ywca mini comic con artist alley table

In Wheeling, WV, there’s a YWCA, and they had their first Mini Convention this past Sunday, May 27th. It was like a comic convention, but small and only lasting from 12 pm to 5 pm, and admission was a donation of your choice to benefit the YWCA.

I was asked by the coordinator to come and set up a table to sell my work. As it turns out, I’m one of the few comics-makers in the area and I think people are starting to recognize me as “the comic artist.” It’s a little surreal.

Anyway, I set up to sell my stuff (see the picture at the top). I honestly wasn’t sure how many people would show up, since this was kind of a last-minute affair and it was only going to last for 5 hours.

ywca mini comic convention crowd

Well, I can report that while people came in ebbs and flows, we definitely started out with a LARGE crowd. By the end of the day, I actually made the most sales of any one-day event I’ve had thus far in the last 3 years!

This tells me some good things:

  1. People love to support local artists.
  2. People WANT to support local artists.
  3. More comic cons should become community events.

Something I’ve noticed in the last month or two is that the most successful comic cons present themselves as local community events. Shows like Pittsburgh Indie Comix Expo, 3 Rivers Comic Con, and the YWCA Mini-Con were successful not just for artists, but for the local community as a whole, where people in the immediate area could stop by and support the artists who are their neighbors (or at the very least, fellow townies).

But maybe that’s a blog post for a different day.

Anyway, back to the mini con: there was a panel that happened in the later half of the day, talking about Women and Minorities in Comics, and it was hosted by some English professors from West Liberty University – as it turns out, they’re the only college in the US to have an undergrad major specifically for people who want to write comics (called the “Graphic Narrative Major”). I asked if I could join in on the panel, since I’m a creator of comics, and would help present an angle of comics as being made by minority creators, not just comics as literature to study for its representation of minority characters in comics.

I personally feel I could have done a better job when I spoke, because I realize in the moment I sounded…harsh. But I also felt it was necessary to talk about the very real problem of harassment in comics done to women and minority creators. I didn’t go into specifics or say any names, but I did make it clear that, at least at the major publisher level, it is still very much a boy’s club. I also made clear that if you want to support women, people of color, or LGBT creators of comics, you go to KickStarter.

Hey, I’d rather be upfront and honest than blow smoke at people and say “You can do whatever you want!” Pragmatism goes a long way.

Anyway, all in all, the YWCA Mini Con was a success! I hope they get to run it again next year, if not sooner.

More importantly, I hope other community centers and other YWCAs can do something similar for their communities, to give locals a chance to get together, even for just a day, and geek out about the stuff they like.

Thanks for Reading.

You. Are. Awesome.