Monday, April 03, 2006

I Left My Heart in Seattle (along with a few Jacksons)

Something I did when I was 2 years old.

Green City Not So Green

Well. here we go again, what can I write about the Microsoft City Comicon? ...hmmm, lemme see. . ."What a great convention!". . .No, not true, it wasn't a good con, in fact, it sucked elephant dick (I'm sure a couple of big-name DC/Marvel artists will disagree with me, but overall, it bombed).

The Northwest's only major comics convention was poorly attended, in my view it's a disgrace, and it does not reflect upon the fine people of Java Town and its surrounding areas, I'm positive there are just as many comics fans in that part of the country as in anywhere else but it tells the story of an inadequate planned and poorly promoted event, I don't think the organizers did enough to get the word out or to invite the type of people who have the power to attract big and diverse crowds, easy for me to say, what the fuck do I know about putting a show together?

Personally, I did OK and can't really complain much as I was able to recover my investment and make a few bucks to spend on extracurricular activities, mainly because my books are kind of "expensive" by comics standards, considering that the average comic book is listed at $2,95, so it takes a lot less individual sales for me to break even and turn a profit, but I find it hard to believe that the average independent comics artist could have come out of that show with a substantial amount of money in his/her pocket.

In terms of self-promotion, and networking this event was OK in my humble opinion. This is another reason why I look at these shows as opportunities to travel, meet fellow artists, students and supporters and enjoy the company of my friends in the industry, I feel bad for many of the artists who depend on these shows for income.

This of course, is not just my opinion, I interviewed a lot of the artists exibiting at the show and the majority were very disapointed. After 3 years of attending these geek festivals, I've developed my own ways to measure the success of a particular event (or lack of). I can tell for sure if a show it's going to suck by observing the crowds, if by the time I roll in on Saturday morning I don't see a long line of people, wrapping around the convention center building, it usually spells doom, especially for a two-day convention. People I talked to offered all kinds of rationale why the show did not draw a bigger audience, me? I believe it's all in the promoting, advertising does work, the right advertising that is.

Now, having said that, and to be fair, I must say that the event ran smoothly and without incidents, the organizers were very corteous and helpful, the place was clean, well-lit and spacious, but the food tasted like shit; have you ever heard the expression "Eat Shit & Die" well, that's pretty much it, but then again the food at conventions everywhere in the US is of school cafeteria quality -without the nutritional value-.

Despite the fact that the con was a financial dud, it did not hinder in any way our ability to ridicule ourselves and to have fun like pigs in manure (and I don't mean cops in a drug raid either). Stephen Silver and Patrick Morgan are not only amazing artists but terrific friends, Silver missed his true calling in life, he should have become a stand-up comedian.

Our efforts to find decent entertainment on Friday night did not yield respectable results, the three of us were virgins -having never visited Seattle previously and without an expert like Stripclub Tony to hold our collective hand- we were lost children; Saturday night, however, proved to be an entirely different story.

Right after the show ended we hooked up with our Canadian pals who are organizing the Calgary show: Kandrix and Laurie B. and we headed to the picturesque Pike Place Marquet by the water, we had dinner at the generic named 'Japanese Gourmet Restaurant' -82 Stewart Street (between First Ave. and Pike Place), which a local woman raved so much about, of course she was wrong! the sushi was rather bland, but the company was grand.

We walked the fine streets of downtown Seattle, crashed an 'art' gallery show, wandered around in circles searching for the "Lava Lounge", a really cozy tiki bar and had a tremendous time hanging and drinking with those crazy "kickass Art" fools. The talented Joe (Patrick's friend) drove us to a very special place, highly recommended by Stripclub Tony whom we found inside awaiting our arrival. Tony's vast knowledge and expertise in the entertainment field is out of this world!, unfortunately (for you) I can't reveal the nature of our business at that locale, let me just say that "what happens in Vegas, is nothing compared to what happens in Seattle", maybe one day I'll write a tell-all book, but not today.

Dropping Names Ain't Polite

But I'll do it anyway. Now, the part of the convention that made it worthwhile: meeting old friends and making new ones; lots of visitors, fellow artists I admire and friends of this here blog, came by and said hello, something that blew me away and nearly made me cry. Thanks for the love, guys and gals!! It makes me so happy to finally put faces to the names of such kind people.

The list is sorta long but off the top of my head, let me give thanks to the great Michel Gagne and his lovely wife for sharing battlefield stories and garlic bread -we'll turn Calgary into our personal playground, I promise you-, my beautiful friend Wade, sorry we couldn't spend more time together, man, we'll do a book together for sure!, Ben Balisteri, the very gracious Ovi Nedelcu with whom I traded compliments and books, my buddy Jason Pearson -Megan says Hi!-, Brian Stelfreeze who I can talk art with for an eternity, Dave Crosland, Abbott Smith and his lovely wife, Scott Morse -whose book on Maurice Noble is nothing short of a masterpiece-, Jen and Greg Thompson, Jeremy Haun, Kara Fairfield (who fed me), Hawaiian Dave -thanks for the chocolates- (yes, he's everywhere), The Original Dangster and his charming, charming better half, Tha Art Slayer and his brother, Darque Artiste, AnimeGWAAAR!, my boy Forest Eaton -I'm going to give you so much original art, you'll run out of walls-, Kevin Isaac, Stripclub Tony, the uber talented Kevin Dart, the gorgeous Camilla, the mighty Adam, Gene Blakesfield, Joe and many more no less important peeps whose names I can't bring to my lips at the moment. And above all, Stephen Silver and Patrick Morgan, without whom, this trip wouldn't have been made possible.

All in all, this was an incredible experience and I'm looking forward to visiting Seattle next year.


PS: New MP3 playlist on sidebar ----------->


manucha said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences, I truly enjoy reading them. It's great to know it turned out pretty good, especially in great company. Best wishes.

manucha said...

Oh, I forgot to mention. . .me gusto tu surf'n ratonsito. Eres talentoso desde infancia. . .;P xo.

The Original Dangster said...

Dang bro, it was great to finally meet you and kick back a couple of cold ones and shoot the proverbial SHIZZAT! It was great to see your amazing work as well..I won't even ask your opinions on my portfolio, I could tell by the look on your face that it blew your mind!

Glad we were able to make the evening fun for you all, cause believe me, we had a blast with you guys..Hope our paths will cross somwhere down the road...Hell next time I may even go and see some TA-TA's with ya!

Oh and just as a note..I talked to Stripclub Tony and he says ya owe him 50 bucks for the nekkids.


geenpool said...

thanks for mentioning me...i'm blushing...and shitting myself...giggle. you draw's vury purdy.

1 said...

you crack me up...

first it sucked elephant's dick, then it was so, so...then an incredible experience.

this review was like drunken-foreplay (unfortunately, I've had experienced such)...what matters, is that in the end, you got off.

i'm new to the world of comics, i'm drawn by the artwork, but now I find my self a bit fascinated by this geekness that you describe.

glad you had a good one. your blog and life, always interesting.


tha_Artslayer said...

you my friend KICKASS! now I need to buy a book! hah Ill be in touch!


animeGWAAAR! said...

hillo mr. Ruiz

I'm am happiness that I have met you at last Saturday at the comiccon here at my homeland town. It is much inspeerations to meet some one
with kicking ass skillets like our fine creu..kreew...krew. here.
I wishes that I may might have gone drinking with you and the Dangster, but Dangster said I drink drunk already... what that may means. I DO NOT KNOW! Oh haha crazy Dangster...

Maybe perhaps time later we drink!

I am going drawring now...

Rock along!!!

Dr 4est said...

Alberto, I'll build more walls.

It was fantastic to finally shake your hand, shoot the shit, and show you my meanger sketchbook. At your request, I'll try to toss a couple hard metallic guns along side some of the soft fleshy ones in a doodle or two. I only wish that you were selling books I don't already own.

I look forward to Calgary. There will definately be some Coronas and womanizing!

Process Junkie said...

manucha: lol, I know! ;P thnks.

Dangster: Likewise, my funky friend. BTW your portfolio kicks ass, the toothless girl is my favorite, she's gracing one of the pages of my portfolio now, when people asked me at the show: "what was that hideous thing doing there?", I acted offended and replied : "This is the way I used to draw before the lobotomy"
I'll see you again next year for sure.

Greenpool: Thanks for stopping by, bro!

One: heh, heh! Everything I write reads like drunken foreplay, let me try to explain this unexplainable business of comics: It just doesn't make sense to a sane individual. This is what you get when you mix greed with very low standards.

In the past people who became famous also became rich, comics makes it possible to become famous and remain poor, the 2 or 3 major publishers control everything and cater to the lowest common denominator: the fanboy or babyman, but the fanboy is very ignorant and narrow minded, they want just one thing and one thing only, superhero tits and ass.

The organizers of these conventions are ultra fanboys, most often than not they are successful comic book shop owners turned show business enterpreneurs, they bring to their shows the artists THEY want to suck ass to and hang out with, which leaves independent comics creators and fans of the indy comics out of the money game.

As an outsider I judge conventions on the following criteria:

The most important one being the attending crowd, both in number and diversity, I don't attend conventions in small towns or the ones in NY, which are exclusively 'babyman' superhero festivals, because those people couldn't care less for my stuff, conventions like the San Diego Comicon and San Francisco's Wondercon are indy friendly because of the attending crowd's diversity which is made of animators, animation enthusiasts, gamers, art students, graphic designers and such. My theory is that Seattle is not a babyman town but the convention is marketed as such.

The fanboy population is aging, as other forms of popular entertainment such as manga, TV cartoons, video games, etc.are gaining ground But they are the main source of revenue for DC and Marvel which at this point don't care much about revamping their comics or investing in new more artistic endeavors, as long as the babyman continues to purchase the toys and other licensing junk. Artistic stuff equates to risky business to them, in fact I don't think they care for comics at all, they view comics as a source of material for feature films and the consequent licensing bonanza that most films generate. It would stand to logic that they should nurture and support the medium but it's not so, they will suck on that cock until it's dry. You will see "Batman" movies until the end of time, that's their narrow minded mentality, greed+low standards.

The second criteria for me is organization; hotels, accessibility, parking and other facilities, service, food and all that good stuff. Some places are terrible in this area, some, like Seattle's Emerald Comicon score high here. At least for me.

The third has nothing to do with the convention and a lot to do with the cities in which these are held. I've managed to have a lot of fun pretty much everywhere I've gone to because of the company. Good friends=good times.

I hope that sheds some light on this drunken subject.

I'm glad you're back, I've missed you.

Back with more later.


FrogDaddy said...

why the con bombed:
seattle teen 1- "Look. A Comic Con's coming to town.
That oughtta be cool."
seattle teen 2- "Are you being sarcastic?"
seattle teen 1- "Sigh. I don't even know anymore."

Kevin said...

Hey Alberto, it was great seeing you this close to my neck of the woods, I will agree Seattle was no San Diego, I guess I have been spoiled with that one. Take care and hope you have a great time in Calgary, hope you brought your cowboy hat. :)

Process Junkie said...

Tha Artslayer: You pathetic excuse for a human being, if you wanted a free book why didn't you say so? :)

animeGWAAAR!: Rock along? you smoking that cheap weed again? It was nice meeting you too, dog. I thought you were just putting up an act on your blog to disguise your true identity but I was wrong, you really are as ugly and mentally handicapped as you look, thanks for drooling all over my table. May god have pity on your retarded soul!

Dr. 4est: I can use a couple of coronas but my days of womanizing are over, in fact they been over for longer than you've been on this planet.

When that young, tall and voluptuous girl approached me, dancing slowly and rubbing her twat on my face I told her to move because she was blocking my view of the stage, she said: "Don't you want a lap dance, big boy" I replied: "No, I'm gay, now move before I scratch your face!"
Try that next time you're in a strip club, it works wonders.

Frogger: Dead on, Frogster!! LOL!

Kevin: Nothing compares to San Diego, I don't think the comparison is fair but this Seattle show could definitely be better. Nice seeing you again, my best to the wife.

John Beatty said...

As always...your con stories make a good, honest read.

Especially coming from your perspective of NOT being a former comic book artist, they are even more insightful.

Nice drawing for a 2 year old! ;)

onemanpunkband said...

your blogg is great and your art is amazing!
love the way you draw gals.

The Hen said...

Alberto, man I needed a laugh today and reading your blog did it man. I love the way you observe the world. You cut through all the bull and get right to the heart of how things work and the way you see things. It's extrememly interesting as well as entertaining. Patrick and Steve are great guys, you fellas must be like the 3 amigos. Thanks for posting up your experience, sounds like you boys had a lot of fun.

tha_Artslayer said...

I totally want to give you my money for your work, no freebies requested here bud, you've honed your craft you should be paid for it. werd!

Process Junkie said...

But you have no money!! ;P You could have taken the books and send me the money later, I know where you live :)

1 said...

....all this time I've been looking for a sugardaddy, when I should have been going after a babyman on his superhero-decorated deathbed.

is there such a thing as a comic groupie or a supa-hero-ho??

[me contemplates new possibilities to escape da' ghetto...i want me some of that dirty Batman money!]

Process Junkie said...

One: Yes, there are many comic groupies, they travel to all the conventions and hang around the booths and tables. They don't like to admit to it though. You can be my groupie but I must warn you, I'm broke.

You're half right, some babymen are wealthy, unfortunately for you, babymen don't like real, opinionated women, they prefer cartoons, cartoon women don't talk back. If you'd dress as catwoman or batgirl you might just get their attention.

Time-Warner owns DC Comics, they are the ones who make the dough, most comic books are losing money, they keep 'em around for licensing purposes, your best bet would be to re-write that movie script you've been working on, make the book about Aquaman or the Atom or Elastic man, I'll draw it and we both can retire to France, where we'll be considered american pop gods, just like Jerry Lewis.

BigGuy, The Hen: Thanks, these are hardly revelations, everyone in the comic business knows what time it is, they choose to ignore it. People and their fetishes.

onemanpunkband: Thank you for the compliment.

Dangster's Better Half said...

Thank you for hanging out and drinking with us. I had to take the time to thank you myself. It was great talking kids and marriage. You are a wonderful man and a truely talented artist. Hope to see you next year.

Process Junkie said...

Awwwww! you are so sweet, that was nice but you're ruining my tough guy image.

That talk we had, let it be a warning to ya both. LOL!!

I had a real nice time, I will be back next year even if the comicon sucks (that is if they allow me in the building).

The Mighty Adam said...

Man, no kidding that con was a dud! I saw one advertisement for it this year, and it mentioned maybe one guest by name. Promoters really dropped the ball on that one.

And 'Japanese Gourmet Restaurant' makes me cringe. Sorry you had to find that out the hard way.

But it sounds like you had fun, so hopefully you will come back next year. There's a lot of really rad stuff to see and do. Shout out at us Seattlites and I'm sure you can get a bunch of restaurants, bars, and entertainment recommendations just from readers of this blog.