Convention Blog

Below are quick hits and pictures from previous conventions that I have attended, with postings of any future convention events that we’ll be attending.

CONVENTION SCHEDULE  –  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to attend any conventions in 2016.  Our focus over the past year has been on producing our next major property and its associated screenplay.  We feel that this has been accomplished and will hopefully be attending the Chicago-Con in 2016.  Stay tuned for details.

Wizard World/Chicago-Con 2012: We decided to cap off the year with another Chicago show, this time revisiting the Wizard World setting in Rosemont. Over the past five years the show has shifted away from being sponsored by the big two (Marvel and DC) but this is a blessing for all of the independent publishers out there because the crowd that comes to this convention is in the mindset that they want to find a great indy property. We debuted our first kid-friendly book, THE MONSTER’S LULLABY, and were fortunate enough to have the series artist and co-creator, Tony Santiago, in attendance. We signed and sold a bunch of books and prints with parents e-mailing me after the show, telling us that it was refreshing to find a kid’s book at the show. As for sales – we had another great show and achieved the coveted, “selling through your stock” crisis with SUPER TEAM ULTRA FORCE. A big thank you for all those who stopped by and checked us out.  A big thank you to Blake and my brother Patrick, for helping out.

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C2E2 2012: Another great show in downtown Chicago. Blake was on the road crew again, and is now a permanent fixture on the Paper Street Comics team, and we sold very well to the masses who attended. This convention was the official launch of the CAREFUL… trade/OGN. The trade outsold original expectations and was well reviewed by those who picked it up.  We also got to meet the winner of Top Chef Season 4 – Stephanie Izard (who loved our property, Careful…)

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Evercon 2012: The best of Evercon… with one exception. Unfortunately, due to a death in the family, our good friend Jacob Reuth (of Cube Crazy) couldn’t make it. He is the rock star of Evercon, and was the person who convinced me to start attending the con three years previous. Jake, you were missed, but the artwork you gave to the convention for their programs was much appreciated. As for Paper Street, it was another great convention. We actually now have die-hard fans! There were several people who have been coming by the booth for three years now and have purchased everything we’ve published (thank you a thousand times over). But, more importantly, this was the official launch of CAREFUL… #2 – the book literally arrived at my house that afternoon and my wife had to drive it to the con. We had a massive line waiting for the issue at 2:00 and the booth was buzzing with people eager to get their hands on the latest installment.

 

C2E2 2011: This has to rank up there as one of the top three shows I have ever been a part of. We were showcasing with a table in Artist’s Alley and were selling very well, I had one of my good friends (Blake Zurawski) tagging along to help sell comics (additional help and accommodations from Jim O’Hara  as well), there was a meeting set-up with C.B. to further discuss the pitch I ran by Joe Quesada, and it was great to get back into the Chicago area to catch up with old friends and family.

The show was a great success, in terms of sales, and we were seated next to Chris Uminga, the artist for my Marvel Christmas story that was recently published in their 2010 digital holiday special. But the highlight was going to a dinner at Rick Bayless (winner of Top Chef Masters) restaurant, Frontera. The late night dinner was a private event that seven people were able to attend with Marvel mainstays, C.B. Cebulski, Joe Quesada, and Brian Michael Bendis. I have said many times that Mark Millar is one of the two guys who got me back into comics – Bendis was the other. It was amazing to sit across from the guy and talk about everything under the sun for most of the evening and the food was absolutely incredible – added bonus was meeting Chef Bayless himself.

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Evercon 2011: We were starting to build a local following and that became evident at our second convention in my current hometown of Weston, Wisconsin. This was our second appearance at the convention and we were very pleased with the sheer amount of people who were running up to the booth asking for our recent issues, as they remembered us from the year previous. There is no better feeling, as a creator, then to have people come up to you and ask for more of your stories.

 

San Diego 2010: The white whale of a convention that I had dreamed of attending since I was young child. I flew out to San Diego and met up with best friend, and frequent collaborator, Gentry Smith. We spent the week taking meeting with several producers who were looking acquire the rights to our properties, met with C.B. to discuss me possibly pitching them a story for their holiday book (which proved to be a success), and spent the weekend being immersed in one of the greatest settings possible.

The highlight of the show was that I bid (and won) a brunch with Marvel’s Joe Quesada. I used the time to pitch a concept that was loved by those in the room, and one I hope will see the light of day in the near future.

 

Evercon 2010: A great local show in the center of Wisconsin was a huge success for Paper Street as we sold a lot of books, were interviewed by the local press, and Victor was asked to run two classes for local teens interested in self-publishing and creative writing.

 

Edge-Con 2009: Paper Street was proud to be a part of the first ever Edge-Con in southern Wisconsin. The people in the town of Edgerton were great and we met some great artists and publishers. The highlight was talking shop with Art Balthazar for an extended period.

 

Wizard World Con dates/years:

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2009: The official word from Paper Street Comics on the 2009 Chicago-Con front was that it thoroughly rocked! This was the first convention that we decided to show our materials in a proper manner and we went with an eight foot table in Artist’s Alley. A TON of prep work was put into trying to make our small self-publishing company look as professional as possible and I think the time spent was worth it.

We managed to sell 90 “Pencilneck” trades, 74 issues of “The Elite” (#1 & 2), and 57 issues of “The Legend of Red” (#1). I cannot say “Thank you!” enough to those who have shown their support for these issues. Before this con I was worried that we would be passed over on a continuous basis (remember, I’m coming from the middle of Wisconsin and the closest LCS is over 30+ miles away – so there is very little interest in my passion for comics up here) but there was a lot of great supporters for the indie scene as a whole and Artist Alley was a happening spot on the floor.

Know that I will be working twice as hard to make sure we not only publish the new issues we have in the works, but also finish up the series we’ve started (because several of you made threats that I will be severely injured if I show up next year without new issues for Red or The Elite).

Throughout the course of the four days I managed to meet a ton of cool people who were nice enough to listen to my pitch on the three different properties that we were pushing (a big THANK YOU to those who purchased after our talk), was interviewed by four different people on camera (one was fully dressed as a vampire), and had a lot of great feedback on the books as a whole. The greatest thing that I could have heard was mentioned by four different people in them buying issues on Thursday and Friday, reading them on Saturday, and coming over Sunday to say that they would purchase whatever I write from now on – there could be no greater “high” than that as a writer.

All-in-all this was such a surreal experience as I have only been selling issues to family members and immediate friends. To hear strangers supporting my work and coming back to buy more issues was like a dream come true. I plan on hitting up a couple of other cons in the Midwest in order to keep the momentum going and San Diego, C2E2, and Chicago-con 2010 are all on the eventual horizon.

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2008: Unfortunately the summer was already booked with previous commitments and that forced Victor to forego attending any shows.

 

2007: Another awesome year in Chicago. Mark Millar was there and, as always, it was great to see him and hang out with a bunch of the creators that we all admire. Victor spent time with Mark and was introduced to several other artists, making it the best convention yet. John Cassaday was cool as hell, we also met Erik Larsen, Jai Nitz, the Cannon brothers, C.B. Cebulski, Sal Loria, and several members of the Millarworld forums (Jim, Will, Pat, & Nick). One of the days I was walking around with Mark and Erik and we bumped into Rob Liefeld, giving way for the following picture to be taken. As mentioned – the best convention yet.

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2006: The year where Victor had nothing to promote and no one to hang out with… Actually, a lot of shopping was done and some contacts were made, but Paper Street wasn’t ready to start promoting Pencilneck without at least two issues in the can.

 

2005: This would have been a bummer of a convention because Mark Millar wasn’t able to attend (Get well soon man!). However, the show as a whole was a blast because of the guys from Across the Pond Studios. Stephan and his posse were there in full effect with CBG versions of “Armor X” and “Iron Ghost”. After the show we had an awesome time at a side BBQ held at a friend’s house in Chicago and at the Hyatt bar.

 

2004: During one night at the 2003 convention Victor partied with the stars of the industry and realized that one is never going to impact and reach the real people if they are behind a booth at a convention meeting several hundred in line. A decision was made to use the money Victor had saved to secure a room at the Hyatt for the 2004 show.

It was a year fetching more pleasure than business. Every night was used to socialize with some really great people, including fans, professionals and other independent creators. Over the course of three nights, hundreds of dollars were spent entertaining and very little sleep was had. It was definitely worth it because Mr. Millar was there in full-force and we had a blast talking about all sorts of madness.

 

2003: Victor took a break from comics and went back to film and video editing after the initial story of Pencilneck went flat. He bought a new computer to go with his camera and used them to create some of the videos that can be found on this website (the YouTube link at the top of the page). These videos were then entered in Wizard’s Video Competition. The reasoning was that if Zeb could win this competition and get a gig writing for Spiderman, then why couldn’t Victor. However, there were not many people in the Chicago-land region that were willing to act, so his video-shorts were created using other’s work (i.e. Lord of the Rings/Dumb and Dumber video clip, etc.), which was not what Wizard was looking for in a finished piece.

During the event Victor handed out DVDs of his work at every chance. While it didn’t lead to any big time studio work, Victor was hired on to make videos for several weddings. The key moment to this convention for Victor was attending the VIP event for Wizard and meeting his favorite writer, Mark Millar. It was there that he was invited to hang out and meet & greet others at the Hyatt. Good times.

 

2002: This was Victor’s first attempt at breaking into the comic book industry. Four months before the convention he learned how to make a comic by reading a book from the library and thought that one could be rushed out before the show. It was an expensive lesson to learn. The script and idea were rushed and only one artist was available, so many (too many) compromises were made. The idea was to start the story with issue #3 and, since the story was not called “Star Wars”, it too did not go over so well.

All in all the experience was worth it. A big THANK YOU goes out to Ron of Apocalypse Comics for helping Victor with the production process and for providing booth space to sell issues. Most of the time at the convention was used exploring the floor, passing out portfolios and chatting with editors, artists, and other writers. However, we did manage to sell some issues throughout the event.

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