What's New With Wolverine?
I launched my self-published comic book series at Comic-Con. The big one in San Diego. The coolest part about this is that while you’re setting up your booth the only other people in there are industry professionals and you can do a lot of networking. Or just geek out. I did both.
My booth was very close to the man who I think is the most talented artist in comics, David Mack. After I talked to him for a bit I went back to setting up my booth when Joss Whedon walked by. I leapt over my table, ran down the hallway after him and asked if I could give him a copy of my book. He graciously took it, and thinking I should quit while I was ahead I said thanks and let him return to his business.
Comic-Con was fun – met a lot of good people, got a lot of feedback, talked to a lot of comic book news websites, and a bunch of Hollywood producers lied to me about how they were going to turn my comic into the next big blockbuster film.
A few weeks later was Wizard World Chicago. When you first walked into the convention hall there were a lot of booths in your face, but Marvel towered above them all, directly in the line of sight. And directly on the path you had to take to get from the front doors of the convention hall to Marvel’s booth was my booth. I couldn’t believe my luck. As thousands of comic book fans lined up to enter I thought I was about to be overwhelmed with people seeing my comic and dying to know more.
When the doors open people rushed in. And they went straight for the Marvel booth. And as they reached my booth I watched their eyes seeing all the dazzling images from my books, the ones I’d spent countless hours selecting and sprucing up with graphic design and spent many dollars getting printed out as larger-than life posters. And not one of those people paused for a second.
My mistake was thinking that everyone else thinks the way I do, that everyone else is interested in the things I’m interested in. I always went to comic book conventions to peruse the small independent publishers’ tables and find exciting new books that told different kinds of stories, with new writing voices, drawn in artistic styles that I’d never seen in comics before. But 99% of the people at the convention aren’t there to see what’s new, they’re there to see what’s new with Wolverine.
The hardest thing to do is to get people interested in something they know nothing about. But once they’re interested, any little thing is a big deal. You’ve created an entire universe with outlandish characters going on epic adventures? No one cares. The artist who took over penciling the monthly Wolverine book draws his incisors slightly pointier so they look a little more like fangs? Holy shit, we don’t have enough room for all the fanboys trying to get into the auditorium where he’s doing an hour-long lecture on the subject.
I saw Joss Whedon at Wizard World Chicago. This time it was while the convention was open to the public and security guards were ushering him through a crowd on his way to do a Q-and-A. I shouted out something to the effect of, “Did you get a chance to read my book?” He looked up at my posters, and I guess remembered my book. “Sorry, I haven’t had a chance,” he said with an apologetic look on his face. “That’s okay, I’m sure you’re busy.” He rolled his eyes and shook his head with a smile, as if to say, “Oy. You have no idea.”