Convention Report: Anime Midwest
I was a guest of honor at Anime Midwest this past weekend, along with friends and fellow comic creators Russell Lissau (Strawberry Shortcake, Shrek), Steve Horton (Amala’s Blade), Alan Evans (Rival Angels), and Sean Lindsay (Spinnerette). It was a newer show, in it’s third year, but the attendance was great and everyone had a really fun time. And amazingly enough, sales were through the roof.
In the morning we drove out to Rosemont after breakfast, to get our badges and set up our tables. Unfortunately the show floor opened at the same time as opening ceremonies, so I wasn’t able to attend, but the floor was quickly crowded with people — all of whom were interested in buying!
Trevor standing in front of his booth, showing off the books.
I was visited by Doug Walker and his family, as well as some of his co-stars, and chatted them up for a bit before returning to sales. Friday was my highest sales day by far (a trend I’m noticing at a lot of shows this year), and the fans were rabid for more. This is where the panels kicked in.
Alan invited me to join him for Making Webcomics Part 1, where he, Sean, and I talked about why we made our webcomics and how we went about doing it. The audience had some great engaging questions, and immediately after I went to my next panel: An Evening with Trevor Mueller. I mixed up the panel by introducing a few new stories, but also keeping some fan favorite classics, and at the end opened it up for sales. And boy did the sales come. I smoked my weekend goal by the end of the day, and returned to the room for bed.
The group got up around 6:30am to hit the gym. Joined by Alan and Steve, who went straight for the cardio machines, I started a heavy circuit of arms and shoulders (I wasn’t going to work my legs at the show, since I would be standing for the rest of the weekend). After working out and showering, the group went to breakfast at O – the Hyatt restaurant – and then headed to the floor for another day of sales.
Attendees seemed more tired on Saturday than they did on Friday, but the floor opened earlier and it’s likely many of them stayed up late with the fun and excitement of the first day. Sales were slower for me than a usual Saturday, but this too is a trend I’ve been noticing lately at conventions overall.
Making a sale.
After a solid day of selling, the group went to the Red Bar for a quick bite before our panels. We were joined by Doug and his friends, and all had a fun time talking about the convention and some of the crazy stories we had experienced so far. After dinner, we rushed off to Making Webcomics Part 2 panel, where we were joined by my artist Gabriel Bautista. The discussion took a surprisingly detailed turn when questions about production set up and DPI dominated the panel for a good 20 minutes. Clearly these attendees were very interested in making their own comics – and that’s awesome!
After the panel we dropped off our stuff and headed out to the local theater to catch a late screening of This is the End. The group had a few drinks and went in, knowing the movie would be cheesy and our significant others would likely never want to watch it with us. And boy were we right – but the movie was still hilarious, all the same. It was the perfect kind of movie to watch with your buddies, and we found ourselves quoting the movie for the remainder of the weekend.
After the movie we headed back to the convention to say hi to some people in the green room, and then headed off to bed.
The final day of the show opened with breakfast, and then we all went to the floor for a final day of selling. And the sales continued to roll in. The group sold out of most of what we had brought for the weekend, having some record sales for the year so far. We skipped closing ceremonies to try to squeeze in a few more last minute sales, and then started packing for home.
Overall, Anime Midwest was a very fun show with an impressive attendance and amazing guest lineup. Sales were strong throughout the weekend, far exceeding my expectations for the show, and good times were had by all. I encourage you to attend this show in 2014, and hope to be invited back as a guest again next year.
Special thanks to all of the staff, volunteers, and attendees for making this such an awesome and amazing weekend! You guys rock!