I’m bringing my usual setup of comics. I’m also bringing…
A new (and framed) piece of original art, priced on a sliding scale,
Extra copies of The Stars of Fantasyville, my latest sketchbook,
misprints of The Legend of Jamie Roberts, volume 1,
The last of my pins from my (now closed) Pin Club,
2 for $1 stickers,
Lots of grab bags,
Materials to draw caricatures,
And a LOT more!
Any and all profits will help towards my move to a new apartment in May.
After this show, I have no other events lined up until maybe Free Comic Book Day (still figuring out plans for that weekend, to be honest).
HEADS UP: My online shop will be closed during RathaCon weekend. It should reopen sometime on Sunday, April 2. That said, commissions are still open. Any and all commission sales will help towards moving to a new home.
I’m VERY excited about RathaCon! Hope to see you there!
I’ve been to RathaCon many a year before. It was one of my first shows as a vendor, and has since become one of my anchor shows. Because of that, I do my best to go every year. I even turned down the offer to go to Awesome Con in Washington, DC again to get to RathaCon instead.
(Mostly because both shows were happening on the same weekend… but RathaCon is physically closer to me and lasts only one day. So I could just drive down, show off, and drive back home without paying for a hotel. Very nice.)
However, this year, RathaCon had a couple of things working against it.
See, Awesome Con wasn’t the only other show happening the same weekend: there was also Gem City Comic Con, and two other shows in West Virginia that I can’t remember the names of. So RathaCon had to work extra hard to get folks to come in.
To my understanding, they ran radio ads, because there were a few attendees who mentioned, “I didn’t know this show was a thing until I heard about it on the radio yesterday! So I HAD to check it out!” So, kudos to the RathaCon staff for getting the word out.
That said, the crowd this year was about the same size as last year’s audience, but they thinned out WAY sooner towards the end of the day. Partly because of the rain, I think.
I’m not sure how many attendees were current students of Ohio University, though.
One of the reasons the convention staff picked the day they did was to try and entice the local college crowd to come and attend.
But here is where another factor worked against them: April 27, the day of RathaCon, was a week before finals. No sane college student is leaving campus the day before finals week hits, unless they are Sherlock Holmes’-level of confident about their work.
When I talked about it with the staff, we mentioned the idea of offering discounted attendance to people who brought a valid OU ID. Hopefully they do that next year.
Another thing I hope they do next year: get volunteers who check in with the artists more often throughout the day. I was the only person at my table and, aside from the one or two times I could see another neighbor’s table, I could not leave my spot. I’m glad I packed a lunch.
This is a grievance I’ve already discussed with the staff, and they’re working to resolve the issue for next year. I’m confident they’ll fix it, because RathaCon is VERY good at accepting constructive criticism and working to improve year after year. That is one of the reasons they are my anchor show.
In conclusion: was this the best ever RathaCon so far? No. It wasn’t awful or even bad. But there will be changes next year. Hopefully for the better.
And hey! I booked another appearance before 3 Rivers Comicon!
If you’re in the Saint Clairsville, OH area on May 4, stop at New Dimension Comics in the Ohio Valley Mall. They’re running Free Comic Book Day, and they gave the OK for me to showcase and sell my work. Also, there will be a GhostBusters division there. (I talked to some GhostBusters at RathaCon and they mentioned they were appearing at FCBD at the comic shop.)
After much discussion and user feedback via Instagram, the votes trended towards THIS design shown up top. So I drew it.
RathaCon is host to a LOT of nerdy events, from tabletop gaming rooms to belly dancers and Quidditch. I wanted this design to incorporate the many scenes that RathaCon has played host to.
I even squeezed in some gears for the steampunk elements, because there’s a steampunk contingent that appears every year. Magic: The Gathering cards and comic books will fill up some of the spaces around the edges. Plus the GhostBusters logo is to homage the local GhostBusting team.
There’s still some details to fit in, but so far it’s off to a great start. Don’t ya’ think?
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!
At RathaCon this year there was a guy who worked as a T-shirt printer who came up to my table. I took a second to get some feedback from him about potential T-shirt designs.
The thing is, the most popular request I get for a T-shirt is, “Do you have the T-Rex Sissy Fight as a shirt?”
I did, once upon a time, when I still had a RedBubble account. I deleted my account for a few reasons, but mostly because I wasn’t making money on that site, and I like being in charge of my own printing and taking the products with me to conventions.
However, T-shirts are something I don’t want to print from home because the equipment is 1) huge, and 2) expensive. But if I DID get T-Shirts made, I wanted them on hand, again, to sell at conventions. So I’ve been on the lookout for T-shirt printers, but only in passing.
Anyway, I asked this guy if he could print T-Rex Sissy Fight T-shirts with the colors in the image.
Because here’s the thing – mass-produced T-shirts typically use screen-printing or a method of printing that only uses one or two colors. It’s easier to replicate onto fabric that way. BUT the image I have of the T-Rex Sissy Fight is not that at all. It would require a more sophisticated version of heat transferring, to transfer the image onto the fabric, which tends to get pricey.
What this dude said surprised me.
He said, “The T-Rex Sissy Fight may get more interest, because it IS nerdy, but it won’t sell. But THIS,” to which he pointed at my Dia de la Gata card, “this would be more worthwhile to pursue. You would sell the hell out of that design.”
I can see where he’s coming from. When he pointed out my la Gata card as being the better T-shirt design, he was thinking of what would be easier to sell at places like Rue 21 or Wal-Mart, or other places where T-shirt designs are ubiquitous.
And yeah, la Gata would probably sell well in those kinds of markets.
But making art for t-shirts…is that what I want to do?
It’s kind of the same dilemma that hit my buddy Thom Hotka, creator of Nextuus, in this video:
There was also a piece of advice I got from my Intro to Entrepreneurship instructor when I was still in college. We were given the assignment of thinking of a business, and one of his rules was “Do NOT pitch a T-shirt company. Everyone wants to start one and the market is oversaturated with people making T-shirts in their dorm rooms. Think of something else.”
There is truth to that statement. At every convention I go to there is, at minimum, three T-shirt vendors, or people who have a main line of products who also have T-shirts. Even at small shows like Intervention Con.
Do I really want to include T-shirts in my line, given how ubiquitous they are, and how expensive they are to make and store?
I don’t know. I’m still thinking this through. Let me know what you think down in the comments.