Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I hate needles. I pass out when I get a simple flu shot. Today’s comic strip is inspired by true-life events, you could say. Between this fear and the fear of public speaking, my life has been full of moments with profuse sweating. Surprisingly, my fear of public speaking has magically disappeared. I will discuss the reasons why later in today’s blog.
WHY BRAZCON IS THE BEST COMIC CON EVER
Yesterday, I appeared at BrazCon for the third time. I have looked forward to this past weekend’s comic con since I finished up at last year’s show. Why was I so looking forward to this year’s BrazCon? Why do I swear it is the best comic con in the state of Texas? Why am I forever committed to this one comic con? Why do I want to do whatever I can to help grow and support this special show?
BrazCon is a small, family-friendly comic convention which is presented by the Brazoria County Library System, Alvin ISD, and school communities. There is a limited amount of tickets which always sell out early. This year was a little smaller so only 4,000 tickets were sold. Last year, the tickets were limited to 6,000. I swear though that there were more people here this year than last year! My table was modded the entire show. It was so crazy that I never had a chance to take pictures. I did take a ton of pictures with the attendees who all made me feel like a rock star!
So, why do I love this show so much? There are SO many reasons.
THE STAR TREATMENT
I am a cartooning icon at this show! That is how I am treated. Now, that is not to say other shows do not treat me with the utmost respect. Nerd Con, Eastern Rim Comic Con, Greater Austin Comic Con, Bell County Comic Con and my upcoming Hill Country Comic Con all treat me with great respect. To an extent, Comicpalooza also treats me a little more special than the other artists in Artist’s Alley. BrazCon is very different though.
I am greeted every year with the warmest welcome. The promoters are genuinely excited that I am part of their show. Their joy and admiration for my work drive me to bring out everything I have for them. This show does a great job promoting me before the show. Just like Bell County Comic Con, they include me in their program. BrazCon did an amazing job of educating their attendees of just who I am and what I do. I know this because people kept coming to my table to tell me that they have been looking forward to meeting me. I do not get a reception like this at any other convention, except for maybe Hill Country Comic Con. I had quite a few fans who came out just to see me at Hill Country Comic Con.
Throughout the show, I was checked on by the staff. At the end of the show, I was thanked by multiple staff members and the promoters for making the show the success that it was. They actually make me feel like I brought in the success. We all know the success is ALL their doing, so this showing of love and respect proves just how this comic convention is so different than all the other shows I appear at.
The crowd also treated me like a star. I took so many pictures with the attendees. They all looked at me like a celebrity. I appear at so many shows with so many big name celebrities that it is impossible to be perceived as a true professional. I can expain that I am in newspapers, but the audience at other shows can only focus on the movie and television stars they saw or the comic book legends who they received a commission from. I cannot even get the promoters at most other shows to put me up on their professional artists sections. A few big shows told me they wanted me on their site last year but never added me to my dismay.
BrazCon provides a pure example of what a real comic convention should be. The focus is on the comic medium and fandom. Their continued success proves a show can build year after year with high priced celebrity fees which hurt the vendors and draw an audience who see the “comic fandom” as an obstacle to navigate on their path to see the celebrities. BrazCon has mastered the old-school formula for a comic con and continues to prove the formula does indeed work with phenomenal success.
THE BEST PANEL I EVER APPEARED ON
I have appeared on many panels over the past three years. I have performed double duty at Tyler Comic Con and Greater Austin Comic Con where I appeared on two panels at each show. At BrazCon, I was asked to take the lead on their panel. I served as the producer,creator and moderator for a panel on cartooning. I quickly enlisted Ryan Shaw and had him book the show so he could be on my panel. To round out the panel, I had Shawn Machie as a panelist. Both Shawn and Ryan offer different spins on creating cartoons. Diversity makes for a good panel.
Three years ago, I could have never lead a panel as I was so extremely shy. I was actually asked by BrazCon three years ago to do a panel and I refused. Six months later, I would sit on my first panel to discover it was not that hard. Of course I sat on a panel with Sam De La Rosa at Tyler Comic Con. On that first panel so all the questions went to him… but I still had to sit before a big audience. Once it was over, I was ready to try another panel, which I did a year later at Nerd Con where I nailed it. I was not using any humor because I was scared to death, but I answered the audience’s questions with coherent responses.
Over the next year I sat on panels at nearly all of my appearances including last year’s BrazCon. This year, I felt confident enough to lead BrazCon’s panel. I knew that the audience would be filled with people who have never been to a comic con and that they who not know what a panel was, I began the session by asking them some questions. I inquired as to how many have been to a comic con before. I followed up asking how many knew what a panel was. Only a few knew what a panel was. I then explained what a panel is and how it worked.
We still had 5 minutes and the Shawn and Ryan had not arrived yet so I discussed and showed examples on my process used to create a comic strip. Once completed it was showtime. Ryan and Shawn arrived and we were ready to go! I let everyone know that I had a list of questions in case they ran out of ideas for questions.
The panel ROCKED! I was quick on my wit and had the audience chuckling and laughing out loud on multiple occasions. The crown was focused on our every word. Ryan and Shawn were perfect. There responses were informative and extremely interesting. We did have two families at the end who left early, but that happens at every panel as people try and get to the next event on their itinerary. Their departure actually fuled the most amazing ending to a panel I ever sat on!
At the end of the show, we all gave away something. When the audience entered, a volunteer handed out raffle tickets, so as our final act, we drew names. Ryan went first and drew a number. It was one of the attendees who let so no one responded. He drew again only to draw a number no one had. Third time was a charm and he gave away his gift. My turn was up. I drew a number and no one responded. I drew another and another and another to no response. I drew six numbers to no response so I exclaimed, “How many people walked out on us? Ryan, were we THAT bad?” which received a huge laugh! Man, that laughter felt amazing!!!! On the seventh draw we had a winner! On to Shawn’s turn and he had a winner on the first draw. I told him that must mean it was rigged which again received a laugh. So cool. I thanked everyone and they clapped and cheered!!! That is only the second panel I concluded with a pop!!!!
By far, that was the greatest panel I have sat on!!!!
THE HOURS ARE PERFECT
So many shows will begin early in the morning and run until late in the evening. Huge shows like Comicpalooza make sense for these long hours because of the shear size of the overall footprint. I have appeared at many smaller shows who embrace these long hours and the vendors will spend the last four hours every day staring out into space… an empty space as the crowd dies out and sales go for broke.
BrazCon began at 9:00 am and ran until 4:00 pm. You may think that 7 hours is not enough tie to make enough money to be worth your time and effort. I was blown away this year. I do not like discussing money because it sounds like bragging. I will say that I never make a lot of money at any of my shows. I averaged a profit of $100 per show last year. Small change, but I consider it a win as I promote my comic strip and grow my audience. That said, and not to brag by any means, yesterday I made the most money I have ever made at any show… ever!!!! Two years ago I had one Comicpalooza where I thought I killed it. I never came anywhere close to this three day appearance where I cleared nearly $600 over table and expensive parking fees. Yesterday, IN ONE 7 HOUR DAY, I made just over my Comicpalooza record!!! Being a free show for me, it was ALL PROFIT. I can now have a few failures at my comic con appearances and still have a profit for the year. That takes a little pressure off of me.
THANKS FOR ALL
With this success, my year is starting with a huge bang. I cannot begin to thank everyone enough for my most successful and most rewarding comic con appearance ever. As a marketing guru, I am planning for huge financial successes as I grow this brand for my comic strip Charmy’s Army. While successes will grow and eventually overtake the success of this year’s appearance at BrazCon, but I dare say that I may never experience a show so rewarding. I feel that I am making a difference in people’s lives at BrazCon because of the intimate feeling to this family-friendly event.
I wish to thank the staff who have once again put on a show that rivals the competition. I wish to thank the volunteers who did a superb job keeping the event running so smoothly. I wish to thank the attendees who energized me all day long. I also wish to thank the vendors who make this show so rounded and grounded.
You all have made me feel like a real rock star!