As a comic book fan we are in a unique position to come up close and personal with our favorite creators. It is a luxury sometimes I feel taken for granted by us the fan, present company included. But when it comes right down to the brass taxes we are so very lucky to have these events. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into these conventions, so that we can have the ultimate fan experience. So I went to the source to figure out the pro side of conventions, open the curtain a bit so we can see a little of what makes it happen. I talked with Kara Moore (@ArtSalesKara) wife, all around bad ass and art manager of the amazing comic artist Tony Moore (@tonymoore) about the ins and outs of conventions.
William Haders: Thanks for taking the time to do this for us, I know you are preparing for the Fan Expo Canada at the end of August, so lets get started shall we, Why do comic conventions?
Kara Moore: I think the number one reason Tony and I do comic conventions is simply because – They’re fun! Where else can you go to meet new people who share your same interests, see someone dressed as Batman, and two feet from them someone dressed as Rainbow Brite?! On top of all that you get to immerse yourself in a culture that is totally accepting of nerdiness, while at the same time experiencing new and wonderful art. If you have never been to a comic convention, I strongly recommend attending one. If nothing else, the people-watching is top notch!
WDH: What is your process in choosing conventions? Do you prefer big cons or smaller shows?
KM: Well, now that Tony and I have a 2 year old, we have to be pretty pragmatic in how we choose what shows we will attend. Sometimes we can’t justify going to a super small show if it means taking 3 days out of our schedule, paying a sitter, and Tony missing that much of his regular work. Honestly though? I prefer huge shows, I love being ridiculously busy. Before Tony and I met, I was a chef, so I am one of those strange people who thrive under stress. I love the commotion and the craziness that comes with big shows like San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con. Tony, on the other hand is the total opposite. He much prefers small shows where he feels like he can relax and take time to talk to each and every fan that stops by to say hello.
WDH: Is this the best format for artists to sell their work or goods or get their name out there? what do you prefer?
KM: I think a combination of social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. and comic book conventions are a great way to get your name out there. I think the best way to make sure you get seen is to just work hard, and really love what you do. If you are passionate about something, people will take notice.
WDH: seems cons can be pretty tedious work, what steps do you take to keep them enjoyable?
KM: It can definitely be tedious for sure. Especially when I am alone in my office until 3am counting print after print and checking off everything on our list of stuff to pack, but I love what I do. I try to keep everything for our conventions as organized as possible. We have a pretty set routine when it comes to getting to a show and setting up. The only time it isn’t enjoyable is when something goes wrong, which is rare. I really really love my job, and Tony and I are extremely lucky to be able to work from home and raise a family at the same time.
WDH: Meeting the fans is paramount, but it seems it is also a great place to network out and meet other pros, is that an accurate assumption?
KM: I would say that is 100% accurate, but conventions are also a great place to make new friends as well! Almost our entire wedding party were creators and friends that we had met through comic book conventions. So much so that it was dubbed “Wedding Con ’07!”
WDH: do you have any tips on how to make my comic convention experience best?
KM: I do!
1. Probably the most important – Wear good shoes! I love my chucks just as much if not more than the next guy, but conventions are large and laid out on concrete floors. If you’re lucky, they might have a thin strip of carpet to walk on, but don’t count on it.
2. Dear God, wash your hands. You don’t know how many times I have had to take a trip to a convention restroom and see people leave on a regular basis without washing their hands. These are the same people who shake the hand of your favorite creator. Yeah, the creator whose hand you want to shake, too. Confluenza spreads like wildfire, so wash your hands or at least carry some sanitizer.
3. Pack a lunch. Convention food usually sucks. Plus who wants to wait in line for 20 minutes just to get some stale nachos?
4. Bring cash. Most vendors won’t be able to accept credit cards. Sure, there is usually an ATM onsite, but the lines are always forever long and sometimes they run out of cash.
5. Have a plan. Make sure you map out who you want to see first and any panels you want to attend. If you want to meet a celebrity, it’s a good idea to check to see if you need a ticket for that signing event.
6. Finally, be courteous. A smile and a handshake will get you a lot further than demands and a bad attitude.
WDH: So this is a comic site about comic books, so are you reading any comics? what might they be?
KM: Oh boy, I am going to lose a lot of cred here, but I honestly don’t read a lot of comics. I am probably the worst wife in terms of that too. I have only read a small handful of Tonys work. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think he is the best at what he does, but I prefer cute stories. I love Katie Cook’s Gronk!, and I loved Blankets by Craig Thompson. Oddly, though, my favorite comic of all time is probably “The Other Side” By Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart, which is not cute at all. When it comes right down to it though, I definitely lean toward publishers like Top Shelf. I love the kind of books they put out.
Any cred she thought she lost, was redeemed by that stellar list. Once again would like to thank Kara for showing us a little of the other side of cons. So whats the moral to this story? Simply this, we are all fans, from the biggest pros, to the smallest children. It takes us all a little bit of strife to do what we love, so when you are at a con remember every bodies people the same. Don’t get upset if you can’t get a sketch or be patient and courteous while waiting in line, with out the comic creators, cons are just wrestlers, porn stars and comic shops. Be good people and get out there to a con, support comic books in every and any way possible. That my friends will keep our little community solid and growing.