Comic Odyssey: Post-Kickstarter and Post-NYCC report

Now that the dust of New York Comic Con has settled and the Kickstarter for Patriot-1: Ultimate Edition is complete, things can get somewhat back to normal and I get back to the focus of making comics. For the past year, I have been feverishly working on Patriot-1: Ultimate Edition – remastering every page, relettering the book and working with Dexter and Donna to add NEW pages to the story. There were some breaks in between for The Atomic Thunderbolt #3 and getting #4 started, but I was laser-focused on getting Patriot-1: Ultimate Edition finished.

I’m extremely happy with how it turned out and I am eternally grateful to everyone who supported it on Kickstarter. I also need to apologize to Atomic Thunderbolt #3 backers who are still waiting on some rewards, they are coming!

Patriot-1: Ultimate Edition is not only something of a reboot for that story and world; it’s kind of a reboot for me as well. I needed something to light a fire under my seat and reinvigorate my passion of creating comics and while I love The Atomic Thunderbolt and can’t wait to show you where that story goes, Patriot-1 is my magnum opus and I wanted to challenge myself to make it bigger, better and bolder.

In my efforts to complete the task, certain things like TJComics.com took a backburner. However, in the coming weeks the site will undergo a slew of updates and pre-order links will be added for those who missed out on the Kickstarter. I’ll also be setting up a retailer hub for retailers to get the book directly from me. More to come on that front.

New York Comic Con was this past weekend and it was my third consecutive year in the Small Press section. Before I continue, I just wanted to acknowledge something. A couple times during the show, I tweeted about my distaste of certain attention-seeking and sales tactics of certain vendors. This was a tweet broadly directed at a number of vendors who shouted at passers-by or just out into the void of the crowd, typically of the types having contests and raffles or who didn’t necessarily have any prospective buyers in sight. This was prominent when I was away from my table and browsing in the morning or the middle of the show. I was vague and unclear with the tweets and towards the end of the show, a creative team – who were absolutely lovely people – thought I was referring to them and they got rightfully upset. Looking back at the tweets, I could see how they could be misconstrued and I was totally mortified that they believed I was referring to them, which I was absolutely not. I apologized and talked to them after, owning up to my mistake and realizing (albeit too late) how said tweets could be and were misinterpreted and deleted them. Cons can be tough and big cons like NYCC, especially in Small Press, can be tougher and frustrating but I do respect the hustle of everyone that tries to get their stuff out there. Comics is small and we need to prop each other up, the fog of a big venue like NYCC can sometimes cloud that basic fact.

Which also brings me to my next point, after three years in Small Press; I’m ready to go back to Artist’s Alley. TJ Comics is a publishing house, yes, but more than that it’s my studio, it’s just me. So next year, if I’m going to do NYCC for four days and leave my wife to deal with our three kids with little to no backup, I need to find a way to get back down there. I also do believe, however, that Artist’s Alley and Small Press at NYCC need to be merged. Small Press was downsized significantly this year, and while I appreciated the effort to put a spotlight on a curated set of publishers, the location of Small Press is detrimental. Numerous times I had friends and customers telling me they couldn’t find me, or that Small Press wasn’t on the map. After three days of hearing that, it just became frustrating. At one point, I even had to flag down a co-worker who was walking by as he was looking for me.

The first time I did Small Press (or even exhibited) at NYCC was in 2011. That was when the show was still small enough to fit on the main floor and Small Press was sandwiched between Artist’s Alley and the comic vendors. After a day, my friends and I noticed that no one was really buying in Small Press and it was a pass-through between Artist’s Alley and the vendors. I did so poorly at that show and took such a bath that I almost quit comics entirely (and took a year off from creating anything). But that “pass through” vibe is the same feeling I got this year. I didn’t get that feeling the last couple of years.

I love New York Comic Con. So much so that I’ve made sure it’s the only show I’ve done in recent years and I want to continue doing it, but Artist’s Alley is notoriously difficult to get into, so here’s hoping I can do it for next year.

With that said, next year will likely also see my return to smaller shows. I’ve wanted to do them for some time, but with three kids that are essentially all the same age it’s tough. So hopefully with Patriot-1: Ultimate Edition in tow, I’ll be back in the fray to the more intimate settings that allow better engagement with readers and fans.

That’s all for now. All is well, I feel good about the direction of things and will be updating this more frequently in the coming weeks and months.

Thanks all!

Kevin