Friday, November 29, 2013

In A Damn Nutshell: Going To Conventions, The Booster Cola Way
by Booster Cola

          This has been a crazy year for conventions and I have to say I've enjoyed the ride. In this little article I will aspire to share my love for these conventions in the most tangible way possible without actually riding shotgun for the organized madness I dare to commit myself to whenever possible. 
"You thought I would show up? Bitch, Please!"
          There is a process of preparation for my convention visits. The very first thing I have to do is figure out which goddamn artists or writers will be in attendance. This of course is always something to be watching, because the talent often cancel at the last minute. That always f*cking sucks. I'm not joking that every year the person that I want to see the most, always and most certainly cancels like a week prior. "Oh, Rick Remender cancelled? F*ck me, now I have to put back all 75 comics I pulled from my voluptuous personal library!" This is where the fun and tedious part of pre-convention planning goes into effect. When anyone goes to conventions, usually you say to yourself, "I'm gonna bring a comic for that dude to sign!" I take this notion to the ultra-mega-no-f*cking-around-extremes! By this I mean I scour my collection for titles relevant to each creator, ie; penciller, colorist, writer, or general onlooker to the creation process of said comics. Since my collection is in perfect order(alphabetical, by series, by shape/taste/color/texture), this is more of a fun romp through my comics seeing who will grant me that signature I so desperately need. The most handy thing that a collector could ever use is the internet. I'll give you the secret website, Here is the mecca for collectors like myself and others whose collection habits border on autistic meth addict levels. The website not only helps with searching creator names but helps with showing every single title they have ever worked on. So, take your line up of guests, type in names to find everything they worked on, and pull what you own based on the sites magical sense of organization. After you have filled up your pile/short box/long box/mobile storage unit of comics and separated them by creator, you need to figure out a way of transport. I mostly use a backpack. This is an easy way to keep your hands free and still have quite a bit for storage. 
"Yes, just park that stack of comics over there."
My next convention, I will invest in a luggage wheely-thing. Yes, my needs for signatures has expanded past a backpack into crazy-land where I must procure something to contain long box size loads of comics. You can usually get these at a store that sells things. Whatever way is easy for you, just remember to get it together before the convention! Like I said earlier, always watch the convention website for cancellations and guest additions/changes. There is often times when bad-ass creators are added at the last second and makes your dick explode.  It should also be noted, have a plan in place for your bags and boards. I recommend un-taping all your books ahead of time, discarding the tape, and re-taping the books at a later time. This makes things more fluid when meeting the creators and getting them to sign your plethora of books. At least that is what works for me.

That moment when I'm completely ready to go.
          After my painstakingly fun/shitty gathering of books, I'm ready to go to the convention(Remember; tickets, clothes, wife, friends, and hotel). Day one is difficult. There is my absolute need to meet and get my comics signed, and then there is my addiction to dollar bins. The decision usually sways to meet up with the creators before the lines start. This is the most logical and rewarding part because the dollar bins will be there all weekend. Remember the artist or writer usually never charges for an autograph, and if they do, they're assholes. I've never had the displeasure of meeting a dick while in attendance. This sounds far-fetched but, I think that in this semi-dying business of comic book production, the creators are generally happy to be employed and to have their work swooned(have their ego's tickled, if you will). Often times the artists in attendance will have their art for sale, including original pages or prints. I usually stock up and carry an art book with me, because you aren't gonna turn down prints from your favorites. If you have your big money-roller shoes on, you can commission an artist for some original artwork. However, you had better bring a ton of cash if you want some original art, usually to the tune of no less that $200! Some artists like the ever-awesome George Perez, will do quick sketches for like $40, and they turn out great! Whatever the case may be, get your books signed, get some art, don't make things weird, and get to those dollar bins.

This sums it up perfectly
          Dollar bins are the strawberry Starbursts of the convention, if conventions were delicious Starbursts. These boxes of comics we call dollar bins are the obligatory "cheap" comics that shops in attendance put out to entice attendees to stop at their booth. This is also a great way for them to clear out old inventory. Usually when I dive into the start of a line of dollar boxes, my ninja focus begins to initiate and I can clear a row of ten long boxes in like 15 minutes. Since there is a ton of booths just like the one this, I must move quickly to quell the storm in my brain drooling for more of the cheap-ass bins. At the end of the convention I usually end up with about 80-200 new comics. I know what your'e thinking, that I have a problem. Yes, yes I do and my wife reminds me every day. The best part about raiding the dollar bins is that you can find gems or collection pieces. They're only a dollar right? If your like me and must meticulously collect entire series'(DAMN YOU 1986 JUSTICE LEAGUE SERIES!) and you don't want to drop a fortune, or even cover price, conventions are the places to be. Most booths even have recent comics as well. However you attend the conventions, find something you like and violently exploit it.

Pleases buy my precious' shits!
         The Conventions aren't solely about buying shit, just mostly. There is also a whole world of unrecognized artists biting at the teet for your attention. I usually check them out because they really are talented and usually will whore their artwork off for just a few dollars. You will know when you see them when you arrive at booths upon booths of people that look at you like Smeagol wanting the one ring in your wallet. I actually really enjoy visiting the artist alley because it's usually a much more personal experience versus the known named artists booths. It's always pretty damn awesome to see someone succeed in the harsh comic/art industry, especially when you have seen them year after year from con to con. I definitely suggest giving them a second look.

No caption needed.
          So you have your comics, book of art(if you're me), and other souvenirs(toys, games, or crazy Japanese porn paraphernalia), what do you do from here? Well, there is almost certainly panels, media guests(actors, voice actors, TV show creators, etc..), and cosplayers to see. The cosplayers are a straight man's biggest distraction, for there are a ton of hot chicks who come to the conventions dressed to wrangle boners. Not to sound like a pervert, just as someone who isn't blind and possess basic male senses. Usually the cosplayers are really great and love the attention that you, as awkward as you are, can give. They are also extreme photo whores, as long as you ask. Catching an up-skirt of Princess Peach will certainly land you outside the convention next to all the other horny neck-beards. Enjoy, be cautious(because in a costume, declaring a statutory age is often difficult), have fun, and respect your fellow convention-goers.

Leaving the convention,
"How do I hold all these comics?!"
          With all the hullabaloo about the convention going and preparation, the best part is messing around with your friends. Rummaging through comics, finding crazy old comics and gems are just the bees knees. If you're crazy(like me and me) about comics and the convention scene, with the bumping into greasy male Sailor Moon cosplayers and all, keep attending the shows! Let's keep this scene active and keep on collecting comics! That's what it's all about, our need to keep seeking out that sense of escapism that only comics can provide, but on a social level! So, as part of our duties here at The Comic Nation, we will exploit and cover the cons as they come! If this insight into the convention world has enlightened you at all, or has at least been entertaining, attend your next local convention! Hope to see you guys at MegaCon 2014 in Orlando, Florida!



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