The other week I attended Fan Expo Canada, and while I sat on a great panel about writing the supernatural for young readers with Kelley Armstrong and Max Turner, then signed at my publisher, ECW’s, booth, it was the first year I wasn’t sitting behind a table (or ‘tabling’) at Fan Expo.
For the past ten years or so, I’ve always had some comic or illustrated product to sell, whether it was my zine versions of The Amazing Challengers of Unknown Mystery, the slightly slicker versions of that comic, Quarter-Life Crisis, The Dead Kid Detective Agency or my calendars of supervillain erotica.
Though I booked part of a table with my SketchKrieg! illustration crew, a month prior to Fan Expo I realized that I would have absolutely nothing new to display. I have become very sheepish about the whole thing; I feel like slowly but surely I’m sliding away from becoming a comic illustrator. Between work and writing The Dead Kid Detective Agency (which is actually going pretty well) and countless workshops, I have almost no time to work on the second book of Quarter-Life Crisis, as desperately as I want to. I feel less and less like a guy who makes comics and more and more like a guy who takes up table space at Fan Expo with the same old junk. Additionally, it’s hard facing those few people who are actually looking for the second book and admitting I still don’t have it completed.
So, I didn’t table at Fan Expo this year, and it was relatively pleasant. I didn’t have to arrive at 8:30 in the morning. I could sit in on panels. I spent a good half-hour going through dollar bins and finding some sweet Alan Davis issues of Batman and the Outsiders. But I didn’t feel much like a comic creator.
The sad part was that comic creators as a species seemed few and far between in Artist Alley at Fan Expo. Most of Artist Alley was T-shirts and prints based on other people’s properties: humorous Dr. Who T-shirts or prints of Harley Quinn. That stuff is great. But it would have been great to see more original new comic books there. (Maybe they’ve all abandoned Fan Expo for TCAF. It would make sense.)
I’m hoping I can get back on the horse soon with Quarter-Life Crisis, because I miss it, but with the fall publishing season and my rewrite of Dial ‘M’ for Morna due soon, I fear my post-apocalyptic Toronto comic book will never fall off the backburner. That would make me very sad. We’ll see.