August 13th, 2008 | filed in News

Report: Otakon

What an end to a whirlwind month. Otakon was amazing, frustrating, exhilarating, and exhausting. Thanks to my friend and traveling companion Shelli Paroline for braving the roads with me, and to Brion and Jen, who were kind enough to squeeze me into their tables this year due to registration snafu. And a HUGE THANK YOU to Andy, Michelle, James, Jeff, Jaeger, and everyone else for helping us run the table. Seriously, we could not have survived this con without you guys. SERIOUSLY. It may have been unbearable, otherwise.

First, the Good: Sales-wise, this con was incredible, once again. I have the pleasure to announce that I am now officially sold out of my print run of PART ONE! I will have to reprint in the coming month if I want to have books at my next show. Thanks to everyone who came by the table, new and returning, who bought books or just flipped through the artwork. You guys have made my summer. Because of you, I don’t have to go into debt to reprint books. Yay!

Also, a big hello Jennie Breeden for putting up with us as neighbors, despite sticky soda on the floor, and shout-outs to (in no particular order) Jamie (In His Likeness), Hawk, Ananth & Crew (Applegeeks), Shawn (Staccato), Dave (Paradox Lost), Dave, Dave & Jay (Chugworth), Brian (Geist Panik), Chris (Blue & Blond), Greg (Abandon), and Nick, Marty & the Gang (Dead of Summer). Thanks for hanging out with us in what little spare time we had, being good neighbors, and generally enduring the con with us. It’s always nice to see familiar and friendly faces at the show.

The Bad:Not since my own beloved hometown con of ACEN have I encountered such disorganization at a large convention. Waiting in line for over two hours to pick up a regular attendee badge before going to Artist’s Alley to set up is a completely unacceptable way to do business. Add in the backups to get in and out of the loading dock (since the security won’t let you load/unload through the street entrance), and a general surliness, you get for a pretty stressful show. I have related my grievances to the AA staff, who unlike the rest of the staff pretty friendly and understanding about the whole thing. Being on ACEN AA staff, myself, I can understand their position. Hopefully some advice will be taken, and things will be better next year.

The Truly Ugly:I have learned a new meaning of the word hell, and it is THE NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE. I thought I was prepared, but I was completely schooled, East Coast-style. Chicago traffic is no laughing matter, but I was left completely unprepared for the soul-crushing power of entire states turned into parking lots. It was bad enough that we chose to take the George Washington bridge on the way down (two hours I will never see again. Thank you, NYC), but I had no idea that returning on a Sunday night would be such a mind-bogglingly bad idea. It took us two hours to get out of Maryland alone. Once we realized that the back-up was caused by the dreaded NJ Pike, we opted to take the back-roads home. What should have been a 7-hour drive turned into a 10-hour Odyssey. We actually made good time once we avoided the Pike, but it meant traveling through some strange areas to get it to work (Thank you, GPS unit!). Anyway, I finally got home well after three in the morning, and I am still recovering two days later. I’m sure all you native East-Coasters could have told me, warned me, and otherwise ridiculed me over this, but all the advice in the world is no substitute for raw, unbridled and brutal experience. I will never make the same mistake again. I will drive through Pennsylvania if it means avoiding this in the future. And considering all the cons that happen in the D.C./Baltimore area, I may just have to. We’ll see.

In closing, all I can say is that I’m glad convention season is over for now. Thanks again for your patience. PS will resume regularly scheduled updates next Tuesday. Until then, enjoy some more impromptu artwork.