Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Book Lovers Unite at BookCon!

Hey folks! This last Sunday Matt and I caught the train into New York City for a day of book-based excitement. June 1-2 was BookCon out at the Javits Center!

I'd never heard of BookCon until a few weeks ago. I was looking up its big sister con, BookExpo America, which I've wanted to attend for a few years now. Unfortunately, BEA is on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It's also expensive to attend, even with my librarian discount. So, while I could have attended Wednesday, paying an over $100 entry fee as well as around $30 for a round trip train for one day seemed a bit much.

But, my research into BEA lead me to BookCon which was a wonderful compromise! Due to my job we were only able to attend Sunday, something I'm hoping will change next year.

It was an interesting experience! Neither Matt or myself had been to a book con before, so there were many things we were unaware of. Such as the fact that folks start to line up for the Dealer's Den early.

(This is a small section of the line we found ourselves in when we 
arrived at around 9:15 or so in the morning.)

We also didn't know that folks will actually run into the Dealer's Den as soon as they're allowed to enter. Not to mention line up in front of the main publishers' booths. This made wandering around difficult for the first hour or two. It also left us very confused.

Eventually we discovered why. We'd gone to one panel and I thought the author's book sounded interesting. But, when we went to the publisher's booth to buy a copy, we discovered they didn't actually have many books for sale. They were focusing more on giving away Galley and ARC copies. Since neither Matt or myself are reviewers or collectors of Galleys and ARCs, I decided to wait until the book comes out this late summer. But, that explains the lines.

There were also massive lines for author signings. In fact, there were many more people than I was expecting. I've heard people claim that books are a waste of time and that the publishing industry is dying. That's a little hard to believe when you're in a massive convention hall packed with frantic book fans.

(This was the small, independent booksellers section on Sunday afternoon.
While the main area had calmed down significantly since the morning rush, 
it was still hoping. I posted a short video to my Twitter. You can see it here.)

Since I wasn't able to pick up anything from the big name publishers, I focused my attention on the independent authors. My TBR list has increased, though not as much as I was afraid it would. We also attended a few panels, one hosted by Adam Savage and Randall Munroe which, by the time we'd walked the three minutes from the previous panel we'd attended, was standing room only.

(Stories about science and explosions...)

The most amazing thing to me was the last panel of the day... it was about magic and mayhem in science fiction and fantasy. The amazing thing was... everyone on the panel was a woman! After years of seeing things like 'Women in Comics' panels where there isn't even a single women involved, seeing five women and a trans-woman presenter take center stage made me so happy!

In the end it was refreshing to spend a day surrounded by fellow book lovers. I often get the impression from folks online that I'm some kind of freak because I enjoy reading. It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who's book-mad. Even if I'm not quite hard-core enough to wait two hours in a line for an ARC or an autograph.

Monday, May 20, 2019

B:TAS Fans and Indy Authors at ECCC!

Hey folks! Busy times are coming up. My next program 'Seuss on the Loose' begins this Friday, which involves me reading Dr. Seuss books, preparing Seuss-based crafts, and dressing up as The Cat in the Hat for the next five weeks. Little STEAMers begins the first week in June, and Women in NASA follows soon after in July. It should be a crazy, and exciting, time!

Before all that begins Matt and I planned on having a little fun. This last weekend we attended East Coast Comicon in Secaucus, NJ. As you can see from the badge, we originally intended to vend there. Due to the whole 'no drawing for six months' restriction, we decided at the last minute to save the bit of stock remaining for Anthrocon and just enjoy the weekend. Don't worry, the table didn't go to waste. The fellow who was supposed to be our neighbor was able to use it and expand his booth space. So it all worked out in the end.

(A comic lover's paradise.)

It turned out to be a great choice. We had a blast! This was the first con where we really had a chance to actually immerse ourselves in the whole experience and it was wonderful! We were able to wander about at will, chat with vendors, and attend panels! So cool!

(We even got to see one of my comic heroes, George Pérez, talk
about his career in comics. Awesome! Another panel featured some
of the voice actors from 'Batman: The Animated Series'. You can
hear a bit of that panel here.)

I'm sure that most of you are thinking, 'duh, Darc, that's what everyone does at a convention!' The thing is... that's not so. If you're vending you don't get to engage in the wonderful free-for-all geekdom that is a con. You're stuck behind your table for the whole day, often without getting away for meals and missing out on everything. Time spent away from the table means possible missed sales. And dealer/vendor tables run much more than an admission badge, a cost that you hope to recoup in sales. Once the dealer's den is closed for the evening you're often so worn down you just want to grab some food with your friends and then crash. Trust me, it's a completely different experience.

(One thing I did not do was stand in line for an autograph from
George Pérez. I love him, but the line was insane. Here's a shot
when the mob was relatively small.) 

Oddly enough, I only bought one comic book. Matt bought just one as well. Most of the indy comic creators were using some hard sell tactics which tend to turn Matt and myself off. We understand why - again, it's not cheap to vend at these conventions - but we prefer to buy a book out of interest, not feelings of guilt, pity, or desperation.

Instead, I spent most of my time focusing on the independent prose authors sprinkled about the dealer's den. I'm always interested in finding new authors to read and while they weren't getting much business, they never came across as desperate or pushy. They all seemed comfortable, excited, and confident in their work, qualities which I admire. I'm happy with this decision, because I came home with a number of wonderful works that I'm looking forward to reading. I've already started one and it's great so far!

(A pile of amazing sounding books to enjoy, and one
crazy comic I couldn't resist.) 

Matt joked that I should wear a button at cons that says, 'I'm a librarian and I read indy authors'. It may not be a bad idea. While I don't have any buying power at work, I do have access to folks who do. Hmm...

And the cosplayers! I'm always amazed at some of the wonderful costumes folks pull together. I didn't grab many pictures because I'm a little shy about asking folks, but we did see a great Master Roshi...

 ... and Harley Quinn.

The 501st were there as well.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend! Thank you East Coast Comicon and Cliff Galbraith for an excellent con and for being so understanding about us not vending! With luck Matt and I will be able to attend next year as well!

In the meantime, I've BookCon in a few weeks to look forward to and Anthrocon in early July. So yes, I've a fun and wild summer ahead!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Monday, February 11, 2019

'Goddess of Light'

A commission. I'm quite happy with how the lighting turned out on this one.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Sunday, January 13, 2019

'Mile High Meal'

Another commission complete! 

The thing about gremlins is that their fur is very dark. While great for helping gremlins blend into the shadows, it also leads to them blending into dark spots on planes.

Which, now that I think about it, would probably make them even more terrifying. You'd hear these strange metallic tearing sounds, get glimpses of movement, and yet can't fully see what's causing it all.

Until a gremlin pops up by your window, that is.

Friday, January 4, 2019

'Say Yes?'

A finished commission!

Allen proposes to Emily while Moraine looks on. These two are just too cute.