Boldy not going to CalgaryExpo
This is the time of year when I would usually be heading to CalgaryExpo, one of the two comic conventions of the year on my calendar. Due to the ongoing pandemic, this is the second time that the show missed its weekend.
Comic conventions are where you find your tribe.
For me, the comic convention was a place to see what was new and to fill a few more slots on my bookshelf. For others, it was a place to connect with other like-minded fans, to get close to creators and to get close to some of the bigger stars, either the writers, the artists, or the actors who brought your childhood to life.
My brother and I camped out in Artist Alley, where a relatively cheap table could be had and where you hoped each year to sell enough art to justify coming back the next year. Every year we got a little bit closer to that goal. They were exhausting and exhilarating events. Some artists managed to hit a different show every weekend for most of the year. The truly dedicated artists could be at a different show every weekend of the year from the first weekend in January until the weekend before Christmas in December. For a variety of reasons, we trimmed our appearances back to just CalgaryExpo in late April and Toronto's FanExpo in late August.
The exhausting part of the show was packing everything up beforehand which would include prepping any new work, filling your inventory gaps and making sure that you had your various convention booth essentials from allergy meds to zip ties. For a show like Calgary, luggage was weighed and every last gram was squeezed into the bags.
Arriving at the show, there was the anticipation of setting everything up and getting your game face on. You were there to introduce your art to the fans streaming past your table. You hoped to see returning faces from your previous appearance since they were usually interested in buying something new. You also hoped to meet a lot of new faces who would enter your world for the very first time.
Traffic would wax and wane each day. You would try not to get discouraged when someone walked by without even acknowledging you were there. Or worse, they spent a lot of time at your booth but then decided to wander off without being able to make a sale. And then you would have the exhilaration when someone did buy something. Suddenly, it was all worthwhile.
We made good friends in Calgary and maybe, some day, we'll be able to get back there. But for now, we're staying safe just like everyone else.