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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DAN CON 2013 Wrap-Up!

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of joining 49 other comic book creators at the annual Spring edition of Dan Con, a creator-focused comic book convention held twice a year in Orland Park, IL.  The husband and wife hosts, Dan and Amy Royer, have invited me in the past and I’m really kicking myself that this was the first year that I was able to make the show.  I can honestly say it was one of the most well-done shows of that size that I have been to!  My full write up is after the jump!

Beemo Sketchcard
I arrived moments before the show opened (after a 4 hour drive) and was welcomed immediately by Amy and Dan, who were personally escorting creators to their tables while preparing for the doors to open.  The show was held in two rooms, with one specifically for dealers and one only for creators.  This worked out really well, developing an “Artist Alley” feel that is normally lost on smaller conventions where the two groups are fighting for space and, more importantly, the attentions of the con-goers.  I was positioned between Ray Wegner and Jon Westoff, two dudes that I had known through Twitter and Facebook, but had not actually met in person until the show.  Thankfully, neither of them turned out to be a psychopath and they made for great table-neighbors.  

"Fear Agent"
The show had a solid flow of patrons from the moment doors opened at 10am to when the show ended at 4pm.  Most one-day shows I have attended have a few lulls, usually around lunch and mid-afternoon, so it was nice to keep busy all day.  Dear Dinosaur continued to be a hot seller, though I wish I would have had Volume III printed and ready for the show, as there was a definite interest in having the complete collection from some buyers.  The Make Believe minicomics for kids also did well as the show was well-attended by younger fans.  My biggest surprise was how well Shakespeare Shaken, the anthology I contributed to from Red Stylo Media sold.  The book has been well-received, but has never been a hot seller.  I went through my entire stock of books at the show, though part of it might have had to do with the appearance of fellow contributor Dirk Manning at the show.

Ice King
I didn’t have much time to spend a lot of money as I was pretty glued to my seat through most of the show, but I did pick up the original graphic novel Chinatown from the Chicago-based Sun Brothers.  They had some promo art at their table that I could see from mine and it was so gorgeous that I picked up the book on sight.  I also had a nice conversation with the writer Wesley Sun about the value of Kickstarter for young creators and he informed me that he will be on a panel at C2E2 discussing the crowdfunding platform.  If you are the show, you should check it out.  I also picked up Starpower, an unusual graphic novel about strippers with confidence issues written in the style of Dr. Seuss by writer/artist Sarah Benkin.  The premise was so unusual that I had to pick it up. I was not disappointed.  Sarah’s high-energy art style and great grasp of rhythm made for a surprisingly poignant read that transcends its unusual premise to deliver a very heartfelt story.  It’s obviously for mature readers, but those who don’t mind a naked boob or two should definitely check it out.  

"The King" by Ray Wegner
I hoped to snag more than a few sketches, but was only able to add two to my collection.  I let both artists go in their own direction and they both delivered.  The above mentioned Sarah Benkin drew a crazy big-assed dinosaur while my neighbor (and Dear Dinosaur pin-up artist) Ray Wegner drew a killer rendition of his original character The King in or our “art swap.”  I drew the main character of Fear Agent for him and had a blast doing so.  I was also really psyched to do a sketch for the 4 x 6 Art project--one of the most amazing art collections on the internet!  This dude has over 1,000 sketches from an amazing array of artists, now including one from me!

Doctor Doomasaur

Overall, it was an excellent show and one that I totally recommend for creators in the Chicago-land area.  Dan and Amy put on two shows a year, with their next being in September.  You should totally check it out.

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