Supanova Sydney Post Game Run Down 2014

by ryankl

Supanova Sydney has been and gone and yet another show was fantastic and fun. I thought you might like some insight so here goes.

Despite the Aus comics furore blowing up mere days before it, the show was marked for me with sheer positivity. Everyone I spoke with was upbeat and rad, both punters and creators alike.

The weekend opened with a Friday afternoon/evening showing and it was…alright. Lotta people lining up for autograph tokens and not buying books. It didn’t really have an air of people browsing, more just them lining up so that was a dud. Sales were low, sure, but it meant I got to do some shopping that night both unfettered and before other people got their greasy mitts through it all. I’ll discuss more about my haul later.

Saturday was a bruiser. Strong sales, lotta game talk, it was pretty damn rad. I was thankful to have my mate Nic J Shaw helping me at my table as sometimes he needed to step in to handle money or chat up a customer or just keep me sane. Saturday is always the titan day of the con and this show held no different. I like the hustle and bustle, having someone to chat to all the time is fun. This is a big part of why I con, to meet readers and share the good word. I could do it every day forever.

Sunday was slower than Saturday, which is something I always find. It was still a steady day but nothing on the mayhem of Saturday. It was a day I could wander a little and not feel guilty.

Overall, combined sales, it was my strongest weekend yet. And I think that’s purely due to having a wider scope of product on my table. Headspace sold huge, Fatherhood did good trade as usual, and Holt pretty well damn much sells itself. Throw in the quirky and all ages lure of Captain Human the Robot and I was selling more across the board than last year with just Fatherhood and a few friends on the side. I left this show with stock of all books but I never want to post a sell out. It sounds fun to be able to say you did so well you sold out but all that says is you don’t know how to manage what to bring and you also missed out on readers and money. I take plenty every time.

So that’s the sales, how were the punters?

Crowds were really friendly. Those who bought usually were down with some game talk and process peeks. I showed a few people sneakies of my next two works. It was fun. The crowds seemed thin but only because my alley of the show was much wider so there was more room for them to spread out. Overall, buyers were constant and always seemed really connected as they bought.

I had a few people come up and tell me how much they were loving Headspace on ComiXology so that was cool. I had a few others come back on Sunday after Saturday purchases and tell me how much they loved the books. There’s a certain thrill I get of knowing someone spent their Saturday night of the con reading my books. Those people are the best. I even had one tell me Holt was the best Aus book of the con. I disagree with him but it’s superbly rad to hear it. It’s this sort of direct feedback from the cons that keeps me afloat.

Hanging with other creators was fun. I’m finally starting to feel like a part of the Aus comics scene. I’m listed as a guest (mostly off the back of the MLP issue, though that’s now in the past) and now I’m there but without the success of those around me nor the amount of time out into the game as those waiting their turn to be a guest. Well, not as much time playing the game on the Aus scene circuit. I wrote my scripts at home, kept them to myself, then hit twitter well before I hit cons, so on the streets, I’m a fresh fish.  It feels like I kinda sit in this nebulous zone between worlds but this year I put all that garbage out of my head and just had fun and fun was had. The fact that all Aus creators are super rad was strictly reinforced this year.

It’s nice to hang with a tight few over the weekend, like a family reunion. Nic was at my table, and boy did he stick around, stand up guy that he is. Ben Rosenthal made it across from  Adelaide and we’ve known each other forever now but only get to catch up at cons so that was fun. Jasmine, the lady who puts up with him, is such positive company and his mate, and my mate, Osty is a true back issue bin diver. It’s always good to see each other, properly catch up, and just get to relax face to face. And I should also say, I’ve read some of Ben’s upcoming scripts and damn is he showing his best side to come. Some really levelled up business.

I got to see Dan Fell who is a guy I know on twitter who talks a good game so we catch up at the Sydney con. It’s an experience like nothing else to expand these circles where you wouldn’t get to catch up or know each other were it not for comics and the cons. Having beers with Felly was a highlight for me.

Louie Joyce was at the con and his art just keeps improving. He’s my favourite current Aussie artist and I’ve seen what he has coming up and you’re going to be keeping an eye on him and remembering him very soon. I scored two sketches from him on the weekend, a Daredevil and Elektra, and they are going into a trio piece with an old Iron Fist of his as soon as I can frame them. It should also be said that Louie’s fine lady friend is just about one of the funniest lady’s as far as existing in my comedy wheelhouse goes. They’re a fantastic pair.

Paul Caggegi is a man I’m coming to respect and admire the more I talk shop with him and get to know him. Dudes like him are what the scene needs, passionate, informed, fun, rad.

I also got a chance to rub shoulders with Dan and Andrew Tribe, Hayden Fryer, Patrick Purcell, Paul Abstruse who always makes me smile. Martin Abel and Jamie were fantastic table neighbours. It’s so nice to have such support and friendship at these periodical weekend skirmishes. And I’m certain I’ll miss someone – sorry in advance.

I have to stress that Tom Taylor is far nicer than he needs to be. He’s always been very quick to support me, my work, and help out wherever he can. He gave me a quick introduction this weekend that meant the world to me and really lifted my spirits.

I did a panel with Martin and Abstruse on the Sunday arvo at 4:50pm, which is a crazy dead slot to field. It was wicked fun with smack talk aplenty and the very few who attended it loved it. I just wish it was earlier in the weekend because I always find – ALWAYS – that panels generate a lot of post-sales for me. Panel goers will often come find my table after seeing how open I am to talking process. I got a few quick sales but it was a shame it was too late in the game. Maybe next time.

The big draw for the weekend for me wasn’t Stan Lee but rather Chris Ryall and Ted Adams. I love that cons down here are drawing Editors and such because that’s really helping the creators out. I know I made the trip to Melbourne two years ago purely because Scott Allie from Dark Horse was there. It’s an opportunity we cannot get otherwise. So I managed to score a little time with Ryall at his booth and he was fantastic to chat with. Things were said that pleased me greatly. It made my weekend feel productive.

My con haul was tight. Bought some notebooks made from old comic annuals with the spines torn off and binding put on with heaps of extra paper as well. They’re super cool things and I did buy more than one. I bought some local books – looking forward to delving into LEFT HAND PATH and WHISKEY – and I did some back issue bin diving. Got some sweet Elektra and Typhoid back issues of their standalone books, and sampled some weird DC Silver Agey type stuff. Could maybe be interesting. It was just nice to shuffle through those bins and soak up the goodness.

Don’t think I bought much else, trying to keep spending to a minimum, where possible.

I guess that covers the con, so let’s look at the nightlife. It was fun.

First night saw me reuniting with my favourite Thai peanut noodles with some mates and beers. Then it was the Novotel bar for more beers and such. A good night that ended with me passing out while talking process and how to break story. Pretty well standard stuff for me.

Then Saturday night saw the con teams fracture. A party offsite for the guests, a swathe of creators hitting an offsite Hooters, and then me and some intimate peeps staying local, drinking at the local pub, then hotel lobby, then back in our room to make sure I felt like packing a bottle of Stones was a good idea to go with Osty’s Cards Against Humanity. A 2:30am finish would make Sunday interesting but no less awesome.

I’m enjoying the con nightlife as everyone relaxes, talks a little game, and it’s just wholesome good fun.

Gotta say, this con has me itching for OCC in Sydney in September. If it can replicate sales and good times then I’m all over it. My table is already booked.

I just read back up, man, this post will be boring for everyone expect like 5 people. Eh, these can’t all be winners, guys. Seriously.

Aaaaand that’s how the con went down. I hope your Supanova was just as rad. I hope you dug the books you picked up. I hope to see you there next time.