Flame Con 2015


This one only took me 3 months…

I had originally made plans to get there bright and early before the start of the convention to help set up. However, due to my not being an “official” vendor and the fact that I was still exhausted from the previous weekend at Special Edition NYC, I opted to sleep in a little bit. I got to the convention a little bit after noon. Dream Crasher won’t be printed until (hopefully) sometime in early 2016, so paying for a table when all I have are post cards and one print prototype wasn’t something I had initially planned on. However, fellow BSF Writer Donna Minkowitz offered me a split portion of her table with Roberta Degnore, and I couldn’t refuse. And so this became my first experience tabling at a convention. They’ve already expanded Flame Con into a 2-day event for next year, and I will be better prepared to make it count.

Brad Parks (founder of Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers) stopped by with some BSFW post cards. I also spoke with Kaila Hale-Stern – who wrote up a nice piece on the event for i09. I ended up being tabled right across from Justin Winslow, whom I knew through Instagram and finally got to meet in real life. I bought one of his wonderfully inappropriate Christmas cards.

I took some time walking the floor a little bit, running into a  few of the people I had seen the week before at Special Edition NYC. Steve Orlando was there again, as were the Wayward Raven crew. I love the bizarre mix of drag and Cosplay that the convention inspired. I met Eric Cooper and picked up an issue of Knightseeker, and I also bought Power – the official Flame Con anthology. Goal for next year – be an official vendor and get something submitted into this anthology. Let’s see how I do.

Toward the end of the show I met David Rondinelli, and spoke with him quite extensively.  picked up a stand alone issue of Node from him (which I quite enjoyed reading). At the very end of it all, I bought a copy of Donna’s book Growing up Golem. I do regret that I couldn’t make it to any of the panels. I’m realizing how hard that is to do when you have a table and a job to do. This time around I had no merchandise to sell. Next year I will. It was a good experience to get that perspective for the first time.

When the floor closed, I went out for some dinner with Brad (and a charged my phone). It was also nice to relax away from the crowds. We then walked back for the drag show and after party. I didn’t know what to expect from the show, but I can assure you that I would never have guessed it would involve a Nevele Longbottom striptease. That turned out to just be the beginning. What followed was equal parts wonderful and weird.

Storm walking out to Garbage’s “Only Happy When it Rains.” Princess Leia in the gold bikini Jabba the Hutt made her wear, to the tune of Britney Spears “Slave for You” (and then ripping off her wig to Britney’s “Crazy”). She Hulk. Lana from Archer. Sigorny Weaver’s character from Aliens. Geek and Drag make for some strange bedfellows, and we all know that life is more fun with strange bedfellows.

After the show I went to TNT with my friend Matt, who introduced me to Nathan Archer. More drag shenanigans ensued. Eventually my friend Terrance met up with us, too. I stayed out much later than anticipated. Thankfully I had Sunday to recover from the inevitable hangover and several weeks worth of accumulated sleep depravity.




Special Edition NYC 2015


It only took me 2 months to write this all up, but here goes…

Reed and I stayed up well passed midnight on Friday, cutting paper and using rubber cement to piece together our two prototype prints of Dream Crasher: Chapter 1. We listened to lots of Maria Bamford and Against Me! as we powered through it. It was labor intensive but absolutely worth it. The same can be said about the whole last five years we’ve been working on this.


With our binders and postcards in tow, Reed and I met up with Jaime at 51st street around noon, then walked over to Pier 94 for the convention. We made a quick pass on artist alley before checking out Let’s Talk About Checks: The Business of Professional Comics, which was moderated by Alex de Campi (Writer). Also on the panel were Joseph Illidge (Editor and Writer) and Vera Greentea (Writer and Jedi Master of Kickstarter Campaigns) among others. Some of the takeaways for me: having an agent isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – you can always hire a lawyer for reviewing individual contracts. Editors and Publishers are not the same thing and shouldn’t be treated as such – the Editor isn’t the one you want to write a scathing letter to when things go awry. In fact, it’s best to avoid scathing personal email rants altogether. Lastly, it is important to pay the artists for the work they’ve done. Not that I didn’t know that one, but it’s one that’s worth repeating. I particularly appreciated Vera Greentea’s story about cutting her page count down so she could afford to allocate more of her budget toward pay her artists.

After the panel I walked the floor a bit. Back at my first ever comic convention experience (NYCC 2012), I picked up the first few issues of First Law of Mad Science. So it was pretty cool to pick up Issue #5 this year. I also backed their Kickstarter for their first collected edition when I got home. It’s wonderful seeing the progress fellow independent creators have made over the years. Stopped by Steve Orlando‘s booth, who was already sold out of Midnighter #1, so I picked up a copy of the December 2014 Vertigo Quarterly.  I Also picked up Whatzit #1 by Gideon Kendall and The Calamitous Black Devils by Joseph Schmalke.

Next up was Writers Unite: Pitching Creator-Owned Comics featuring Charles Soule, Greg Pak, Marguerite Bennett and moderated by Jim Zub. There was some truly valuable tips and examples on how to pitch an idea. As a naturally long winded writer, this is something I know I need to work on. Marguerite Bennett sold me on her entire catalog of work with the example she gave (forgive my butchered paraphrasing): a “psycho-sexual fantasy” where “a nightmare falls in love with it’s dreamer.” There emphasis placed on the need to show that you can make consistent, professional quality work before anyone will pay you for it. Lastly, the host Jim Zub summed up a sentiment that really seemed to dominate my entire weekend: “most people don’t appreciate where there at.” It’s not about jumping to the top rung of the ladder. People in comics tend to move up and through it together. It’s about knowing your contemporaries, learning from and growing with them. Thinking about where I was just last year, with not even a title to show for four years worth of work Reed and I had put in, I have come along way. We have come a long way. We’re nowhere near finished but I can appreciate the progress and remind myself to enjoy the process.

This was all the perfect segue into the last event of the evening: Creator Connection hosted by Buddy Scalera and Dirk Manning. I’ve learned a lot about effective networking over the years, and I really like the way this event is set up. In rapid fire speed dating style, I exchanged business cards and conversations with some really talented people.  Right off the bat I got placed with Stan Chu, who has a really solid portfolio of some truly beautiful artwork. I also met Steve Pertivelli, who’s first comic Sweetie should be out later this year. At the tail end of the event I met Anna Leue, who had just finished the first issue of her webcomic Half Man (you can support it on Patreon). As the floor closed up, the Creator Connection moved to the Brew House a few blocks away for the after hours event setup by Stan, Steve, and J. Jacob Barker. Reed and I went along for a drink and some fries. I met a few more people, including James B. Emmett who just put out the first issue of his comic The Committee with Wayward Raven.

Reed and I ducked out of there a little early to grab some dinner with Jaime, which was followed by some celebratory ice cream at Sixteen Handles in Chelsea. It was near midnight by the time I got home, and not all that surprising that I overslept on Sunday morning.


After I overslept (and Reed kindly let me sleep in) we got to the upper west side and had wonderful lunch with Anna, her husband, and Half Man artist Patrick Tsao.My friend Alex also stopped by to take over Jaime’s Sunday pass. I found out that Anna and I would be crossing paths again in July at ReaderCon, and we talked a lot about process, business hurtles, and comic book finances. Fun stuff if you’re into that. We parted ways when we got back to Pier 94. I opted to not go to any of the Sunday panels, having already had a late start, and made a more decided to more thoroughly walk Artist Alley.

I picked up Nightmare World Volumes 1 & 2 by Dirk Manning, as well as The Bible 2 by Z.M. Thomas and Amelia Woo. I ended up stopping by the Hijack Press table and picking up The Cult House #1 from writer Joven Tolentino. I also had a really wonderful conversation with the colorist Kwan Wilson, and bought one of his last prints of “Winter Barbarian.”  Henchgirl creator Kristen Gudsnuk, whom I met at NYCC in the Fall, was also tabling. I snagged Issues 2-6, and am now eagerly anticipating #7.

After that I ran into Stan, from Saturday’s Creator Connection. He very graciously introduced me to a number of the other artists and writers he knew, including Soo Lee. If I had any more wall space/money to spare at that point in the day, I would have bought one of her beautiful prints. Instead I opted to spend my last $5 and picked up Fight Like a Girl #1, which Soo had drawn with writer/creator David Pickney. When my love for Power Rangers came up in the conversation, Stan quickly ushered me over to to meet writer Brian Visaggio and artist Kevin Roberts. They were unfortunately sold out of Stronghold Volume 1, but I still have every intention of getting myself a copy in the near future. I had exceeded my budget for the weekend, anyhow. Before the convention store closed, Stan gave me a copy of Carl D. Smith‘s Be Careful What You Wish For #1  – which features the short “The Courier” that Stan had done the art for.

All in all, one of the reasons it has taken me so long to write this is that WordPress deleted my first draft. The other reason is that I immediately followed this weekend with Flame Con, and then went to Reader Con with the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers a few weeks after that. It has been a wonderful, stressful, important, and inspiring two months. I have met and stayed connected with some truly talented individuals who are making some beautiful comic books. I needed to take some time to myself after it all (3 conventions in 6 weeks) to process everything, recalibrate, and remind myself that I’ve come along way and should appreciate where I’m at.

One of the more important things I learned from this weekend – always take off the Monday after a convention if you can swing it. I wish I had thought to do that.


East Coast Comicon 2015


It’s been a month, but I am finally getting around to chronicling my day at East Coast Comicon. In my defense, I’ve had a lot going on behind the scenes with getting my own comic ready for release on June 2nd. The first five pages are up now on Circus Book. Regardless of good excuses, I will be posting here more frequently in the next couple of months.

April 11, 2015

I ended up getting to the convention center a bit later than anticipated, but all in all it turned out to be a great day. I met up my friend Mel at the door – his father Rudy Nebres was a featured guest at the convention. He showed me around and introduced me to several people. The convention floor was much bigger than I was expecting.

I had a great conversation with David Gallagher, writer of The Only Living Boy along with Artist Steve Ellis. He recommended I check out Tapastic and NoiseTrade Books when I release Dream Crasher. I picked up Issues 2 and 3 of Only Living Boy – I had actually had Issue 1 from NYCC a few years back. It’s a really well-written series with some excellent artwork and a fully realized world. I highly recommend it, and look forward to the release of Issue 4.

I also stopped by the Wayward Raven booth, where I met Writers Mark Frankel and Alexander Sapountzis. Really nice guys with quite an impressive enterprise going. I picked up the first two Issues of their ongoing series, Horsemen. I also met Ramon Gil and picked up the first issue of his Scifies series, for which Rudy Nebres did the cover. Haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but like his concept for doing multiple serial shorts.

Finally, after backing Papa and Neneti of the Forgotten Spirits on Kickstarter over the years, I finally met Vera Greentea. She has been one of the most responsive and well-organized crowdfunding campaigners I have had the privilege of backing. I picked up the first issue of Recipes for the Dead. She’s worked with a variety of artists across these different projects, and has brought some beautiful dark fantasy to life.

I also picked up Iron Horse, and had a nice conversation with writer Gavin Spector of Soldier of Fortune Comics. I got some great insights into comiXology Submit from writer Eric Grissom. I bought the first two issues of his series, DeadHorse. I met a fellow Commander Keen fan at the Rare Earth Comics table, and picked up the first two issues of Shadow Tracers.

Toward the very end of my day, I discovered an isle I had somehow missed before. Spent my last few dollars grabbing The Magnificent Mariposa created by Alex Lowe as well as America’s Kingdom from Gnosis Comics.

It was a great day overall. Mel’s parents were really wonderful and let me keep my backpack at their table for the duration of the day. I left with it filled to the brink, with more comics than I have had time to read in the last month. I somehow managed to stay under budget. My hope is to return next year as a vendor, with printed copies of Dream Crasher in tow.

New York Comic Con 2014 – Saturday


Saturday – October 11

After a solid night’s sleep, Jaime and I started our day in Artist Ally. I picked up volume one of Runners by Sean Wang. I’m in the middle of reading it now, and it’s really quite good.  I also stopped by Dirk Manning’s booth in isle H8 (easy to remember from Friday’s presentation). Had a really nice little conversation about the creator community and the industry. Picked up Write or Wrong and the first volume of Tales of Mr. Rhee, the latter of which I just finished and thoroughly enjoyed. Manning has a great talent for building worlds through small moments, one short story at a time.

I had a nice conversation about Bushwick with another Brooklyn-based writer, David Parkin. Picked up the first issue of The Devil is Due in Dreary, which they are hoping to adapt into a feature length film. Jaime grabbed my attention and introduced me to Kristen Gudsnuk, an NYC-based creator of Hench Girl. Picked up the first issue and had a great conversation about fonts. I didn’t realize how easy it was to create one based on your own handwriting. On a side note, Hench Girl was very enjoyable and I will be getting the rest of the issues the next time I get a chance to.

The geekiest panel  I went to this year was one close to my heart: A New Dawn – The Future of Star Wars publishing. There’s a part of me that’s prone to nerd rage in regards to Episode VII eradicating the Expanded Universe. This is what amounts to the first “reboot” of the Star Wars Universe, and the future is very much unknown. So far as I know, Jar Jar Binks and the painful dialogue of the prequel trilogy unfortunately survived this massive reboot effort. I’m actually very interested in checking out A New Dawn (when it comes out on paperback), and I like the measured approach that they are taking to building out this new Star Wars Universe beyond the beloved original trilogy. They are keeping very close to the Rebellion and not going too far out just yet. As it has been said – the Expanded Universe hasn’t gone away and will continue to be published under the Star Wars Legends banner. Maybe someday I will still yet see that animated adaptation of the New Jedi Order I’ve always dreamed about.

When I headed back to Artist Ally after the panel, I picked up the first issue of the new God Hates Astronauts by Ryan Brown. I also met up with Izzy Man (dressed at the Black Mask) and was introduced to Michael Sarrao and John Broglia, the writer and artist for Unmasked. Spent the last of my cash for the con picking up the first volume of that. From there, Jaime and I decided to call it a night and make our way back to Brooklyn. It had been a long three days. The introvert in me was ready to kick back, start reading from the pile of new comics I had picked up, and not talk to anyone for a few days.

New York Comic Con 2014 – Friday


Friday – October 10

Jaime and I left bright and early on Friday so that I could get there in time for the panel Breaking Into Comics the Marvel Way. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. From all of the stories and bits of advice I keep hearing, I think it mostly boils down to two things:

  1. Finish your work and put it where people can see it.
  2. Network effectively and and get to know your community.

Sam Humphries, who garnered attention for his self-published Our Love is Real, was the second panelist at NYCC this year that I heard say “I was in the audience for this panel two years ago.” Sam now writes The Legendary Starlord for Marvel. I also enjoyed the anecdotes and stories from Kelly Sue DeConnick, who presently writes Captain Marvel as well as Pretty Deadly for Image. Also on the panel was Jeanine Schaefer (Marvel Talent Scout), Russell Dauterman (Artist of Thor), Gerry Duggan (Writer of Nova), and Charles Soule (Writer of Death of Wolverine). There was one other artist I wanted to include here, but I didn’t write down her name and it’s not on the official Comic Con listing.

I met up with Jaime after the panel and we made our way to the showroom floor. He ended up buying a few pieces of artwork from the talented and super friendly Nigel Sade. If I were not on a tight budget, I would have picked up a piece from him as well. I also found this awesome Dr. McCoy T-shirt, but they only had smalls and XXLs. This just means I will probably buy it online eventually. Finally I made my way to the Indie Creator Section  (The one that’s not Artist Ally)

I met and spoke briefly with Adam Burn, who is the artist for Telikos Protocol with writer Peter Cooper. I picked up the first issue (which I highly recommend), which is one of 9 planned 50-page issues in the series. It’s a refreshing and original Science Fiction story that’s well-written and beautifully realized. Both Adam and Peter traveled from the UK in order to be at NYCC.

Next I spoke with Bethany and Ruben Romero, whom I had seen on the comiXology Submit Panel the night before. They, along with Roger Cabrera, write The Agency. They were incredibly genuine and friendly, and their comic book is one of the best indie works I’ve seen in a long time. I picked up print copies of Issues 1 & 2, and will be getting Issue #3 on comiXology as soon as my wallet recovers from Comic Con.

I also met some nice New York City area creators. Picked up the first volume of Argent Starr by Altemus and Lyn T. Byrd (which I will start reading as soon as I finish writing this post). Also met J. G. Ballard, the creator and writer of Venus Rises, which is a web series turned comic book. I will be reading the first two issues of that over the weekend. Lastly I met Zachary Mortensen, who wrote The Gatecrashers with artist SUTU. I’ll be posting about all of these as I read them on Tumblr and Goodreads.

Next I made my way to the Creator Connection. The main presentation given at the beginning by Dirk Manning (writer or Nightmare World and Mr. Rhee) was one of the highlights of this year’s NYCC for me. It was very entertaining and insightful. I will be diving into his book Write or Wrong as soon as I’m done with all of the other comics I picked up. The main purpose of this panel was to network with artists and writers, so the second half consisted of some chaotic match making in way too small of a room. I was able to meet handful of other up and coming creators who are also just getting their feet wet in the world of comics. Among them were Lawrence ShungLuke D. BlackwoodRik Sansone, Efrain Arana III, David Baker, and Amy Lyn Jackson. I put all those names in here hoping most – if not all – might be household names in the near future. Time and hard work will tell.

Following that I met back up with Jaime, and we did a little bit more wandering the floor before deciding to head back to Brooklyn. We basically dropped off our things, played a quick game of fetch with Coeus, then trekked out to Jersey City for a wonderful dinner with friends. By the time we got back to Brooklyn for the second time, we were both pretty beat. Thankfully there were no early panels I wanted to try and make for Saturday.

New York Comic Con 2014 – Thursday


Back in June, Jaime and I both sat in the NYCC ticket queue for a good hour before he finally got in and grabbed us both passes for Friday and Saturday. When my spot in the queue finally broke I snagged one for myself for Thursday. This would be my first year going to Comic Con with a known title (Dream Crasher) for the comic series Reed Olsen and I have been working on for the last four years. I had some last minute post cards printed up just a week before, and they arrived right on time.

I’m going to use my first post on this new blog to write a detailed account of my weekend. For the sake of not having one gigantic post I will do a separate one for each of the three days I went. I met and spoke with a lot of talented creators about their comic book lines, and how they went about self-publishing. I also attended a number of great panels, and walked away with some good pro tips on getting my work out there. So without further adieu, here it is.

Thursday – October 9

I didn’t do a whole lot of walking the floor on Thursday, though I did stop by the Image Comics booth to pick up a copy of Undertow and get it signed by Steve Orlando. I’ve been following his work since I read up Nobodies Volume 2, and backed his Kick Starter for Virgil earlier this year. It was nice to meet him, talk comics, and finally get a copy of Undertow. I took the rest of my afternoon to pick up a few gifts for some friends, and resisted buying this beautifully tacky Star Trek glass set.

My first panel was for the #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign. There were several complaints about the diversity panel being placed in the smallest room. I am not sure if anyone ended up being turned away, but every single seat was filled. We got a nice history of diversity in comic books, as well as the history of flat-out racist stereotypes that early comics perpetrated. I was hoping to hear a bit more on efforts being made to expand the campaign, but time ended up being cut short. As a white man I know that I am exceptionally well represented in comic books, but as a gay man I know what it’s like to be invisible or represented by offensive stereotypes. A lot of this stuff is changing, but it’s a painfully slow process. What I believe it largely boils down to is: if you want diverse representations in comics, you need more diverse writers and artists. If you want more diverse writers and artists, we need more diverse publishers, editors, and executives.

The second panel I went to was for comiXology Submit. I attended this one last year, and was happy to see this years panel include some first time creators as well as seasoned veterans of the industry. Ruben & Bethany Romero, co-creators of the new series The Agency, spoke about their experience of first working with a publisher before deciding to go out on their own. Joshua Hale Fialkov, writer of The Bunker, returned again from last years panel. He has repeated on both occasions that I have seen him that hiring a letterer is one of the best things new comic creators can do before submitting their finished product. I still need to talk it over with Reed, but it is something I am considering. Also there from comiXology was co-founder John D. Roberts and panel moderator Chip Mosher. I even worked up the nerve to ask one of the last questions before we were kicked out of the room, because I was curious to know of any details with webcomics and their relationship with the digital platform. It’s definitely something I plan on doing further research on, as I plan on releasing at least the first couple of chapters for Dream Crasher webcomic style. Overall though, comiXology Submit seems to be an excellent tool for indie creators to take advantage of.

The third and final panel I went to on Thursday was ‘How to Succeed in Self-Publishing.’ The first panelist to speak was Molly Ostertag, the artist for the webcomic series Strong Female Protagonist. Her success story was in the Kickstarter campaign recently completed to do a print edition of the webcomic, where they ended up raising over $60k when their initial goal was only $8k. She attributed their success to slowly building a fan base over many years before ever asking for money like that. They reached their initial goal within 24 hours. Following her with the exact opposite approach was Morgan Rosenblum, creator of Treadwater. He told his story of failing at his first Kickstarter and having to go back to the drawing board. He has since completed a successful one and Treadwater has now evolved from a comic book to RPG style video game. Morgan was also the first of few different panelists I saw over the weekend to say “two years ago, I was in the audience for this.” As someone who is aiming to make it as a writer of science fiction and comic books, these types of stories are encouraging. Also on the panel was Adam McGovern of Dr. Id and Nightworld fame, and Anthony Del Col of Kill Shakespeare fame talked about how their direct targeting of retailers helped them tremendously. The panel was rounded out with Earthman Jack writer Matthew Kaddish, who talked a lot about Amazon search optimization for eBooks with keywords and some of the new book creation tools that Amazon is rolling out.

After rounding out my evening with three back-to-back panels, I was pretty beat and went home to Brooklyn for a good nights sleep. I will will write all about Friday and Saturday in my next two posts.