Saturday morning, approaching downtown and the mass that is Comic Con, I felt good in knowing I had no real commitments. Normally, for comic conventions, I have a table to mind or a panel to attend or a meeting to be had. Work, work work. When I first started attending the San Diego Comic Conention, back in 1986, I just showed up and went where I pleased and did what I wanted to do. That is what Saturday felt like and it felt great.
Earlier this year, my Vampyrates co-creator Kevin Ring and I attended the Comixology panel at Wondercon. We asked a ton of questions about what and what not to do to get our book up on their service. They were more than helpful and answered all of our worrisome questions. Long story short, here we are a few months later at Comic Con International and our book is now available on the site and we wanted to take the opportunity to thank them and ask them a whole slew of new questions.
First off, Chip and the rest of the panel were really insightful and answered everyones questions. Fellow panel members included John D. Roberts (one of the co-founders of Comixology), Brandon M. Easton and N. Steven Harris (Writer and Artist of Watson and Holmes), Becky Cloonan (Fantastic artist and storyteller) and Joshua Fialkov (Writer).
Becky and Joshua both appear to be enjoying some real success with having their books made available on Comixology. Becky has worked with DMZ (I colored that) creator, Brian Wood. I especially liked Demo and her ashcan edition of Wolves. Joshua was really helpful on the Comixology panel at Wondercon, so it was good to hear where he is now. I had seen a bit about Watson and Holmes the previous night at the Eisners. Hearing more about it at the panel makes me want to pick the book up even more.
The panel touched on the new DRM Free downloads (which I used today to download pdf’s for Real Heroes by Bryan Hitch). The panel also mentioned possible beefier analytics.
I lined up at to ask a questions, and that’s when they picked a random guy out of the audience and handed him a free Kindle Fire HD. Nice. Much applause. Then the guy in front of me asked a question which raised even more applause, to which they awarded him a Kindle Fire HD.
I then asked my question veiled in the form of a request. I commented on how numerous people on the Convention floor were glad to see me and asked what I had been working on. I would tell them, “Besides Grayson and some upcoming Justice League United, Kevin and I had just released a digital version of Vampyrates on Comixology.” My friends or fans were always interested or appreciative, but I quickly realized if I had some form of Comixology or Amazon gift card in my pocket, representative of Vampyrates, I would be able to make a sale right then and there in person. Get it? I could reply, “Oh, you want my new digital comic? Here, you give me two dollars and I’ll give you this gift card I have in my pocket which is redeemable on Comixology.”
It drives people to the Comixology site/service and it’s just another way for Kevin and I to make a sale to a potential new reader. Immediacy. You could even sell the gift cards in comic stores to people who look at a printed copy and decide they don’t want clutter, but would love to buy your digital comic now. Perhaps a portion of the sale could go to the store.
The guys from Comixology all seemed to like the idea and Chip Mosher (Comixology evangelist) was really cool to give Vampyrates and I a hearty shout out to everyone in the room. To which, some people came up to me afterwards and asked for more information on how to pick up the book, which was cool.
Kevin and I are still dabbling in this new market of Digital Comics, but so far, I love the direction we’re heading in. Now to get issue two out as soon as possible.
With the Comixology panel complete, I wanted to drop by the DC booth and see my Superman and Justice League editors. Of course the DC booth was packed, but I did manage to see Ray Fawkes (Current Constantine writer and we worked together on Justice League Dark and one of my all time favorite projects, Mnemovore for Vertigo) and say hello. Soon enough, I found my editor, Eddie, and we caught up and we chatted about the Superman/Wonder Woman annual I had just finished (Should be available next Wednesday). That’s when a gentleman I didn’t recognize showed up in front of us. The crowds at San Diego are pretty thick, but I could tell this guy had something to say. I said hi, and he introduced himself as Tom King. Too hilarious, he writes Grayson along with Tim Seeley… the book Mikel Janin draws and I color. That’s how strange comics can be. I work with people all over the world that I either meet or end up never meeting at all. We mainly communicate by email or phone, to collaborate and tell these amazing stories. Tom was super nice and he introduced himself to Eddie, who was also happy to meet him. Tom then pointed out that he was about to sign at the DC Booth with Tim Seeley and insisted that I sign as well. I don’t know why I was hesitant, but Eddie insisted as well and pushed me over there. Next thing you know, I’m meeting Tim Seeley and sitting down next to Gregg Hurwitz (soooo nice and quite a charming family) to sign fresh copies of Grayson. Lot’s of die hard Dick Grayson fans and Batman fans in general. As if this weren’t cool enough, I got a tap on my shoulder and there was Emanuel Simeoni, the artist I worked on Talon with. He’s from Rome (Italy, not Georgia), so yeah. Totally nice and really cool. If you haven’t seen his art, hunt it down, really great stuff.
Kevin and I ran into more people, attended more events but pretty soon, you get hungry. Warrior needs food! In years past, there hasn’t always been what I would consider a lot of great places to eat downtown. Each year, that changes more and more. Kevin asked, “What about Mexican?” I rarely refuse good Mexican food, I live in San Diego for Crom’s sake! Kevin recommended a place that piqued his interest based solely on the smell he experienced walking past earlier in the week. I was game and it turned out to be a great choice. The name of the place is the Blind Burro. First things first, while we’re waiting to be seated, I see someone that looks familiar, but she’s all done up in zombie makeup and wearing shredded scrubs. I hesitate to see if it’s the person I think it is and finally decide to ask the person sitting across from her. Turns out it is my Vet Tech and we all laugh. Comic Con. Kevin tried many of their margaritas and I had my current favorite beer, Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout. Mmmmm. I ended up meeting a random guy that turns out works at Naughty Dog with a friend of a friend (Hi Malcolm). I mentioned how I used to art direct location based rides and video games at Angel Studios (Rockstar West) in Carlsbad. Turns out he used to work at High Moon Studios as well, which was right around the corner from Angel/Rockstar. Small world dismissed by Comic Con. I finished up my Mole Tacos (I’m just going to leave that for the non spanish speaking readers) and bacon wrapped jalapenos. We headed out to figure out what’s next. Or course, we ran into more friends that walked with us all the way up Fifth. We dropped them off at Henry’s Pub and continued the Drink and Draw just up the street.
My friend and former Wildstorm co-worker, Mark Irwin, has put out the invitation to many a Drink and Draw, but it always seems to fall the day before I have a book due. Well, ask and Comic Con provides… The place is one of those below street level sites that usually house a bar or night club, but this turned out to be a brand new (three days old) comic store. I’ve probably already bored you with the friends I kept running into, but needless to say, I saw people I haven’t seen in years. Really good to see my friend Saleem, who’s an talented inker and is currently working on video games. I grabbed some colored construction paper and some colored pencils and found a spot up front where my friend Lee was sketching on his portable Wacom tablet.
The people to my left were art students from San Francisco, really nice and equally talented. Turns out he had liked the first issue of Grayson a great deal. The models were professional. I got a few good sketches done, but I think the quality devolved as the night progressed. Oh well. Still fun. I told Kevin we could leave whenever he liked and soon we were off. Seeing Fifth avenue that crazy and that packed made me think twice about leaving. Everyone seemed to be having so much fun, but I realized I had a panel the next day and perhaps it was time for me to cash out on such a great day. I made the right decision and got some really good sleep. Ahhh…