So, That Was Con Season.
... Well, for me, anyway. For now. There's more in Fall. I just returned from Comic Con Germany in Stuttgart which was a solid first try from a con provider who hadn't dabbled in Comic Cons yet. Third con in a row. Time for a break, and I've taken some time to write up some thoughts about presenting stuff at cons. (There's a German version here.)

Apart from meeting my peers and having fun, there are two things I want to do at cons: Present my comics and make some money selling things. Those are two different things, especially at a con that's directed at TV fans and better suited for selling merchandise. One is an investment, the other is a business.

It varies with the type of con (some are more focussed on new comics than others), but what seems to sell more and more at cons are easy-to-pick-up pieces of art in any shape: posters, postcards, stickers,  prints, originals. Especially fan art seems to have a dsitinctly catnippy quality to it. You see a familiar character in a striking pose or a nice style - what's not to like, and at a very low entry level? It's like comfort food!

So the money-conscious artist will make sure to provide some of that comfort food - in my case. posters like Alien vs. Ducks - along with the more acquired tastes of her own creations.  That would be business.

The problem with comfort food, though: You get it everywhere.  The more derivative a piece of art is, the less it will wet your appetite for this artist's original creations as opposed to the original source material, the similarity to which you bought the piece for in the first place. It's entirely possible that you'll check if this artist has done anything else that you'd go for, but the work itself doesn't prompt you to.

Now consider comics.  A much harder sell because the would-be client must not only be intrigued by the art but also by what she reads when skimming through the book, as well as your pitch. But if she ends up buying, reading and liking it, where else will she go to get more of that kind of stuff? Only you make the comics you make!

That would be an investment.

Ideally, you both make some money and attract new readers at a con. But not all cons are set up for both. At the Hannover Comic Con a few weeks back, I sold a lot of posters and postcards but hardly any comics. At other cons, you don't get enough space at your Artist Alley table to really lay out the posters, leading to less sales. (Although that could shift the focus back to the comics. Who knows?)

I went into this most recent con prepared to sell more merchandise and made sure to pack some extra posters and original art. It's wise to prepare for the type of con you're going to and pack accordingly. And there's nothing wrong with that. I respect and am grateful to everybody who ever bought anything at my booth, even if it was just a postcard, and I'm equally proud of my successful posters as I am of my comics. But what I really want, more than to make money, is to get people invested in my work so they'll buy more of my stuff and maybe back this Patreon campaign.

So, between a business and an investment, what do you think is the best use of a con? I think I'm shifting more towards the investment side now. But not to worry, I'll be sure to bring my posters to the next con, too.


For more con pics and some of the art I made there, check out my Tumblr: