Saturday, April 29, 2006

Supanova Day 2 (or Will sell comics for $2)

You know that feeling where you know if you just had a spew you’d feel better but don’t have the motivation to vomit. Well that was the feeling i had for the majority of Sunday.

I was limping from the incident where the coffee table moved two feet to the left once I turned the lights out. I got to the showgrounds about 10 minutes before the con opened - artist alley was pretty quiet. I ran into Ben Hutchings and enquired on why he didn’t meet up with us, i think he said he went to the pub but couldn’t find us. Its scary when 30 comic fans can blend into a bar. The morning was painful and drawn out. My voice was coarse but not as bad as Abstruse’s angry muppet.

Tonia saved the morning with double chocolate muffin. It was sickly sweet and not really what I usually eat when I’m hung over (pizza or cheeseburgers) but I forced myself to finish the damn thing.

Sundays are really different from Saturdays in the whole comic convention scheme of things.

Both days start slowly as people just wander and browse. On Saturdays though people at the convention for one day will then do all their spending in the afternoon, which leads to a massive burst just after lunch. Sunday though is slow but consistent in terms of sales, it’s a lot of families or dedicated shoppers. Even though, we barely ever had more than one person at the table on Sunday I still sold almost twice as much product. However we had one person on each day do the whole; ‘I’ll have one of everything’ – those people are cool.

Also cool are the people who say, ‘I’ll be back later’ and they actually do come back and buy stuff.

When people browse sometimes its good to engage them, try and convince them but stuff using lines like

1) Do you read comics? What do you like?

2) You read any Australian comics before?

3) You an artist or writer?

4) You bought much from upstairs? What did you get? If you like that you’ll love….

5) You here for just the day?

But not

1) You got any money?

2) Are you legal?

3) Why you spending so much money on shit?

However, part way through Sunday I tried a new technique in sales. I’d spot someone walking past, try and figure out what kind of book they’d like and then just hold it up and once I made eye contact, just nod knowingly. This worked on young females and “the bear” book, if they took the bait I’d suggest reading the first 4 pages and if they didn’t like it, they could walk away. If someone in a pirate costume walked past then I’d hold up “Pirates” and say, “Its full of vitamin Arrgh!”.

And it worked, I got sales from people who would just normally walk by.

I also instigated “Sell out a title – mark dances” policy. This beats my previous ideas of “Beat Mark in a mc battle and get 50% off purchases” or the similar themed Dance Off. Maybe at Sydney or Melbourne.

But, yes, sales went well. I’ll probably do a break down of what I sold later on next week.

I also went on a shopping spree and bought pretty much everything I could from Artist Alley with the exception of Storm publishing because there is some much stuff there I wouldn’t know where to begin and the Sev Trek stuff (because it’s a bit rubbish). Everything else I already had. Again I’ll list everything I bought with a thumbnail of a review later on, I’m still sorting through it all.

The only non comic purchase was a big movie poster I had my eye on all weekend. It was a poster for “the Big Red One” and it was designed as a bunch of lobby cards on a A2 poster. It was in pretty rubbish condition but for $2 it was great. When I inquired about the price for the poster, the salesman replied with “Oh yeah Mark Hammil, I’ve had that for years”
“Yeah, I’m more interested in it because of LEE MARVIN”. Because I’m not a nerd. Well not much.

Of course there were assholes, like the 25 year old guys that would scoop up the fantales or minities on our table and walk away. The assholes-in-training who would ask if the lollies were for free and then complain when they were told that were for under 12s and for people buying stuff. The people who state ‘they have no money” but have a $600 lightsaber replicas under their arm also piss me off - its not like they pay rent – losers – 'Expand your mind with new innovative art fucktard and stop sucking the dick of a grotesque billionaire who peaked 28 years ago' (and it was a low peak at that).

-Sigh-

I made about $350-400 in sales (though I think I lost $50 at the pub) and sold about 100-120 books.

The con didn’t end with a bang, nor a whimper, more like a loud moan.

Socially, I had made the suggestion of karaoke, since it would be hard top top Jelly wrestling and sauna club from the years before. But I think everyone was exhausted. Paul, Chewie, the Siberian crew all had early flights. Ben and Karen had a long drive ahead of them, Weber had work and I was buggered. So it just ended with a quiet dinner and drinks. We (Andy, Weber, ian gould Karen and Ben) headed in to Chinatown for food. Karen and Ben pretty much stated that they did not want to go to the same place as we did last year. I suspect next year they’ll be saying the same. It was ok, for what it was, I had a grilled chicken with a nice and hot dipping sauce. The only interesting thing was watching tears roll down Ian Gould’s face as he ate his green curry. At drinks we caught up with Paul, the Cult Fiction boys (who left early), Wendy, Stewart McKenny, Rissa, Jason Rand and Travis Burch (private eye! watching you!). Rissa and co went all 2002 and started ordering Cowboy Cocksuckers. In response Andy, Weber and myself went all 1995 and got tequila shots and hot damn that was some fine tequila (we could have gone all 2000 and gotten Illusions but ….didn’t).

Other memorable events were

-watching Jason Rand drink some pink cocktail in a champagne glass through a straw

-being perplexed that no one had heard the phrase ‘pull the pin’ as in “if they aren’t here by 11pm I’m pulling the pin and going”

-realizing that I didn’t want to drink anymore.

It all petered out about 12, so we pulled out stumps, shook hands and were on our way.

Highlights – Only having to pack up 15 books. The thought of various people singing.

Lowlights – realizing I’ll have to wait another year before having this much fun again.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Supanova day 1 (or I’m sorry for cutting your lunch)

It started off slowly; actually there wasn’t much to it. I meet Jules Faber and partner and the Siberian group. I said hello to Ben Hutchings and Avi and nodded manfully at the Cult Fiction guys. I said hello to the very cool Ben and Karen Howard and was surprised to see Paul Abstruse away from the island he bought from the proceeds of herbal ectsacy.

It was a bit nerve racking being in the basement because there was a feeling that it was going to suck.

And it did suck for about 2 hours.

Then it went nuts for 2 hours. A heap got sold; including sellouts on Pretty Zombie and Angry Comic Shop Guy. What seemed to help was that the punters had to pass Artist Alley to Exit, go upstairs, have a smoke, eat. It provided plenty opportunities to yell “buy my comic you fucking nerd”. Weber did make an appearance behind the table but that lasted about 20 minutes when I told him off for chatting up girls at the table and blocking out customers. I saw Jase Harper for 30 seconds and then he disappeared never to be seen again, which is a shame. Andy ‘Fingerbang” Finlayson showed up, along with Daniel Gibbs – I believe they stalked cosplayers for photo opportunities for most of the day. I kept missing Daren White but did chat briefly with Stewart McKenny and Jason Rand. I got hugged by Rissa. It was kind of interesting to see that Geoff Johns and Phil Jimenez had a solid consistent line up all day. I sort of thought that since there is little interest in Australian comics, superhero comics can’t be that much better. Well apparently not.

I wandered on the upper con floor, flicking thru comic long boxes but nothing really interested me or was what I was looking. EXCEPT THOSE ISSUES OF UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDERMAN WHICH I JUST REMEMBERED I SAID I WOULD GO BACK TO – FAARRRRK. The stuff I’m looking for was overpriced (compared to ebay) like sub200 X-mens or just not available like Green Lantern: Mosiac, The Question and Baker’s the Shadow run.

Except for the massive rush in the middle of the day, Artist Alley was pretty quiet.

Organizing the social aspect of the night was a headfuck. Also for some reason people ask me like I know shit about shit; ask me about the movie Magnificent Seven, ask me about South Australian red wine, ask me about my theory concerning the evolution of monkeys but don’t ask me where we are going in a city I spend 3 drunk and dizzy days a year in. It makes us both look stupid. We ended up at the Jubilee. Weber was not pleased – I believed he wanted to go somewhere fancy where the glasses are clean and the dress code is a bit more explicit than the Jubilee’s “Don’t look like a faggot”. But it was fine. It was a lot of fun. I chatted with Daren White and Michael Evans before they scampered off to their loved ones. The rest of us though were fast and furious rascals, rebels who allowed no one to tie them down.

After I had finished a 15 minute phone call to Emma, I started drinking. I suggested food after eyeing off the various steaks and burgers being carried thru the crowd. The idea of dinner did not impress Andy FingerBang and Dan, since it would divert them from drinking and Weber told of an experience where he had a greasy BLT at a pub once and had sworn off eating at pubs FOREVER MORE.

Honestly I can’t remember much. I talked to people. I hugged a girl in the toilets. I tried to figure out what was a shitter beer xxxx or stella.

I know that at 9 o’clock there was a mass exodus from the Jubilee. As like its seems every year we then had trouble getting into various bars and clubs. Barsoma because of a football top, barwankalot because of sneakers and then the Zoo wanted $10 entry. We ended up at RGs outside in the mall which was cool. It all went well. A group of Hen nighters turned up and I chatted with them for awhile because I was almost comicced out. Weber stated that I was horning in his action. Weber’s action is any female within a 3m radius – I was the worst wingman ever.
“She’s getting married next weekend dude”
“She’s single this weekend”

He soon disappeared after that.

Rissa and Jason Rand turned up. As did the Cult Fiction guys. It was all good. I then noticed I hadn’t seen Weber for about an hour. Oh well, he’s probably chatting up ladies. 30 minutes later – still no Weber. Hmmm. It was now about 1:30 and I was quite tipsy. I was also now one of the last remaining people except for a comatose Daniel Gibbs and a very happy Hayden. I called Weber’s phone and it rang out. That’s a good sign, he’s out and can’t hear his phone. I tried again.
“hey man – where are you? I haven’t seen you for awhile”

“I’m at home”

“....”

I then apologized for waking him up - I was very drunk.

“dude, you can either pick me up or can you SMS your address because I have no idea where you live”
About 20 minutes later he picked me up, I spent the rest of the time doing the whole drunken apology thing. The next morning though it was incredibly funny. Weber blames bad pizza, I suspect he will now swear off eating pizza FOREVER MORE.


Hightlights – the pretty doe eyed girl representing the Red team, catching up with cool people, selling out stuff

Lowlights – wishing I had more of the comics that I sold out of, not going out dancing at Ric’s, kicking the coffee table and breaking a toe.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Supanova day - 1 (or I didn’t shit in my pocket)

I’m not going crazy with the report this year – but I’ll try and break it down with highs and lows and witty and insightful observations.


Friday was a really anxious day. It started with a cabbie that ranted and raved for the 25 minute trip about 3rd world athletes, streets with inconsistent names, ikea and the weather. I don’t understand how you can rant about the weather – so I was on edge just in case he started to rant against 30 year old comic publishing guys with clean shoes. When a conversation with a stranger starts with “For fuck’s sake, what kind of fucking fuckwit fucking names streets in a fucked up way as this?” I get anxious (I had to clean up the language a bit).

Then there’s the flight, I always consider that a plane is bound to crash and burn sooner or later and I’ll most likely be on it. The Sea-King helicopter crashed because a split pin wasn’t inserted into a bolt – since i heard that I’ve become afraid my bed will spontaneously combust if I don’t use all the washers to build the bedside drawers.

I flew Jetstar which I like because you can pick your seat. I don’t care about aisle and window, I’m more interested in screaming children and hot supermodels; I want to sit away from the former and near the latter. Jetstar’s seating policy helps with this goal.

Tonia, thankfully picked my up. Though I felt guilty as I commanded her around - drive me to the bank, to somewhere for lunch, to the showground.

Also there was a background level of anxiety about the weekend; will my stuff sell, will I get beaten up, will I need emergency dental work.

Anyway after lunch, that I ate nervously whilst Tonia watched (why isn’t she eating - does she know something?), I felt something icky on my hands – I discovered that a chocolate egg I had put in my pocket had melted in the Brisbane heat. So I had to go wash out my pocket.

After that it was off to the showgrounds.

We were one of the first to set up at Artist Alley because most creators wait until 30 minutes after the doors open on Saturday morning to put their shit together. I assume they are still drawing and printing their books. We set up in 30 minutes with table cloth, posters and books. I ran into Tim and Danny, plus Wendy (Stew’s partner) and that’s about it. Except for Michael Li, ultra talented Michael Li of Last Time I Fetch Water fame. He’s very quiet because he lets the drawing talk for him.

In the end I caught up with Cool Hand Weber. The rest of the night involved driving around hunting for an air mattress, I did state I didn’t need one, I had my sleeping bag which would suffice. Weber compromised and bought the cheapest one possible, thankfully he bought a pump too. We had some dinner -a really nice Indian dinner which was almost ruined by some drunk loser complaining about Weber’s shouting and swearing. And the night ended by seeing V for Vendatta which was perfectly made but I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters; Stephen Fry’s character was the only one that had any spark of personality.

And that was it. the night contained no salsa dancing.

Highlights – not dying at the hands of crazed taxi drivers, not crashing in a malfunctioning planes, not being stabbed in a dark cinema and getting a air mattress.

Lowlights – chocolate in the pocket

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Monday, April 24, 2006

to the 3 people who care

I'm back safely from Supanova which was fantastic. Thanks to all involved.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Free Azerath subscription

Get Azerath free, delivered to your door.

I'm a big fan of the Phorphorescent CreatorLine, its produced some great work. I'm a big fan of Azerath and thought Eldritch Kid was some of Christian Read's better work. So, support a great publishing idea and a great book.

All you have to do is write a letter.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I don't live in the basement, I just sell comics there

This time next week, in Brisbane the following people will be in Artist Alley

40% less comics
No idea.

Boss Beat
Something related to a film and possibly a old school superhero, its hard to tell.

Brisbane Anime Society
They hold screenings of anime movie twice a month

Cult Fiction Comics Australia
Regulars to Supanova, these guy do comics on cd. Their website seems to be down.

EDGE Comix
I think these guys do Groovy Gravy, an alternative anthology.

Geeen Comix
Ben Hutchings is incredibly funny and he produces incredibly funny comics. You stink and I don't and it doesn't take a hero are my favourites. he has a new book, Pumpkin Brothers which I'm hoping is like some of the early stuff from You stink...

Invisible Spiders
No idea

Jules Faber
This is the blurb from Golgatha, Faber's painted comic.
"Golgotha is a prison, orbiting a dying sun, long abandoned but still home to prisoners who find they cannot die. Now, after long millennia, change is coming."
That sounds interesting doesn't it?

Lisa & Wayne Wilshere-Cumming
I swear, the name Wayne Cumming sounds familiar, but I'm not sure, so in essence - I have no idea.

Moo Tastic
Dunno

Novus Order
See - Moo Tastic

OzTaku
Manga publishers in Australia, they produce 200+ page magazine that feature some great work; Li, Wen and Ian T. They may also be offering 9V and First Time I fetched water - these are GOOD.

Phatsville
These guy do good stuff, the Phatsville anthology, Golden Plops, Fat Ankle, Plump Oyster, all great alternative comics.

Pulp Faction
Maggie McFee has kindly let Tonia Walden and myself use the Pulp Faction banner to sell stuff (because me and Tonia couldn't think of a name). I'll be selling Sureshot Present, Ozcomics Magazine and some Adelaide books. Tonia will be selling Pirates, My Office is Hell, Eat Comics. L. Frank Weber may drop by to scowl at people.

Rowan Cassidy
Beautiful looking stuff, I'm really keen on checking it out. Plus he worked on Hero and House of Flying Daggers and that's kind of cool.

Shifting Time
A webcomic, its space parody, not badly done.

Siberian Productions
Home of Billy: Demon Slayer and Full Moon.

Storm Publishing
These guys have been around for awhile, they fly under my radar but I always get a shock when i look at their catalogue and see they've produced something like 50 comics.

Wellbound Productions
They produced Haven, which has fantastic art, I'm hoping they've produced a second issue.

Will Kelly
It could be this guy, I dunno. I hope it is because it'll be great watching him draw Goku sketches.

Yum Yum Comics
These guys produce a lot of stuff with names like BossaNova Baby, While My Guitarist Gently Makes Out With My Girlfriend! and Creamy Beaver. I'm really keen of buying their stuff because a) i missed out last time and b) i can never go past something called Creamy Beaver.

And Phosphorescent Comics will have a stall above us (which was the reverse to last year). Check out the Witch King graphic Novel for the beautiful production and art. Eldritch Kid and Azerath also deserve a flick thru.

night time in Mark's world

Wednesday night
Across the road from my front door is the train line that freight trains use to get from Adelaide to Melbourne. Luckily we have a dense front garden and small hill to dampen some of the noise but it does get a bit loud from the 15 or so trains that pass every day. Thankfully I've only been woken up by them once.
We knew the trains passed through before we bought the house, we stood outside the house as a particularly loud one passed which rattled doors and windows. But after looking for about 2 years and watching house prices rise out of our reach we threw dice and made an offer. 18 months here we are.
On wednesday night was a town hall meeting concerning the effect the trains are having on the environment. Now I'm not one of those people who moves next to the airport and then complains about the noise; my plan is double glaze the windows and improve the roof insulation and it shouldn't be an issue. But we went anyway.
A number of speakers spoke about the different options (rerouting the train north - through the poor part of town which is a bit unfair - and other technological solutions). It seems like they can't really do anything - and the only thing that will stop the trains is legislation or if they become more expensive to run.
What was fun though was watching 60 year old grey haired activists grill the various politicans and businesspeople on what they are doing about the issue. Starting long-winded stories that never went anywhere, stammering through previously asked questions and generally blathering on. I made Em burst out laughing with the comment "You are the hottest chick here baby" and then a guy sitting/sleeping on a table fell off and tried to make it like he meant to do that.
Though the comment of the night goes to the guy who runs the company that owns the track
"Thanks for the question Frank, before i answer I'd like to congratulate you on the sale of your house. I remember 5 years ago you stood there and exclaimed your property value and plummeted but it seems you made a tidy profit last year".
Even though everyone was essentially against the track owner, this got a good laugh.
Anyway we left early, when Neil from Belair related catching steam engines in his youth.

Thursday night
The new Ikea store opens in Adelaide next thursday, but we got preview tickets for last night (em knows someone in the publicity department), well so did 4,500 other people and the place was packed. As a casual observer, it seems that anything from Ikea with moving parts or multiple 'bits' is essentially shoddily put together cheap looking stuff (couches especially). But then again its cheap so i can see the attraction. The smaller, simpler bits and pieces like bowls, frames, chairs look pretty good. We bought some storage boxes and a new 1.9x1.9 bookshelf for the lounge since the comic, book, dvd, cd collecting thing means i'm running out of room for stuff. We waited about an hour in the line to check out but they were handing out bottles of water and really nice butterscotch chocolates, so we had fun by seeing how many bottles of water and chocolates we could forage for - as you can tell we are easily amused.
Of course i thought it would all easily fit in the excel. And of course I was wrong. I had to pull off the head rest for the passenger seat and Em had to keep her head between her knees because the boxes spanned from the rear to front window.
It'll be interesting what happens with the other furniture places; because its hard to say. Le Cornus, as the cheap furniture store in town will have the competition on a price level but the styles of furniture couldn't be more different, people who like the classic/fuddyduddy style of lecornu will probably stick to them for bigger purchases. Freedom/Casual Living and Ikea share styles but the quality and price point differ significantly so they'll probably take some of the hit but not much. It'll probably the homewares plaes that will suffer the most.
So it'll be interesting, if furniture retail competition can be deemed interesting.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sunday, April 09, 2006

2 deaths, 2 births and 3 other things - 28th August

Births
1917 - Jack Kirby
1969 - Jack Black

Deaths
1987 - John Huston
1990 - Willy Vandersteen (belgian cartoonist and my new alias)

Events
1994 - First Japanese gay pride march.
1963 - During a 200,000-person civil rights rally in at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his famous 'I have a dream' speech.
1898 - Caleb Bradham renames his carbonated soft drink "Pepsi-Cola".

Saturday, April 08, 2006

grates - gravity won't get you high

track 1 - annoying, luckily short
track 2 - my favourite song, nice and early makes me forget track 1
track 3 - bouncy bouncy happy happy
track 4 - slow and sweet
track 5 - rock out with your cock
track 6 - the song from the jeans west ad, a year after their touch/pain ep, i'd hope there would be more original tunes. However, the old songs (feels like half of them) have been rerecorded. Still very cool song.
track 7 - probably will be their next single
track 8 - grrrr patience grrr
track 9 - makes me wanna waltz, i don't know how that makes me feel
track 10 - its about muthafuckers dancing, i was born to dance
track 11 - another rehash from the EP but with added banjos
track 12 - i dunno, really, i dunno
track 13 - a really nicely produced track
track 14 - a dreamy rock song farewells the album, a nice contrast to the otherwise boppy rock.

Friday, April 07, 2006

unsure shot

lessons learned, when doing out the layout make sure half your page count is an even number otherwise when you print it out you have a nice double page spread of emptiness

Thursday, April 06, 2006

shy deaf dies

right by the door of pulp fiction comics is the australian comics stand and last week i was intrigued by a polybagged mini comic. I asked to have a look fearing it was a texty ziney thingy. It wasn't, there was some mild female nudity of the full frontal kind, so i duly bought it.

the art is angular and harsh. on the flick thru it seemed to be a typical mini, a couple of stories with some rough sketches in the middle to fill it out. but for $4 it was worth a go.

and i'm glad i did; its about a deaf girl taken to a nightclub on a date and dumped. She passes out and has a sort of re-awakening. fuck, i can't do it justice but lets say i was impressed how it all tied together.

shy deaf dies - lindsey coleman
(the comic is better than the website)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Monsters and pirates and book deals

Slowly, slowly
-another report of an australian comic creator/illustrator signing deals to do graphic novels.

Even though he's Adelaide based i don't think i've come across him, but his portfolio is very good.
And its extraordinary that he's been working on it for 13 years; he started when Batman was having his back broken and Image was being formed. Think about that.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Basic Wage Kids

The giggliest drunk ever, Owen Heitmann starts his new webcomic, Basic Wage Kids, today!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

OzComic 24 hour Challenge 2006 - Poster competition

Because I haven't been spruiking the poster competition like i should, i'm extending the deadline until Monday 10th of April.

So get drawing if you want prizes and fame and prizes.