This past weekend I was a guest at a first year show called Con Alt Delete, along with fellow comic creators Russell Lissau and Gabriel Bautista; and such awesome celebrity friends as Vic Mignogna, LittleKuriboh, Doug Walker and the whole Channel Awesome crew. While the show was small (it was a first year show, after all) it was still a ton of fun. Below is the convention report for the weekend.

Got up early in the morning (earlier, I must say, than when I go into the office…about as early as when I go to the gym during the week) and hopped a train over to my good friend Russell’s so we could share breakfast and relax a bit before the show weekend. We went to his favorite diner in Arlington Heights, and then headed over to the convention to set up our tables.

Despite the fact it was a Friday (and school’s in session), the place surprisingly had quite a few attendees already at the convention. After we all set up next to each other, the commerce (and hilarity) of the weekend began. I attended opening ceremonies on behalf of the comic group, had a few hilarious interactions with the other guests of the show (some of who I was meeting for the first time, like Richard Epcar and his wife, Ellyn Stern), and then headed back to the floor to sell.

The booth is ready for commerce!

Gabriel Bautista and friends make silly faces

Lori is the new Russell Lissau

We also had some panels on the first day. At 4pm, Russell and I hosted a “Writing Comics” panel. We had some great attendance, and some excellent questions from fans who were truly interested in honing their craft and learning to be a student of comics. Russ and I do a great panel, playing off each other’s experiences (which vary quite a bit), and appealing to the mainstream lovers (his area of expertise), as well as the independent press and webcomic crowds (my area of focus).

After that, Gabe and I hosted a “Making Webcomics” panel that also had some strong attendance, and some great questions about finding an artist, building an audience, and managing all of your other responsibilities (school, work, social life) on top of creating serialized content.

After the panels we returned to the floor for a bit, and then took off for a quite bite of dinner. I had quite a few commissions and sketch card sales during the weekend, which was nice because I had just redrawn about 50-60 sketch cards, and designed another round of 12+ new sketch cards for the weekend. With the commissions, too, I had a unique challenge to draw some characters I’d otherwise never get an opportunity to draw.

Commission sketch card for Beta Ray Bill

At the end of the night, Russell and I retired to the hotel bar for some adult beverages and a few rounds of pool, and then we went to sleep.

Saturday started early in the morning for us, with Russell wanting to hit up the pool and me wanting to get in an hour of working out at the gym (a great way to get some energy for the day). Russell cut out early because the pool was cold, and after my workout we headed to get some breakfast at the hotel cafeteria. They had a nice breakfast bar, and a good omelet station, and we had ourselves a protein filled feast to start our day off right.

The day started earlier on the floor, too, with the show opening at 10am (as opposed to noon, when the previous day had started). I had a few sales right off the bat, and a few commissions I had to knock out.

Elektra sketch card

Things slowed down after a few hours, as many of the attendees were going to panels and getting autographs from the other guests, so I ducked out for a bit to hang out with the Channel Awesome gang. I sat with Doug Walker and his family, along with Malcolm Ray, Brian Heinz, Orlando Belisle, and a few late stragglers who were a little under the weather. We went to a local Chinese restaurant, which had generous portions and some delicious food.

Brian drinks his fu-fu drink, at lunch with the Channel Awesome gang

After lunch ended, I rushed back to the hotel to attend a panel with Gabe on time management and helping to maximize productivity for young creators – and we spouted off some of the funniest examples of productivity killers (cough cough Candy Crush), and some ways to help find time for doing creative things.

After the panel, it was time to return to the floor and sell for a few more hours being heading off to dinner (which I really wasn’t hungry for, since lunch had only been a few hours earlier).

Ren Bautista has some stylish hair accessories, and makes them look good!

Dinner with some of the greatest people I know!

Immediately following dinner, I had to bum rush back to the convention for the 18+ improv panel, which turned out a bit different than I had experienced in the past. Previously I had done the improv as a series of games with the other guests who were there. But this time, they opened the improv as a workshop to the attendees as well – and split us up into groups and had us do a single game, which is called “freeze.”

Essentially, 2-3 people play out a scenario until someone else in the group says “freeze!,” and then you go in, replace one of the players, and start a new scene in the same poses everyone is stuck in. It’s a really fun exercise, which got a little chaotic towards the end – but everyone had a blast, and ultimately that’s what counts. Even my artist, Gabe, joined in on the fun – and he did a great job!

After that panel we went to the Green Room and hung out with the other guests, having a few drinks and generally relaxing. Around 11pm we all headed over to my final panel of the convention – the 18+ Cards Against Humanity Panel. It’s a really fun time where you play the game with the entire room – which was filled to capacity – and points are given to people who present the most relevant (and usually the more inappropriate) card.

It’s a fun game, but definitely not for kids. We all had a great time on the panel, which ran late into the night, and then afterwards we all went our separate ways.

Dan and Jillian’s 18+ Cards Against Humanity panel was standing room only!

The final day of the show is always the most difficult. You’ve been having a fun time all weekend, and you know this is the end. However, I try to channel that energy in positive ways, and focus on ending the con strong – and that’s exactly what happened.

Sales were super strong on the final day of the show, with commissions and book sales and returning fans coming back to buy comics and art. After a few hours, my wife showed up and we grabbed a quick bite before breaking down and taking off for home. Before we knew it, the weekend had ended, and it was time for us to go back to the real world.

Miku commission for an excited fan!

Overall, Con Alt Delete was a fun weekend filled with great attendees, awesome fans, fun guests, and good friends. I’m looking forward to doing it again next year – and will definitely have new books on the table for fans to buy and enjoy!