer. On my dad’s suggestion we got a 6 pack of Blue Moon and the holy artifact known as boxed wine – it was a red. I also grabbed gum, an Italian sub with an inexplicably hard to open plastic wrapper, a bag of Munchies and Sierra Mist.
We got back, invited friends (few who came) and the long point of wondering what to do occurred. I nominated myself the bartender – since someone had to let people into the room for boxed wine spritzers. I popped on the Old Gregg episode of Mighty Boosh and ended up drinking about 6 of them before Ziah twittered to come down and be social.
The spritzers were weak but I was bored enough to come down and so began a night of getting twittered at to come down and hang with people.
What started with a simple hang out with friends ended up with me hanging out with Patrick Dean (indie comics master and all around excellent person), Jeremy Whitley (of Princeless and Action Lab), Chris Sims (mostly in passing since he hates me just enough to wish me to go to San Diego Comic Con), Dinesh Shamdasani of Valiant Comics and then finally I ended up at 2 am or so running into Jon as we took wine glasses from the bar and sat down with Jason Aaron. The Jason Aaron who I wrote that big Wolverine piece on.
I remember little of the conversation. Big moments included our secondary host whose name I forget pouring wine and frequently saying semper fi – he was a Marine as was his father before him. I was quiet – mostly I just said “I really loved your Wolverine stuff. I read it all over a week”. In reality it was about 1 day but I didn’t want to be presumptuous and the wine there was infinitely more powerful that the spoiler grape juice that is boxed wine.
And that was the moment where I was like – You gotta have fun. You gotta meet people. You gotta spend more money than you should and have a fun time and just relax a bit because worrying about the convention and how poorly you do won’t help. Meet people, have fun and end up helping your friend back to the hotel room because he’s falling asleep on the table.
Of course I wasn’t much better the next morning.