Don’t let Sacha fool you- he may make smoking look cool…but it’s not. He’s not proud of it, he doesn’t enjoy it…in fact, he really wants to quit. But smoking can become an addiction- and he goes absolutely OFF THE RAILS when he tries to stop cold turkey. I hope he can find a way… the health effects are catching up to him ;_;
When I was sorting through my illustrations to find my favorite of each character, I realized my favorite of Friday is no longer applicable to my current style…so I redrew it ;^) I’m also hosting a costume contest on my socials, so be sure to head over to my Instagram or Twitter to enter before Halloween!!
I am very happy to announce that season two will be posting publicly (on all platforms) starting
OCTOBER 31, 2022
((of course, patrons will be getting early access AND a special bridge episode between seasons one and two…))
This season is going to be very Ian-centric (*Ian fans scream in delight*)…but not in a good way. You will be learning a lot about him in this season, and what has happened before he joins Nick and Friday in their apartment (how we are used to seeing him). He will be getting his haircut, a few scars, and a new addiction…not to mention some more red flags…
I attended the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market (TPRFM) in Edison, NJ last Saturday (Sept 10), and this is how it went down….
Highlights for the TL DR Crew:
It was extremely well organized
It was the biggest event I’ve done yet
There were not many artists (comparatively)
The vibes were excellent, vendors were diverse
I enjoyed it very much as a vendor and as a visitor
I did not make my table
I would like to go again as a visitor, but not ready as a vendor yet
Arriving/ Load In Experience
I was really anxious about how the arrival/load in process was going to go. They advertised over 400 vendors attending, and I was really worried it would be super messy, bumper to bumper, craziness! But, that’s not what happened! There were multiple staff members outside helping to direct traffic for fast unloading in the back of the convention center, then an easy direct to the main parking area. I arrived and saw so many people running around, but the TPRFM crew waived me down and directed me with ease. When I walked into the loading dock with my items, they simply requested my last name, confirmed my business name, gave me a wristband and a map and it was on-
Super smooth, very clear, and infinitely easier than previous events.
The vendors and the visitors
One thing that I enjoyed very very much about this event- the diversity of the vendors! There were SO MANY different things on offer! From a homemade pickle company selling pickles and hot sauce, to jewelry, to crystals and crystal sculptures, there was even a leatherworker! I really appreciated all the interesting items to see!
And to be honest, it also meant a lot less competition for me. I saw very few artists there, maybe four or five out of 400 vendors!
The vendors I spoke to were all very sweet folks, great to talk to, and very encouraging.
The visitors/participants were also pleasant! I identify myself as “punk” adjacent, so I enjoyed the aesthetics of the visitors who came! There wasn’t anything like cosplay, but those who showed up gave me lots of inspo for Ian and Sacha outfits *wink*. I actually had more people come visit my booth without prompting than I did at the anime convention! While there were several folks who said they don’t really read comics/webcomics, there is a big overlap (in my opinion/experience) of people who enjoy punk/alternative aesthetics and comics/anime/manga. That proved relatively true at this event as well! I met many lovely and interesting people that were vibing with my cause. While not everyone purchased something or signed up for my newsletter, I hope they check out my webcomic– since in the end, thats the goal!
The bells and whistles
This event had a lot of additional components that I greatly enjoyed! There were food trucks, live music, and LIVE TATTOOING! IT WAS SO COOL! And the food trucks were delicious! It was a lot more than just a selling market- which made the whole experience a lot more enriching!
How I did as a vendor
Soooo… I didn’t do too well, but I did better than my last shit show of an event. I did not break 100$, and my table was 155$, so that was a bit painful. I did come with only 8 comic books, which is my best seller, because I ran out of materials and didn’t want to waste the money and effort to make more when they might not sell at this last event…but guess what? They sold out!
I might have been able to get one or two more comic book sales if I had brought more, but I sold my last one within an hour of the event ending…so I don’t regret not bringing more. Fortunately they will be restocked on my website in the next month- so anyone who is still interested can get it there!
This is the end of my convention circuit this year. With all the loses I’ve taken financially, and big future spending coming up, I cannot rationalize more events this year. I will not be going to events next year either, for reasons I will disclose on my next newsletter post (be sure to subscribe!).
HOWEVER, I am still looking for new and unique ways to advertise my project. I have committed to ordering my Blue Shorts comic book from a wholesale printer going forward because…
I will be approaching local comic book shops to carry my comic!
I don’t want to use handmade comics in this case, since I think uniformity is very important in these types of sales. However, I do intend to do limited “studio print” runs on future comics/books like I did with this one. I like the “collectible” aspect of it ;).
BY THE WAY- with existing inventory still hanging around- I’ve marked down my products on my shop (US shipping on prints and stickers is free) ! Since I won’t be going to an event for a while, I don’t doubt my style will change/improve by the time I’m back in the game…so I need to get the old inventory OUT! Check out the sale now, all proceeds go to the bulk order of my comic books and recouping my loses from this convention season!
I am working on a portrait series of all the main characters from Blue Remedy to turn into a color block type poster. I asked on IG which one should be posted publicly (the rest are going to be on patreon only… I only have Friday left to do!), and it was a four way tie… Go figure!
So I decided to go with Nick, since he’s my favorite ;^). This is one of the prints I have available at the convention…and my shop! Check it out!!
For my crew members who hate reading, grab the highlights:
Event was super disorganized and messy
The audience was either older men or small children (some exceptions)
The vibe was 95% vintage/classics
I left early, it was too stressful for me to handle (read more!)
My second convention was…an experience.
Listen, I pull no punches. I will be completely honest about my experience at Nerdfest 2022 in Swedesboro, NJ.
It was terrible. I hated it. And I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one…read on for details!
I showed up 15 minutes after set up started- which was apparently a smart move.
At this event I had to bring my own table, along with many other people. Since I know my set up is very small and quick, I wasn’t in a rush to get there and start setting up in the full 1.5 hr time frame that was given to vendors. I rolled in about 15 minutes later than start, and apparently that was a smart move. I ended up asking a vendor where they signed in- because the whole place was a mess of people, and there were no clear identifiers of who was staff and who was a vendor. Thankfully the vendor got me to the right person pretty quickly, and they sat me down in a small ballroom with a bunch of other vendors who brought their own tables.
Oh yeah, and the AC was definitely off and we were all sweating our asses off.
The vendor who was placed beside me (nice guy) lamented that he had been there for 20 minutes and just NOW got assigned a spot. His set up was a lot more involved than mine, so I bet he needed that time! Clearly, this was super disorganized and messy to start. did I mention the AC? Yeah, I know, I am still mad about it. I was sweating out of my clothes (LITERALLY) before the AC was finally on. Literally- what the hell?
The visitors were majority not my target audience, and were not interested in me at all
I was lucky (I thought) to be placed right in front of the entrance door- being the first table you see when you come into the ballroom. Unfortunately, that didn’t do me much good.
The majority of the visitors who first came in were older men who bee-lined to the vintage comic books being sold by retailers. No shade to our mature kings, but that is not the audience my story is aimed to, so that was not something I was happy to see. The second most common were families with small children. Also not my target audience, but you never know! My story is relatable to all ages! There were a handful of engaging people I talked to and checked out my comic, and that was nice to see :^) but honestly, a solid 95% were there for classic comic books, fanart of the classics, and old toys.
There was one elderly woman who decided my table was a good place to put down her purse and block have my merchandise (why?????) and proceed to knock it all over (WHY????!). How nice.
I felt a bit misled, I wont lie. The headliners for this event were original comic creators, so I thought I would be more in my element. I had high hopes for this event- which is not what happened AT ALL. I only netted two small sales before the final straw had me packing up and leaving 2.5 hrs early…
The Screaming cosplayer
Starting the day in sweat soggy clothes was not setting this event off on a good foot. I was already irritated, uncomfortable, and not doing my best when it comes to outreach. I was definitely more reserved at this event, but I engaged when someone lingered at my table.
And then…the screaming started.
If you aren’t familiar with the crisis in America regarding violence and such, then some random person screaming may not seem like the biggest deal ever. However, if you’re from here… you know . The first shout/ scream had us all looking at each other warily. The second one had us on our feet. A man was shouting/screaming shrilly in short bursts every minute- and it was UNNERVING. I felt my anxiety start to bubble in my stomach and work it’s way through my body. I could see through the doors into the lobby that people were recording and smiling, so we determined that no one was in danger (but really, who knows?) But honestly, at that point? I was DONE. BIG DONE.
As I started packing up my stuff to go, another vendor walked in to see us. She stayed at my table for a while and I did my spiel, and I ended my talk with the fact I was packing up because I couldn’t take the stress from the disorganization and the screaming. She let me know that there was someone cosplaying Black Panther, and he does this at every event- scream and make a show for people. That seems incredibly tone deaf considering the current situation in this country- if you ask me. If there was going to be some kind of LARPing moment or something, there should have been a warning from management, don’t you think? If I knew someone was going to do some kind of interactive panel that involved shouting and screaming, I wouldn’t have panicked. But this was just another example of how this whole event was a shit show. The high stress/anxiety I was going through was not worth trying to recoup my losses from my table.
This event was terrible.
I really don’t have any good things to say about it. From the set up, location, organization, and execution, it was not a good time. Honestly, I do not plan to attend ANY event in the future that is organized by the people who did this one.
I had much higher hopes for this event- thinking that a comic centered event would be more my speed. I was wrong, and that is fine, but I’m more frustrated with the management of it. I thought I would be able to net a profit at this event, since the tickets were only $45. I didn’t even get half of that back. Uncle is getting frustrated that I am not breaking even at these events…which I don’t mind so much, since my main goal right now is to get seen…but he is starting to see this hobby of mine as a financial burden when we have other, important bills to pay. If you are interested in helping me recoup my loses and keeping my project at net 0, visit my support page and learn how to help keep this project going.
A quick bullet point for my blue crew who hate reading blogs (relatable)
The event was organized enough, but seemed very much a “help yourself” moment.
End of the day, I was $3 short of making my table ((with ONLY original work))- it was a success imo
The vibes were inclusive and welcoming, I didn’t feel like a misfit
The customers/visitors were polite and open to my marketing
Customers were there for fanart
There were some really cool people who I caught a vibe with (vendors and visitors)
I’m glad I went!
I likely won’t go to a Puchicon event again
Keep reading for the details…
Original Art vs Fanart ::
So as everyone here probably already knows- I do original work. All of my free time goes into working on my web comic and the supporting materials for it (illustrations, a printed comic, etc etc…). I walked into a fan based con fully well knowing that fanart is what people come to artist alley for. But you know what? I didn’t do too bad! I left the con $3 short of paying for my table, which is, in my opinion, a WILD success! At least, in the setting I was in. If I went to an original art/ original comics type convention and didn’t make my table I’d probably feel pretty shit.
My most purchased item was my comic book, which was what I expected (I only had ONE left at the end!!!). I sold a few stickers and two copies of one of my Patreon only prints- oh, and one tote too! I was really tickled :^). I wasn’t worried about moving my products because I have two more conventions coming up soon, so I knew I’d be able to roll it over. I didn’t mark down anything on the last day because, to be honest, I already have my items as cheap as I can sell them without taking a loss. I make everything myself at home, so I have a lot of things to consider when I price my items- not just the cost of having someone make it for me.
I did a lot of research before going into the convention, trying to find out how to manage an all original works inventory at a fan based con. I didn’t find any information, to be honest… so here’s some for the next person:
You can absolutely sell your own work at a fan con. Will you make bank? Probably not. Not in my limited experience. But I did almost break even, and the “press” was worth it.
Meeting people face to FACE :: Marketing and networking
The overall vibes at Puchicon of the customers and the vendors were certainly positive and inclusive. I was worried about fitting in, which…I mean, I didn’t really *fit in* since the only fandom I am in is my own (lol?)…but it was an inclusive atmosphere where I didn’t feel left out for not being a weeb. There were only a few visitors that I reeled in to my table (yes, I was fishing hard, hollering at everyone who made the mistake of looking in my direction) who were completely uninterested and didn’t want to listen to my spiel. Most of them, even if they were just being polite, took a handout about my comic and said they’d check it out. Hey, even if they don’t, they were polite and nice to me and I can’t ask for more.
There was a small subset of people that I met who were definitely picking up what I was putting down, and we had a solid creative connection. Those folks signed up for my newsletter (mostly), asked thoughtful questions, told me about their own experiences as creatives, crafters, musicians, etc, and we had a very nice conversation. It is always really cool to meet like minded people! A handful of my visitors already knew my comic!!!! Imagine, I was sobbing internally.
The other vendors I spoke to were very kind and thoughtful! There were many who already knew each other from previous conventions, but since this was my first one I didn’t know anyone. They were very welcoming and talkative, giving me lots of advice and support. Many of them came and supported my table, saying that they do original work too but don’t bring it to cons/ don’t have a lot of it in inventory because they are hesitant with the tiny audience that original art is attractive to. I totally understand their hesitance, and if I had time I might do fanart too…but I don’t enjoy it- and as I tell anyone who asks, I have zero intention of making profit off my story…I’m just trying to break even, so I am not chained to the customers whims.
Admin aspects of Puchicon
So…I had low expectations for the administration of this convention. I looked up some reviews about previous Puchicon conventions, and there were complaints about poor organization, little to no help, etc. Since this was my first convention I had nothing to compare it to… but, it was fine. They told me where my table was, and that was about it. I didn’t interact with the staff members much in a vendor/staff capacity. I did hear the staff members ask other vendors how they were doing and if they needed anything…but they didn’t ask me, so, I can’t say anything about that. But I had my table, I had my chairs, the room was locked overnight and when I arrived on Sunday it was still locked. I asked if they could open it and the hotel folks came and did so quickly. So, if you are self sufficient you’d be fine at a Puchicon convention. If you need hand holding and whatnot, maybe not a good choice. Other vendors told me this was the most organized they’d ever been, and it was still not at the caliber of other conventions. I guess I’ll find out when I go to the next two events.
No shade to the staff, they were polite.
What I’d do differently
I think my table setup was cute, and I liked how it was clear and concise as far as what I had to offer. I am not a fan of super crowded displays. BUT, next time, I plan to have individual price cards to put near the items to compliment the full price list. I think it was too hard for people to know at a glance what was for sale, how much it was, etc.
Also, I think I’ll make a sign that I take commissions. I don’t think that was clear enough with just the commission section of my folder. The folder mostly stayed open to the newsletter page.
What’s next for Blue Rabbit Comics?
While tabling at a con is very challenging and tiring (especially when you’re hawking your own stuff and have to be super alert to grab every single person you can), I am very glad I went and I plan to do more conventions in the future (besides the ones I already signed up for). There is something special about connecting with people on a more personal level face-to-face, and IRL marketing is harder for them to escape from (buahaha). I haven’t checked my stats on my platforms yet, but I am hoping that my web comic will get a readership boost from this!
Will I table at Puchicon again? Probably not. I don’t think so. While it was a great experience to go to a convention, I wouldn’t say Puchicon is exactly my vibe. It was very much fan based, fandoms/anime style. I had no idea who half the cosplayers were, and most of the visitors were there for fanart. A few of them didn’t care for comics/ web comics at all (who doesn’t like web comics????)… I think that conventions that focus more on original works and stories, comic books, etc, will be a better fit for me going forward. Additionally, I think the cost of the table wasn’t worth it since I barely broke even. The cost x the general audience = not a good fit for BRC.
Oh yeah, and if you show up to one of the cons I’m at cosplaying as one of my characters, I’ll give you a free “teams” sticker for the character you cosplay ;^) but you have to come up to me and tell me!!! :^D
But what can I say? I feel like I had some really good ideas in the past that I couldn’t really execute with the skill level I had then. It makes me both proud and also embarrassed to share these redraws…On one hand, it’s like, “damn ma, you did a lot in two years!” but I also want to hide my head because I am endlessly embarrassed that I thought my old work was good… but hey, we have to start somewhere- and it all just takes practice!