“Postscripts from Paradise” a.ka. “Confessions from a (Not So Teenage) Diary of a (Wimpy) Gay Indie Comic Creator”
By Brian Andersen
Indie comic creator behind “So Super Duper,” “Friend of Dorothy,” “Reignbow & Dee-Va,” “Sex and the Superhero” and lots of other super gay stuff! www.sosuperduper.com
DAY ONE: Friday: Number of comics sold – more than I can count on one hand, less than I can count on two hands
Although not a newbie to the San Francisco based comic book (and gaming, TV and movie) extravaganza known as WonderCon (I’ve attended the event for years as a fanboi and actually co-exhibited last year with a few of my dear-queer friends) I entered the convention floor with equal amounts cheer and intrepidation.
Would anyone care? Would any GLBT’ers actually fork over some of their hard-earned recession proof dough for one of my brightly-colored, funny books? Would any of my fellow gay geeks even bother to stop at my teeny-tiny indie slice of heaven hidden amidst a huge-ass convention hall filled to the rafters with comic goodness?
I was happy to be sharing my space with my fellow local queer comic creators Desmond Miller of Slumberland Press, Gene Guillette of RLT Press, and unofficial co-guest Rich Boutell, owner of “Whatever…” comics in the Castro, and the writer and creator behind the new hit comic book series “InterSections.” I was thankful I wouldn’t be facing the weekend alone.
I felt positively hopeful as I rounded the corner to my assigned table, humming the Wonder Woman theme with glee with each stride, when I spotted the sign posted above my booth welcoming me to my table. I froze mid-step.
“O Super Duper Comics.” Normally when I attend a show the convention lists my table as “So Super Duper” or, my lesser known publishing company, “CBG Comics.” But this was something fantastically new! I had to laugh at the awesome ridiculousness of it. Add this minor hiccup to the full-fledged Emma Frost snot-attack I – embarrassingly – displayed towards my fellow table mate over our seating arrangements and this was not quite the auspicious start I had hoped for for WonderCon 2011. (And yes, I did apologize, I’m not a total dick)
Undeterred I shook off the diva-tude and went about setting up my table in a flurry, gearing up for the influx of Con goers as Charlie Brown’s old teacher hazily announced something to the effect that the floor would open 30 minutes early. Yikes! Our table was still a shambles!
Thankfully my long-time facebook cyber-friend, and new-found face-to-face friend, Kevenn T. Smith was also hanging out at my table and his youthful exuberance and wide-eyed excitement perked up my inner dread considerably. Kevenn brought along some super cool art cards he was selling, he also did a special pin-up and back-up story in “So Super Duper” (his pin-up can be seen in “So Super Duper” #10 and the backup story he wrote and drew is featured in “So Super Duper” #11). Heralding from Ohio this was his first San Francisco visit and thus his first attendance at WonderCon and his enthusiasm was delightful!
Once the doors flung open and the crowds entered we steeled ourselves and waited for the throngs to approach our table.
We waited. And waited. And waited.
Boy, was Friday sloooooooooooow.
Thankfully I had my first ever panel to moderate – one that I created and suggested to WonderCon and was shocked that they actually approved it – entitled “San Francisco Underground Indie Comic Spotlight” to help keep my energy up. I was proud of the guest list I wrangled and smiled in delight when I saw the write-up in the official WonderCon program book! Yay!
“From the political to the artistic, this fabulous panel will spotlight the rich past, the thriving present and the exciting future of the San Francisco underground indie comic book scene. Join Trina Robbins (Wimmen’s Comix, The Brinkley Girls), Lee Marrs (Pudge, Girl Blimp), Shaenon Garrity (Narbonic, Skin Horse), Ted Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin, Good Neighbors), Jon Macy (Fearful Hunter, Teleny and Camille), Rich Boutell (InterSections) and moderator Brian Andersen (So Super Duper, Friend of Dorothy) in what’s sure to be a lively discussion. Room 250/262.”
The panel was a hit (despite that fact that one of the panelists was a no-show) and the attendance was better than expected – we had far more than the 5 people show up I was afraid we’d get, so right there it was a smashing success in my book. Sadly I didn’t get a single shot of my amazing panelists, but I’m extremely confident to proclaim that they were all very smart, mega funny, crazy informative, and just damn amazing. Someone did however managed to think to get a pic of me being all moderatory and stuff, so I’m posting it here.
Aside from the panel, the two highlights of day one had to be my Father and Stepmother driving up 45 minutes just to visit me and my table, gawk at the cosplayers, and buy me a $7 hot dog (that shiznit was expensive, don’t ever eat at a Con people, ‘cause like, it’s a Rip. Off.), and my opportunity to meet a lovely, sexy, nice Drag Queen outfitted as Wonder Woman named Sandra O. Noshi-Di’n’t. (Can I adore that name anymore? Nope.) Please sit back, relax and marvel at her splendor.
DAY TWO: Saturday: Number of comics sold – two more than Friday.
Despite the fact that my apartment nearly flooded early Saturday morning thanks to a broken shower head, and despite the fact that we had to sneak our two kitty cats out of the apartment before our landlord came by to fix the Bible-worthy flood (We’re not allowed pets! I know, we’re soooo naughty) day two of WonderCon was pretty awesome! Just look at these adorably happy faces Kevenn and I are sporting!
The flow of people traffic picked up significantly on Saturday, as the word on the carpeted streets within the convention hall was that day two had sold out! Which I believe is a first for WonderCon. I could tell there were tons more people, not by the sales I made, or the people stopping by to chat, but by how long it took me to push through the herds just to make it the bathroom, AND, once I got inside, there was a LINE for the urinal! Unheard of in most men restroom situations, am I right guys?
I was lucky enough to be invited to do a signing at the Prism Comics booth that afternoon – if you haven’t heard of Prism then WTF, you SO need to check out their site ASAP, ‘cause they support queer comic creators! Although my signing didn’t amount in many sales (I believe I signed and sold one comic) I did find out that the first issue of my comic book series “Friend of Dorothy” sold out from the Prism stock before Prism even made it to WonderCon! Yay! That made me very excited, so excited I had to rush back to the aforementioned restroom. Thankfully I had more “FOD’s” at my table to restock!
My long-time boyfriend Preston (10 years and counting peeps) spent some time with me at my booth all weekend. As adrobs as he is, looking cute and being all chatty, he managed to sell a couple of comics! I can honestly say that free convention minions (like partners, family members, indentured servants) to help hawk your stuff are the best.
I wish I had a picture or two of the fab after party that night at “Truck” – a local gay bar – put on by the porn and comics site Heroesnhunks.com, but let me just say that the sexy shindig was attended by many scantily clad geeks with rocking bods! Drool! A good time was had by ALL!
DAY THREE: Sunday (my Funday): # of comics sold – more than I can count on two hands!! Woot!
Sunday was the BEST day at the convention by far. No exploding showers, no bitch attacks on my end, just lots of really great people stopping by, another fantastic panel I was lucky enough to be invited on, lots of comics sold, an interview with the SyFy channel and so much good will and love I thought my heart had gone all Grinchy and grown 10 sizes too big.
My boyfriend, who’s a stellar hair and make-up artist and signed with Ford Models (sorry, I have to brag), brought along an actual professional model to be my booth babe while I attended the Prism Comics “Queer Youth” panel. The girl worked the table like she was on Tyra’s ANTM gunning to win a challenge – she even sold a few comics herself!
The “Queer Youth” panel was amazing, moderated by the always witty Zan Christensen, and attended by myself, David Kelly, Christine Smith and a third lovely gal who’s name I can’t remember and I feel awful about it because she filled in for the fourth panelist who sadly couldn’t make it and she was really, really, really nice and smart. We had a lively discussion on the importance of having queer comics that are suitable for the young-ums (not that I don’t enjoy myself some gay tentacle sex in my comics every now and again). Despite the fact that I choked up for a moment and almost cried (I’m such a dork) when talking about comics the panel was terrific. The attendance was great and the energy in the room was warm, positive and as sweet as Kitty Pryde was when she first joined the X-Men. (Am I reaching for that analogy there? Yeah, I am. Oh well.)
My fave moment of the panel came after we wrapped up and I heading out and this woman stopped me to tell me she loved my “costume.” (Huh? Costume?) I smiled tentatively. (Was she joking? What costume? Was I wearing a costume?) She then proceeded to tell me that she loved “Dr. Who” and that she was happy I dressed up as him. (I did? Which version?) I thanked her and made a note to look up all the Doctor Who’s to see what she meant.
After my run in with the cute “Who” fan I was jazzed to be asked by this buxom, beautiful, crazy fun actress/correspondence lady for the SyFy channel who wanted to know if I’d like to be interviewed for a potential segment on SyFy.com. Me? She wanted me? *&%$ yeah I was interested! (Thank goodness she asked the rest of my panelists too, because they were all so good!)
With all this excitement I can say I was even more happy that my family drove 45 minutes to the Con just in an effort to support me, their super nerdy, total geeky family member. I’m truly blessed. So please indulge me as I post this picture of them.
The amazing day wrapped up with some incredible Cosplay pictures I managed to snag as I wandered the hall minutes before the doors sealed shut for the year, the best being (duh) the nearly nude Power Guy, pictured below Hellcat.
All in all WonderCon 2011 as a stellar experience. It was a time for the geekiest at heart to gather as one and bath in our shared love for a medium that many deride as “childish.” Childish my ass. Comics are for everyone! And based on those I saw who attended there were a large cross-section of adults, kids, teens, straights, girls, gays, everything. Anything that can bring such a wide group of people together deserve to be celebrated, championed and cheered!
I’d like to leave you with this impromptu comic jam a number of artist friends drew on my table starring my main character Psyche from “So Super Duper.” For me, this is what making my own comic books is all about; seeing people respond to something I created, wanting to draw it and recreate it with their vision. This is the best reward.