Last weekend saw the Sydney stint of Supanova, the huge 'pop culture' expo. I and other comic creators from all over Australia came to sell their wares to the not so interested public. Already you may note a hint of cynicism in my voice which I must apologise for. I knew I wasn't going to be getting an expo like those I attended in England but the punters here were not coming to buy comics. Everything else to do with comics outside the creation and collection of comics is the focus of this expo. TV stars of shows like Buffy, computer games, Manga (I apologise once again as Manga are comics but the comic side aren't the focus here), cosplay (a new word for me: a word to describe those who dress up as their favourite comic, TV, movie, anime, etc character) and wrestling??? All that aside Artist's Alley was a decent size and saw a decent amount of traffic and sales were close to what I expected.
I was sharing a table with Trevor Wood, illustrator of Sawbones, up near the edge of the expo opposite the 501st Legion. Jason Franks and J. Marc Schmidt were at a table to the left, Paul Abstruse and burlesque dance to the right and Burger Force and Brendan Halyday opposite. All together we made a nice little corner and boldly sold our comics, posters and drawings. Paul is a master salesman. There's no way I could do what he does, way too over the top for me, yet it works. All in all we had a successful weekend with Saturday serving some better while others faired better on Sunday. I covered my costs in terms of table rent, insurance and petrol (luckily I had a place to stay free of charge).
What it really comes down to in the end is critical mass. Australia just doesn't have the industry nor buying public to have a large expo designed specifically for comic creators. Or maybe that is what we all assume. An expo centred around comics and their creators may be able to garner enough public interest so as to make a reasonable platform for creators to make some real money, who knows. Avi Bernshaw is attempting this with Doujicon but there are conflicts of purpose in this convention and has thus far remained small. Other not comic specific festivals have been successful (checkout Bobby's Blog).
I have sounded very pessimistic in this post but I did have a really good time. Not only hanging out and catching up with my friends but the getting the satisfaction that people liked my work enough pay for it. I picked up a few local titles from some hot new talent including The Grave Shakers and a poster and sketch of wolverine from Gee Hale. Although I missed out on picking up a copy of Sgt Rock: Between Hell and a hard Place and getting it signed by the one and only Joe Kubert, I did manage, however, to give him a copy of the Dicks Anthology about which he said 'I want to spend time with this comic'. I was over the moon. A thoroughly worth while expo to attend and maybe in time we'll get a stronger position and punters will be there for us.
For Bobby's weekend click here and for J. Marc's click here.