Comicon Erie – ROUND 2!

I returned once again to Comicon Erie, and was surprised by a couple of things this year.

First, I brought a table buddy this year. This is Mack.

While not an artist, he helped a lot with carrying my gear in, setting up the table, and tracking sales.

I brought him with me because last year’s Comicon Erie was ABSOLUTELY PACKED on Saturday. People had a hard time moving up and down the aisle, even with the ample amount of space given.

This year, though… Saturday had a lower turnout than I expected. And the cosplay contest wrapped up at 5 pm but the show floor stayed open until 7. Not a lot happened once the cosplay contest was over. (I mean, there’s a reason a lot of shows have the cosplay contest be the last thing that happens in a day. Did it change because they got overwhelmed last year?)

Sunday had more attendees this year than last year. Plus there were some vendors and artists who said they did better sales on Sunday than on the previous two days. That makes sense, since there are some con goers who wait until the end, after scoping everything out, to go back to the artists and vendors they liked.

But this year, I’ll be honest, I was expecting more out of Comicon Erie than what was there.

I don’t know if there was another event happening at the same time, but attendance was not what I expected it to be. And that affected my sales. I earned less this year compared to last year.

On top of that… well, I need to preface this: at large shows like this one or Phoenix Comicon, etc, on Day 3 there will be a form on your table asking, “Hey! Would you like to reserve this same spot next year? Just fill out this form and include a deposit, and we’ll reserve this for you next year!”

This year the convention was asking for a larger deposit than what they asked for last year.

I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt and say, “Well, the convention center is likely raising the rates on everything.” (Convention centers do that. A LOT.)

But look – I did so well last year I decided to reserve the spot and come back this year. But this year actually earned me less in sales. And now the center wants a LARGER deposit out of me?

What if sales just keep going down every year and the deposit gets increasingly larger and larger? I’m not interested.

Plus, it’s not cheap for me to go to this con- I’m not local. So I would have to pay for hotel (or at least an AirBnB), food, the convention floor spot, and gas to get there.

Also, chairs were not provided with the table this year. Somehow I missed that detail on the application, but I thought that (like MOST OTHER comic conventions), chairs would be provided with your table space. But not here!

I asked one of the con organizers to bring me a chair – which I would need to pay to rent out. But they never got back to me. So I was on my feet ALL THREE DAYS of the show. Thankfully I didn’t give my money before they took my request and ditched me – and I had a table neighbor who lent me his chair once in a while. (And now’s a good time to give a shout-out to Keith Cunningham – on Instagram @cartoonkeith. Check out his comics! He lent me his chair.)

So, Comicon Erie, I love you, but I won’t be going back next year.

That said, I saw some posts from folks I follow on Instagram – turns out, there WAS a convention happening the same weekend, but in Maryland. Small Press Expo (or SPX).

I’ve always wanted to go to this show, so I plan on going to SPX in lieu of Comicon Erie next year.

I hear that SPX is harder to get into, though. So I’ll have to do my best!

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

West Virginia Pop Culture Con: ROUND 2!

My second year at West Virginia Pop Culture Con went SUPER FREAKING WELL.

Somehow Dave (my table buddy and Patreon patron) and I managed to get TWO table spots (don’t ask me how. I’m still baffled). I wasn’t prepared for the extra long table space, but now I’m getting ideas for how I want to do a two-table spread at future cons, if that ever happens again. Or even better – a corner spot.

This year was awesome, not just for me but for Dave, as well. It also went really well for Cheyenne, another art buddy! WV Pop Con is really the place to go as an indie creator, because the show focuses a lot on the creative talent. I don’t think there were any celebrities at this show, except (arguably) for the guy who’s currently working on the art for Scooby Apocalypse, Patrick Olliffe.

There was only one thing that did not turn out well at WV Pop Con, and that was the silent auction I had for the framed original inks and lines for “God.”

pagan god illustration

For one thing, I forgot the jar to slip bids into. Oops.

Not that it would have mattered, because there were only two bids placed on this baby – one bid was for $5. The other was for $7.

My minimum bid was $50.

So, not going to do the silent auction again. I kept the framed art piece because I am NOT selling off an original art piece measuring 11 by 17 inches WITH A FRAME for $7.

Just gonna’ mark it to $150 as a flat rate and take it to Comicon Erie (unless someone in Saint Clairsville, OH, Wheeling, WV, or Youngstown, OH REALLY wants it. In which case, leave a comment. Let me know).

On the more positive side of things, my profit margin was higher than last year because I lowered my cost on one major thing – a place to crash.

Last year I stayed at a hotel (La Quinta). This year I stayed at an AirBnB and saved myself an EASY $100.

Another thing – having a table buddy lowered my table cost. And it got Dave a place to showcase his work… which is good because it turned out that this was his best show as an exhibitor EVER.

Win-wins all around!

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

P.S. The AirBnB I stayed at had a 15-year-old cat named Splash. She is the sweetest ball of fluff I ever had the joy of holding and petting.

Comics & Coasters at Kennywood Comicon

kennywood comicon artist alley table 2018

This past Sunday, June 17, was not just Father’s Day, but also Kennywood Comicon. Yep, a comicon was held in an amusement park.

It was pretty cool, not gonna lie.

kennywood comicon skyline 2018

The way the show was set up this year, though, had the artists situated in a picnic pavilion tucked behind the elephant ear booth. It was great to get shade and the occasional breeze. However, we were just tucked away enough that cosplayers by the lagoon had to direct traffic back to us.

Which, holy banana pants, kudos to those cosplayers. It was sunny, humid, and over 90 degrees, and the cosplayers were in full Star Wars and Spiderman/Deadpool get-up. How they did NOT die is a testament to how well con staff treats folks.

I also need to give a big shout-out to my comics buddy and patron on Patreon, Dave. He helped cover for food and helped me carry my con gear back to my car at the end of the day. Thank you so much, Dave!

(I’ll go ahead and take this time to let you know that Dave now has a Patreon page of his own. If you like data graphs showing the methods of dying in the Star Trek original show, or illuminated manuscripts of the Holy Hand Grenade speech from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, get thee to his Patreon page!)

On the upside, sales from Kennywood Comicon DID help make up for the loss I took from Put-N-Play the weekend before. The downside is, not by a whole lot.

That’s partially why I have commission pre-orders open. For folks who are attending my next show on June 24, Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh, I’ll draw a black-and-white, full-body commission of a character of your choice for $25. You just need to email me (kelci@kelcidcrawford.com) to get started. If you’re on my email list, you already know all about this, because I just sent an email out yesterday announcing this pre-order sale.

There’s also a couple of appearances I’m set to do on June 23, the day before the zine fest!

Appearance #1 is Punk, Comics, and Feminism: A Discussion Group at The Big Idea Bookstore at 5 pm. It’s free for everybody to attend.

Appearance #2, at 7 pm that same day, I’m doing a live reading of my comic Johnson & Sir at the Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh Zine Reading. That will be at the Irma Freeman Center, also free to attend.

I hope to see you in at least one of these appearances!

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

YWCA Mini-Con 2018: The Best MiniCon (So Far)

ywca minicon artist alley table 2018

Saturday, May 26 was the second annual YWCA Mini-Con in Wheeling WV. And there were a couple of things I forgot from last year:

a) just like last year, this fell on the same day as a marathon happening in downtown. So my usual route to get to the YWCA was closed off. Oops.

b) there was AC, but the room we were set up to sell our wares in was large and didn’t circulate the air.

c) I had wall space!

I took full advantage of that wall space to hang up my clearance prints. I sold way more comics than prints, BUT I did sell two clearance prints. THAT helped.

In fact, a lot of my clearance stuff got sold out at this show. Thank you, peeps who bought those! You helped clear the way for new art and comics in the future.

If you’re interested in any clearance or limited edition things, here’s a link to my Storenvy shop. There’s TWO “Jamie and the Dragon” miniprints left! And FOUR “Faerie Queen” left!

faerie queen limited edition print

Back to the show, it was great to be there once more. Seeing all my repeat fans, getting to know peeps better, chatting with the pagans in attendance (Wheeling has a surprisingly large pagan contingent in the city). It was all fun!

By the end of the day, it was the most profitable one-day show I had done thus far. In fact, I made more than I made at last year’s show! I think the clearance items helped. So did having two new books and some new zines.

10/10. Would do again.

(Also there was pizza given to vendors. My “Smile! Pizza Loves You” shirt I wore that day was prophetic!)

And now, I’m going to rest before I restock and prep for the next show. I am, as the French would say, le pooped.

My next show is not until June 8 through 10, at Put-N-Play at Put-N-Bay. I have never been to this con. I’m only going because my buddy and Dance Around the Maypole collaborator Chloe talked me into it. Wish me luck!

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

P.S. River City Comic Con got cancelled. The organizer has fallen into ill health. Be sure to wish him well on the River City Facebook Page!

The RathaQuest of RathaCon

rathacon artist alley table 2018

So…Many…Puns… But it was so worth it!

I almost didn’t go this year because RathaCon was the same day as the first day of Ohio Valley Pride in Wheeling. However, the RathaCon table was booked by the time I found out Ohio Valley Pride was happening, and I didn’t want to back out of my commitment because I know my fans down in Athens would have missed me.

I’m glad I went, though, because this was the most financially successful RathaCon I have attended so far! I think it helps, too, that my table buddy this year and I had a good chemistry – our jokes seemed to entertain the attendees, at the very least!

Yes, I had a table buddy at this year’s RathaCon – she goes by the online handle of Arcanineryu and this was her first selling-at-a-convention experience. I think she did great!

In fact, we both had REALLY good sales. One element that I think helped the most with that was the RathaQuest the convention organizers ran.

RathaQuest was a scavenger hunt: you went up to one of the convention organizers (conveniently cosplaying as a Sim with an exclamation mark over her head), and she would give you a card that listed a clue on it. The clue was either to find a specific table and ask a question, or to go to every table and say a password and they would give you a piece of a puzzle, or to go to a table for a clue hidden directly on the table. You bet your bottom dollar I was part of that scavenger hunt, and the guests and I had a great time with it. I was a clue holder: you had to find my table and ask, “What is Hexacon, and what are the duck-sized horses?”

(Hexacon is a convention that happens in Johnson & Sir: it’s a witches convention, and one of the attractions is the duck-sized horses. Unfortunately, at one point, they get loose.)

The RathaQuest was REALLY fun and I hope the organizers do it again next year.

There were some artists that felt the convention should have been had when the school year was open, because Athens is a college town (Ohio University is there). However, I feel a bit differently about it: see, when I was in college at Bowling Green State University, the anime club hosted a one-day convention called Animarathon. It’s a convention still held annually.

The problem is this: yes, attendance will grow enormously. Your sales will not. Because college students are notoriously broke.

I think I would rather go to a convention that’s geared towards the local community and happens in the summer, instead of going to a convention during the school year that attracts a lot of attendees who say to you, “I can’t, I’m too broke.”

But that’s just me. What do you think?

By the way, my next convention appearance is this weekend at 3 Rivers Comicon, May 19 and 20 in West Mifflin, PA. It’ll be at the Century III Mall. There’s free parking and food trucks, if that further entices you. And yes, I will be sharing a table with someone at this show, too, this time with Kampie from Classic Plastics earlier this year. I’m excited to be sharing a table with Kampie again! Also, Arcanineryu will be at the show, as well, so be sure to stop by her table, as well!

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.