Free Comic Book Day 2019 – Report

This past Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. Hopefully, you were able to get out of the house and snag a handful of the freebies your local comic stores were giving away.

A few things I realized for those people who aren’t aware of Free Comic Book Day – many people didn’t realize it was a nationwide event. More than one person responded over social media that they were bummed because they weren’t in the Atlanta area. After letting them know that their local comic store was probably participating, I’m hopeful some of them managed to get into a shop.

The other thing that I don’t think plenty of people realize is that just because Saturday is the day of the event, it doesn’t mean that it is the only day to potentially go and pick up free funny books. Plenty of shops order extra copies of some of the bigger books (the Marvel and DC probably leading the pack, but plenty of the more kid-focused ones as well). So even now that it is Wednesday (New Comic Book Day!), there is a decent chance they still have some of the Free books left over from the weekend. No reason that you can’t check it out (even a couple of days late).

As I posted last week, I was participating directly as one of the guests at Galactic Quest’s Buford, Georgia location.

It was a great time. When I arrived to set up around 8:30 AM, there was a line probably 30 people deep waiting to get into the shop when it opened at 9:00 AM. Once the clock rolled over, there was a steady progression of people coming into the building for the next 30 minutes (no let up from the line until that point). Medieval Times had a couple in costume who gave out free passes to those first five people in the line. While there were a handful of comic creators (yours truly included), Galactic Quest also has a gaming area where they had people ready to teach customers about the Final Fantasy Card Game. Next door, there was a live band playing.

The best part of the day is seeing the people who cosplay. I saw a Scarlet Witch and Winter Soldier. A mom and daughter dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big (well, small) Bad Wolf. A little boy in a Miles Morales Spiderman costume along with his friend who was dressed in a Captain Marvel outfit.

For me, the day was a good one, although I must admit that I made a small(ish) mistake. Silly me thought that given it was Free Comic Book Day, that I should have plenty Gilded Age Graphic Novels ready to go. And while I did sell a few, what actually got the most looks were my two novels (The Dark That Follows and Hollow Empire). I only brought 2 copies of The Dark That Follows and they were gone by noon, while I had 5 copies of Hollow Empire to start (and ended with 1 copy left). I actually had to text Courtney to say “hey, if you are still coming by the shop, make sure to grab some copies of both books!” I probably only missed one potential sale by not having more copies with me (my fault, I thought there were more in my bag and didn’t verify).

There I am!

A good problem to have.

The other item I currently have on the table is the Gilded Age Coloring Book. It was one of the stretch goals from the Kickstarter and normally gets the response of “Wow, what a cool idea.” from people who notice it (not that they all buy it or anything, but it is a way to continue the conversation some times). I’m actually down to about two dozen copies and am now wondering if maybe I should invest in some new images for a Volume II…

Anyway, it was a great time and a great Saturday. And I even managed to snag a few comics for myself! Thanks again Galatic Quest!

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

PRESS RELEASE: New Sensory-Friendly Gaming Room at Origins 2019!

Important Dates

April 28 – True Dungeon tickets live
May 4 – Event Registration live
June 3 – Early Bird pricing ends
June 12-16 – Origins Game Fair!

Origins and Path of Play founding new Sensory-Friendly Gaming Room!

We are excited to announce a partnership with charity organization Path of Play to found the Sensory-Friendly Gaming Room at #Origins2019. This initiative is aimed towards creating an inclusive space for families living with autism and foster awareness for gamers not impacted by special needs.

Attendees will be able to find this room in A115 of the convention center. It will keep the same times as the Exhibit Hall.

For more information, visit https://bit.ly/2Iitmsd

Costume Contest on Sunday!

Cosplay is great a way to celebrate your favorite fandom, so each year we host a Costume Contest for our attendees to showcase their creations on stage while competing for prizes

Attendees will be able to register for this event at 1pm on Sunday. The contest will begin at 2pm. Compete on stage or cheer for your favs from the audience!

For more information, visit http://bit.ly/2De1Gk3
Music & Dance

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to enjoy musical entertainment provided by Apryl Knight, Rhiannon’s Lark, Dan the Bard, and Tom Smith! Search for these performers in the Event Grid and stop by their many concerts during the show!

Anime Programming

We are so excited to partner once again with Wasabi Anime to showcase these amazing studios in the Anime Area at #Origins2019! The full schedule will be published soon, but in the meantime, get ready to share excitement for your favorite shows with fellow fans!

Early Bird Pricing Ends June 3

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RPG NEWS – Gamers in the WA State Senate

From Gen Con’s March 29th, 2019 newsletter (Gen Con at Indianapolis August 1-4, 2019):

 

Gamers in the WA State Senate

This week, Gen Con President David Hoppe joined a select group of industry professionals invited to present at the Washington State Senate’s first-ever work session focused on the tabletop gaming industry.

The work session was designed to inform Senate members about tabletop gaming’s impact on the Washington state economy and included representatives from Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Loan Shark Games, and Green Ronin Publishing. The committee, which included Washington Senators Mark Mullet and Steve Hobbs, heard about each company’s experience in starting and developing their business during a series of panels Tuesday morning on the Capitol’s campus.

The information and experience shared were invaluable in educating the state legislature on the tabletop gaming industry and community in Washington.

Gen Con at Indianapolis August 1-4, 2019

The Atlanta Science Fiction and Fantasy Expo – A Review

As I wrote last week, I had a table at the 5th annual ASFE this past weekend.

Most conventions have some kind of fee to gain access to the creators and products within. I remember many years ago discovering that these smaller conventions even existed (this is pre-internet, where it felt like to find anything out about anything took rumour and innuendo and all sorts of luck). And while that one wasn’t all that big and could be walked through in less than an hour, it was cool to be able to interact a little bit with the creators.

I’ve always thought that the ASFE was a little like that except it was completely free.

Obviously, given its location in a mall in the northeast Atlanta metro area, the hope is that people who are going to see the latest Marvel movie decide to swing by the Expo and see what all the commotion is about. What this really means is that you get an interesting cross-section of people who wander through the area. There are obviously the people who know about the Expo and have come to check it out or they know one of the independent creators are going to be there with their wares. You have some people who like to support the local artists. Then you have the people who are completely unaware an event might be going on, but then are almost forced to walk through the area and hopefully, something catches their eye.

Having been there for the first one and pretty much all the other ones in between, it’s been an interesting process to watch. While there certainly has been table growth since the early days, it is more about the other stuff surrounding it where I see the greatest growth. The number of panels over the two days has increased probably ten-fold.

One of the products decorating my table space.

As to the actual interactions with the public, obviously, I am there to get my products in people’s hands. I came with copies of The Gilded Age Graphic Novel, The Gilded Age COloring Book, The Dark That Follows and Hollow Empire novels. And like any convention, you have an uphill battle in trying to convince them to purchase your wares. Of course, with some people, those who want to support the local artists, it really becomes a matter of making sure they don’t walk away empty handed.

Personally, I think I have a decent enough pitch for my stuff, but I’m sure, like everything else, it could use some refinement as well!

And, no convention would be a good one without the ability to see old friends. So many people over the last decade-plus that I’ve gotten to know through the old Terminus meetings or at these smaller conventions or those friends who always come out to support me. It is appreciated beyond what you know!

So that closes out another year of the Expo. See you next time!

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

March 9-10 – The Atlanta Science Fiction and Fantasy Expo

 

This weekend I will be manning a table at the annual Atlanta Science Fiction and Fantasy Expo.

Here’s the thing that makes this event so cool – it’s FREE to attend. Located inside North Dekalb Mall, you can wander in, walk through the tables and check out the various wares people are selling. Tons of creative types from artists to writers to cosplayers to comic creators and a bunch of other things I’m certainly forgetting about.

I’ll have copies of the Gilded Age Graphic Novel (something that hadn’t come back from the printers in time for last year’s Expo) as well as copies of my novels.

I’m also doing a panel with Robert Jeffrey II on the tv show Sliders at 4 PM on Saturday. So if you were a fan of the show come check us out.

Check out the website to see what other activities they have going on!

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Con Life: On the Road Again

February has come and nearly gone! Almost every day this month has been filled with convention preparation and art making. That’s typical for February. Besides ChattaCon in January, March is when the convention season really begins to ramp up all over the country. Unlike last year, I have two conventions coming up, back to back! I’m currently prepping canvas prints and originals in my actual studio. In my extended studio, I’m working on the display for behind my table, bagging and boarding prints, and boxing up playmats, books and other merch.

My display and inventory has tripled in size over the last three years. That means I’m bringing more to each show, but it also means I’m less worried about not having enough inventory. I will have a dealer table at my next three events. It’s going to be a busy spring!

Vendor Tips

Here are a few of my vending tips for artists.

  1. Have a bottle of water handy – When you’re talking to attendees all day long your throat will get dry. It’s not uncommon for artists to lose their voice after a long a weekend.
  2. Bring a backup battery – For your phone or tablet. Chances are you’ll be using one of these to run credit cards sales.
  3. Be prepared for anything – That might be easier said than done, but do it. Example: You’re vending at a smaller event. You might be thinking, I don’t need to bring as much inventory to this convention, do I? I don’t really need to bring my big display, do I? I say, whatever the size of the event, you should always be at your best and you never know–that small event could be your best show of the month.
  4. Bring pens for signing stuff – Sometimes it’s the little things that are the easiest to forget!
  5. Stock your own kitchen – I usually bring food for breakfast, snacks if I don’t have time for lunch, extra coffee for the room, etc. You save a money this way if you’re only going out to eat once a day.

Convention Schedule

March

March 9th and 10th – Atlanta SciFi & Fantasy Expo – Decatur, GA

March 15th-17th – MidSouthCon 37 – Memphis, TN

April

April 26th – 28th – JordanCon – Atlanta, GA

Convention Updates

LibertyCon ran into a serious issue with their hotel. They’ve had to not only change hotels for this year’s convention, but also change dates. The con will now be held June 28-30th at the Marriott and Chattanooga Convention Center.

I’ll return with an update in late March!

Con Life: ChattaCon and The Read House

I’ve only been home from ChattaCon a few days. Those first two days were spent catching up on emails and sleep. I’m still working my way through my inbox but I’m nearly caught up. One of the challenges of attending conventions is keeping up with obligations that don’t go away just because you’re out of town. As many artists do, I have numerous responsibilities I juggle beyond my own art. Wednesday was posting day for the Bird Whisperer Project. I had to create the banner for the next Changeling Artist Collective auction and begin enticing our artists to participate. Plus, I’m running a Kickstarter for a limited edition enamel pin! Now, I’m taking a moment to look back at what was a fantastic start to the new year.

Last weekend was the 44th ChattaCon in Chattanooga, TN. My friend, artist Charles Urbach was the Artist Guest of Honor, alongside Timothy Zahn, the Author Guest of Honor. Can you guess the theme of this year’s con? That was no moon in the skies over Chattanooga last weekend!

The Read House

Wow… The 1926 building recently underwent extensive restoration (parts are still unfinished). Staying here is an experience whether you’re attending a convention or just getting away for the weekend.

You can read more about the history here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Read_House_Hotel

Every inch of the hotel was stunning, a work of art on its own. Sunday they did have a small hiccup with the elevators, but this only added to the experience. I ended up needing to take stairs down from the hotel room and ended up in an unfinished part of the hotel. It was tempting to explore, but I needed to get to a panel.

I also may or may not have seen a supernatural occurrence…

The Art Show

I won 2 awards this year!! Forest Scouts won 3rd Place for Professional Fantasy and Remnants won 2nd Place for Professional Science Fiction.

Ironically, I wasn’t originally planning to bring Remnants to the Art Show. It ended up being a backup piece when another sold. At the time, I was disappointed. Now? Not so much! If I could have done anything different with this show, it would have been to bring more art. I was caught a bit off guard this winter when I realized how much I’d sold at my last two shows (IlluxCon and DragonCon). Sometimes that’s unavoidable. Selling art is a good thing! I sold a few more pieces at this show, so I have my work cut out for me in February.

Next month I’ll be preparing for two March events. Maybe I’ll share a few photos from the chaos of con prep. I’ll also share some of my personal tips for running a vendor table at a convention, which is what I’ll be doing at both events.

Atlanta SciFi & Fantasy Expo – Decatur, GA

MidSouthCon 37 – Memphis, TN

Convention Schedule Updates

I’ve added two new events since I last posted. I’ll be returning to the IlluxCon Showcase in Reading, PA (October 25th & 26th). Brand new to my calendar is Conjuration, November 15th-17th in Atlanta, GA. I’ll be sharing more on these in the future.

 

Till next time…

PRESS RELEASE – Get Your Gen Con 2019 Badges Now, and Check Out New Shows on Gen Con TV This Week

Gen Con Returns to Indianapolis
August 1-4, 2019!

Badge Registration Now Open

Badges for Gen Con 2019 are now available! Head over to gencon.com to create your account if you’re joining us for the first time, or to update your information if you’re a Gen Con veteran. Information about badge pricing and other details can be found here.

Skip the lines! Select USPS Priority Mail during check out to have your items mailed to you. Already bought your badge but forgot shipping? Never fear! You can update this setting on your My Profile page until June 16th.

If you have any questions or run into any trouble,  first check out the Account Information page, and if you still have questions, shoot us an email at customerservice@gencon.com and we’ll get you sorted!

Buy your badge today and secure your spot at The Best Four Days in Gaming! 
Check Out Gen Con TV This Week

Just bought your badge and can’t wait for Gen Con? We can’t either! Four days of gaming and fun just wasn’t enough for us, so we’re bringing a little bit of Gen Con to you throughout the year on Gen Con TV! Below, you’ll find two new shows we’re launching this week that we think you’ll love.

TableTakes Presented by Gen Con
TableTakes is a weekly tabletop news show, streamed live from our studio! Gather ’round the table with our hosts to catch up on the news and geek out with us about all the latest in the world of tabletop gaming! Catch the show weekly on Fridays at 11 am (Pacific) / 2 pm (Eastern) on twitch.tv/gencontv and the recording later that day on our YouTube channel.
Game Night with The Brothers Murph
You know them, you love them, or if not, you’re certainly about to. The Brothers Murph live up to their name in that they’re actually brothers, and on top of that, they make you feel like you’re part of the family. We’ve partnered with them to bring you a great variety gaming show filled with laughter, fun, and giveaways! You’ll find them playing the latest in new releases, and some good ol’ favorites. Tune in every other Monday starting next Monday, January 14 at 5 pm (Pacific) / 8 pm (Eastern) on twitch.tv/gencontv.Live Stream Schedule:
Mondays (bi-weekly) 5 pm (Pac) / 8 pm (Est): Game Night with The Brothers Murph
Tuesdays 4 pm (Pac) / 7 pm (Est): Welcome to the Table – Magic: The Gathering Arena with Kristen
Fridays 11 am (Pac) / 2 pm (Est): TableTakes Presented by Gen Con

We will continue to bring you even more content throughout the year, so follow Gen Con TV on Twitch to get notified of when we’re live!

New Badge Wallet from OffWorld
Give your badge a good home with one of these fantastic badge wallets on sale now at the Gen Con Store from OffWorld Designs! Keep your badge out and easily recognized by our Indiana Convention Center staff and store a few small, but important items in these handy badge wallets.Order yours today!

Con Life: A Look Ahead for 2019

Hello! I know it’s been a while, but I’m back with a new monthly blog series called Con Life. No, I’m not talking about the art of swindling people. Each month I’ll be sharing the in’s and out’s of being a convention artist. I personally characterize a convention artist as someone who has more than five conventions on their calendar for the year. Conventions are a big commitment and sometimes a big investment too. They are hard work, but if you love them like I do, they are worth the effort! For that matter, anything worth your time and passion will be a challenge and involve hard work, determination, and persistence. Before I begin diving into all of that, here’s a look back at where my journey began.

This year will mark 5 years since I began my journey as a convention artist. When I think back, I’m still amazed I was accepted into the DragonCon 2014 Art Show. Since then it’s been like a cascade of dominoes. I followed that with JordanCon in 2015, where I won Judge’s Choice in the Art Show. By 2017, I was hooked on attending conventions as a Professional Artist. That was also the year I won my first award at DragonCon for Best Space Scene. This year I won 3 awards, including Best Space Scene again, and I attended 7 events (plus mail-in to one convention). I’ve branched out to conventions in Tennessee and even one in Pennsylvania.

What is the 2019 forecast?

I have six shows confirmed on my calendar, plus one mail-in convention. There are a couple shows I won’t know about till later, so these numbers could go up. Regardless, it’s going to be a busy year! You can keep track of my convention schedule via my website’s Event Calendar. I’ll be updating it throughout the year.

Right now, I’m preparing for ChattaCon in Chattanooga, TN,  January 25-27. What does that entail?

  • Deciding on the art I’ll hang in the Art Show
  • Print/Frame any new art
  • Check my print inventory–restock if needed
  • Prepare for any panels I might be hosting

I’ll share some tidbits from the convention, and any new convention news, in my next post in late January.