Convention Report: Cincinnati Comic Expo 2014
I was invited out as a guest for a show I’ve never done before, Cincinnati Comic Expo (not to be confused with Cincinnati Comic Con, which is something totally different). The show was a ton of fun, an opportunity to hang out with friends I don’t normally get to see and to meet some new friends, and also had some incredible attendance – and some really awesome attendees.
So without further delay, let’s get to it!
Having spent the night at my buddy’s (Justin Castaneda – When I Was Little, Aw Yeah Comics) house, we got up super early and drove all the way from his place to Cincinnati with few stops in between. This worked out well for me, since 1) it saved on hotel costs for a night, and 2) we got to hang out and catch up in the car ride down.
Once there, we checked into our hotel (and met up with his friends, who would also crash with us in the hotel), and then went to the convention center to set up. The floor had a great open feel to it. Instead of artist alley being in rows, it was instead in pods. There were six exhibitors per pod, four on each corner and then two in the middle section. I was lucky enough to land a corner pod over by the Kids Corner. We had amazing placement, and therefore amazing sales and traffic.
Corner booth – an amazing placement!
The first day was a little slower, which wasn’t surprising considering school was in session and people were working. After 5pm, however, it started to pick up a bit. Friday was an early day, however, so we broke down and went out to dinner. We traveled across the river to a little outdoor mall, which had a variety of dinning choices. We found a pub that we liked and ordered there, grabbing some drinks and food and enjoying some fun company from our hotel roommates.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel and went to bed, calling it an early night (since it had been an early morning) so we could hit Saturday recharged.
I woke before the rest of the group to grab a little breakfast downstairs, and then headed to the con to set up. The morning sun greeted us among the unique countryside of Cincinnati – it kind of reminded me of Seattle a bit.
The view from the hotel room
Another day of strong sales followed, with lots of interest in the new Reading with Pictures book – as well as my pre-orders for Albert the Alien. I also had some awesome table neighbors, chatting them up and telling jokes all weekend.
Traffic was strong throughout the day, with a lot of young families in attendance, but I also noticed a lot of people buying art. More so than buying books. I started to promote my commissions more, but thankfully book sales were still solid throughout the day.
After the floor closed, I was invited to dinner with some good friends of mine: Paul Storrie (Robyn of Sherwood), Thom Zhaler (My Little Pony, Love and Capes), and Chris Jones (Young Justice). It was nice to get to catch up with these guys, since I rarely get to see them – and even when I do, it’s usually in a larger group, so conversation can be a bit distracting.
After dinner, we went to the bar to see if we would see anyone else we knew (or run into any celebrities), but unfortunately we did not. We called it an early night (midnight or so), and so I went back to the room and crashed. Justin and our other roommates had gone out to see a movie, and didn’t arrive until I was fast asleep. Thankfully, they didn’t draw on my face. 😉
The final day of the show brought more families, more sales, and even a few commissions. I had skipped breakfast after checking out of the hotel, so I grabbed something at the convention center. Something they had been promoting all weekend, but the line was always super long to get it. Well, thankfully there was no line while we were setting up our tables, so I finally went and got one: a grilled cheese doughnut!
Grilled cheese doughnuts. With bacon! No, seriously.
It was as delicious as it sounds, and probably just as prone to cause a heart-attack. But I ate it anyway.
During the sales of the day, a guy asked me to do some Adventure Time commissions for him. But he actually brought his own sketch cards, which had a semi-glossy finish on them. It was different to draw on someone else’s cards (especially when it came time to color them), but sure enough I finished them up and knocked them out.
Adventure Time sketch card commissions!
A little before the close of the show we decided to break down and head home. Mostly to try to beat the traffic from a local sporting event that was going to be letting out around the same time. Thankfully, Justin and I beat the traffic out of the city and he was kind enough to drive me all the way home.
Cincinnati Comic Expo was a ton of fun, filled with a great layout for the show, some amazing guests, and incredible attendees. I absolutely recommend attending this show (costs are low, especially compared to a Chicago show), either as an attendee or an exhibitor.