From the start, I was struck by how well organized and thought out the show was without being fussy. Thanks to extra load in hours on Friday and an early opening of the loading dock on Saturday morning, there were no long lines or mazes to crawl through to inhibit my checking in and getting my things set up. The whole process from unloading to getting my exhibitor wristband took less than 10 minutes. (OK, one small note of disappointment: I collect my name badges from shows and kind of wish I had gotten one for DCCC instead one of those stick-um-on wristbands that you get at medium to large rock shows and events. I suppose the name badges might’ve been a victim of expedience and budget. If so, I understand.)
The hours of the show were about perfect: 9:00am to 5:00pm both days. A conventional eight hour work day. I wish more shows would do that. The cons that have 10 hour or longer marathons rarely have the foot traffic to back it up, creating energy and enthusiasm draining lulls. That said, DCCC’s foot traffic was a mixed bag: on Saturday things were hopping, but Sunday dragged a bit. I gather that this was the first year that this convention has gone to being a two day affair. That may be a bit too ambitious for this show and location. If I was a guy who was making his living off of shows, I would have been upset about Sunday sales versus the price of an extra day of a hotel room. I think DCCC and other two day shows could benefit from offering one or two day options for exhibitors just like they do for fan tickets.
One upside of sticking around on Sunday was the opportunity to be part of a panel discussion on small press, organized and moderated by DCCC’s Paul Brown. It was a good selection of publishers, listed below, and we covered a decent range of topics from the basics of getting started to printing costs to methods of distribution. Paul did an excellent job of keeping the conversation jumping and making sure all of the panelist had input. For a Sunday morning panel, I felt it was very well attended with an audience of 20 or so people. I kind of felt like I was the designated oddball in the sense that I was often responding to one of my fellow panelists with “Yeah… I don’t do it that way.” Not that these guys don’t do their share of out-of-the-box thinking, clearly that’s part and parcel to being a small press, but it’s just plain to me that I try to solve the puzzle using a different technique.
Here’s Who I shared the panel with:
Eric Adams: Lackluster World http://www.lacklusterworld.com/
Brett Pinson: Boomtown Press http://www.brettpinson.com/boomtown-press/
Jack Knifley http://www.breakthelinecomics.com/
Joe Gilbert: Tether Comics https://www.facebook.com/Tethercomic
AT LARGE IN LOUISVILLE
Like I said, one of the reasons that I signed up for DCCC is that I’d never been to Louisville, but had heard great things about the town. One of my wife Kate and my favorite things to do is spend a long weekend exploring a town that we’ve never been to before. Beyond being fun, it’s also beneficial to me as a comic creator. I think that one of the things that convention gypsies tend to overlook is the value of getting to know a town that you’d like to sell comics in.
Like Columbus, Louisville is rich in record stores, which is so much more up my alley as both a customer and solicitor. Both Astro Black Records and Modern Cult Records took copies of various Nix Comics titles for resale. They also happened to be the two stores that I liked the best of the ones I visited, but rich in record store and DIY culture. Modern Cult is a newish store with bins mostly full of recently released material. It’s a well curated selection that captures a punk/counter culture vibe. The owner, Sean, is an indie/alt commix buff who has given his literature section a visual prominence not normally seen in record stores. (Most record stores relegate zines and comics to some dark dusty recess of the shop, but Modern Cult records clearly realizes that they can lend visual appeal to a shop when properly taken care of.) I ended up trading Sean a bunch of comics for a copy of Guitar wolf’s Spacebattleshiplove LP.
I made some surprising finds at other record stores in the form of 90s and 00s garage and punk records that were long on my list, but hard to find at a reasonable price. A sealed copy of the Waldos LP (Walter Lure of the Heartbreakers band) at Book & Music exchange and a Man or Astroman? 5” single at Better Days records being chief among those finds.
Please and Thank you: http://www.pleaseandthankyoulouisville.com/welcome/
Modern Cult Records: https://www.facebook.com/moderncultrecords
Astro Black Records: http://www.astroblackrecords.com/index.html
Book & Music exchange: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Book-and-Music-Exchange/151407370759
Better Days Records:
Also in Nulu was a cute little coffee house/bakery/record shop called Please and Thank You which boasts about having the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. (Not quite in my mind, but the cookies were very good.) It’s very fun to grab breakfast at a joint that has a small selection of records to flip through while you drink a bottomless cup of joe.
Kate and I are kind of suckers for places we’ve seen on TV, and have been to a bunch of places that we have seen on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. (Don’t judge me, it’s a cool show. Say what you want to about Guy Fieri, but he is great at making the not necessarily ready for prime time folks who he interviews the stars of the show.) So, anyways, we were compelled to try Boombozz Pizza when we saw the “As seen on the Food Network” blurb on its awning. We weren’t disappointed: It was good.