Anthrocon 2010 — The Report!

To sum up — people great, sales dismal.

Bad news first–sales were down something like 50% for me. Table sales were really weak, art show was so-so, although a lot of my long-time collectors and buddies came through there, and I am terribly grateful for it.  (Did win a ribbon in the art show, though, as one of the GoH choices from Jim Martin. I was very flattered.)

Book sales went well, sold out FAST, pin sales seemed okay, stuff like the Steampunk Butterfly wouldn’t stay on the table, but Kevin and I were noticing was that there weren’t any of the BIG sales. I think the most anybody dropped on straight merchandise was $30. Generally you get a couple people who come in and drop $60-100, but not this time, which is an interesting shift in the sales dynamic.  (And we had those at A-kon, so this is really the first I’ve seen of that shift.)

Probable culprit is the economy, of course–people were spending okay at the last AC, but maybe it’s finally sunk in long term. And I have less new art this year than usual, given that I’ve been working like a dog on Dragonbreath instead of general art, and Digger 5 came out at this con, which means my fans may have been buying that instead. Which might all be factors…but a fair number of other artists who are pretty reliable at the cons were also getting depressed sales, so it wasn’t just me.

Ah, well. Some days you get the bear…

That aside, as always, it was a fun convention. Love the people, great to see everybody, lot of fans I’ve known forever and who are always wonderful to see again, great to hang out with the other artists and compare notes. Drank heavily, was sent booze by the Furry Illuminati, met new people, signed lots of books. Some very sweet gifts from people, including a spectacular knitted Cthulhu with accessories, a stuffed wombat in a fez, and a tiny squash-god phalloi.  There’s a reason I love this con. Kevin was his usual indispensible self, and while Jennie did not make enough to make a return financially feasible, she claims to have had a very good time.

A few lovely moments: “Oh god! I love your art! I am so embarassed that the first time I’m meeting you, I’m wearing a giant pig suit!” (That was Luve, whose art is awesome, and who I was delighted to see, pig suit and all. The moment, however, was one of those wonderful little gems of experience that one treasures forever.)

“You can’t die now! There’ll still be people who show up at your funeral going “Wait–Blotch is dead? But why are there two caskets?” (Blotch is a two-woman team who does a lot of work with Sofawolf. Apparently much the fandom is still really confused as to their numbers and gender.)

“That oryx has a nice ass….God, I wish that was the first time I’d ever uttered that line.”

“Kevin, I need you to bring Bandaids. Or the duct tape and a napkin. I don’t want to lose my place in the art checkout line. Yes. Yes. Mistakes were made. A cinderblock attacked me. What? No, I said something rude about its mother. Have I mentioned that you’re awesome…?”

So a good time was had by all.

HA! I knew it was aliens.

It’s always aliens.

(Playing video game. In the interests of spoilers, I won’t mention which one.)

And another thing. Why is it always Adam and Eve that gets riffed on? Just once, I want to see the big reveal be the origins of another creation myth. You go through the whole thing, and you find…a scale from the GIANT WORLD TURTLE! Aaaaaaah! The big secret is that there’s a giant alien reptile living under the entire North American continent! GET THE ROCKET LAUNCHER!

Or we can go Egyptian. The item that the secret societies have been hotly seeking is, in fact–the porn magazine that Atum, the Creator, was whacking off to, thereby creating the heavens and the earth! GET THE ROCKET LAUNCHER!

Seriously. Always Adam and Eve, and you never get to shoot ’em.

Dangit…

I was arguing on the internet again and wound up looking up the Phoenix zoo’s Operation Oryx (credited with pretty much single-handedly saving the Arabian Oryx from extinction and eventually leading to the reintroduction of the species into the wild) to prove my point and choked myself up doing it.

There was this stretch after puberty when I never cried at anything. I used to roll my eyes when my mother went through a box of Kleenex watching Out of Africa. Now I tear up over all kinds of stuff. You put the Dalai Lama on the radio for five minutes and I’m sobbing into the steering wheel. If I ever need to make sure my tear ducts are working, thirty seconds thinking about the scientists who were frantically saving golden frogs in advance of the fungus that was wiping them out will leave me no doubt whatsoever. (Don’t even get me started on movies. Kevin and I didn’t last five minutes into Up without bawling…)

Thing is, it’s not even BAD stuff that does it. Tragedy leaves me glum but dry-eyed. It’s when we do GOOD and people don’t suck that I turn into a puddle.

I don’t think I’m depressed or crazy. Maybe I’m just getting old.*

*Insert obligatory beating from readers who consider 33 barely old enough to dress self reliably. Mea culpa.

Flame Frog

The flames make him go faster.

Froggy got flames!

A silly little amphibian for the AC art show coming up–started with a digital underpainting, sealed to board, worked over in colored pencil and acrylic ink, then gold leafed like crazy. (Yes, my pants are covered in gold leaf. Also my chair and my desk and bits of my hair.) 6 x 8, original for sale at AC, unless somebody wants to make me the proverbial Offer I Can’t Refuse first.

A-Kon 2010

Whew. Okay. Con report time. Gotta make one while I can still remember it, before it fades into that vast sea of Cons I Have Known.

The Good

  • The fans, the fans, the fans.  Man, you guys are awesome. Met some great people–long-time readers, long-time commenters, people I’ve been chatting with on LJ for years, some wonderful lurkers. I met people who breed poison dart frogs and people who are excavating archaeological sites in Texas, people in costumes that defied description, a wonderful woman who ducked into the Con in the brief period before her son’s Eagle scout ceremony (and brought Kevin a really cool antelope neckerchief slide and a wombat for me–lacking neckerchiefs, I will just have to find a way to tack it to my Wall of Cool Stuff.) A reader even brought me Laughing Cow cheese.  You gotta love these people.
  • The artists. Met some awesome colleagues, like Laura Garabedian (who was a great sport about getting roped into Iron Artist) and Crystal Yates, who does Earthsong, and of course hung with Jennie Breeden and crew. Long-time artist friend Dana appeared with a copy of “Duck and Rabbit Seasoning” which Kevin is going to steal from me, I just know it. I was also gifted with phalloi fan art, which I am always very flattered by.
  • Also got a chance to hang around with James and Mel of Two Lumps fame, who are pure concentrated awesome. J is like a homicidal teddybear, and Mel is lovely and gracious and capable of snapping your spine in any number of ways. Some of us collect wombats, some of us collect martial arts belts. We all have our little hobbies.
  • The lovely women of Scuttlebutt, INC. Our table was next to them. They rocked. Kevin made me trade seats with him so that he and their inker could elbow one another whenever a hot Doctor Girlfriend or Faye Valentine walked by.
  • The staff. The con did a great job for us, very well run, any crises occurring occurred under our radar. While we didn’t make enough money to afford to come out on our own, we’d definitely do the con again as guests. They were very nice, and it was great to get out to Texas and not have to drive across it.
  • Catgirls in hijab. There were some truly fantastic costumes, but I think the catgirls in headscarves were one of the most awesome things ever. Fandom transcends cultural boundaries, yet again!
  • Another reminder that, to paraphrase the lovely incandescens, “Other people are as large on the inside as I am.” There was a trio that included a shirtless cat-boy in a belled collar, and I confess, I was doing a little internal eye-roll. Then they hit the punk hummingbird and got into an intense discussion of what kind of twig the bird was perched on, whether it was dogwood or something else. “Remember your dendro!” one cried. Turned out, it was a trio of Forestry majors (and judging by the art they bought, clearly animal lovers.) They were lovely people. That’ll teach me.
  • Mutual fangirling with Esther Friesner.

The Bad

  • Anime fans do not sleep.
  • And they have all this energy. Kevin thinks they’re cutting the Pocky with meth.
  • The room we were in was open for twelve hours a day. We are old. Somewhere around three pm, when we were staring at six more hours of business, Kevin uttered the phrase “I miss the furries.” At least they sleep sometimes.
  • Honey, if you were really that “mature” for your age, you wouldn’t try to convince me to let you look at the adult art. I have said no. It’s not going to happen. Please stop trying.  I don’t care that no one is looking. If you were not so young and so obviously well-meaning, Kevin would have bounced you. As it was, it was a near thing.
  • Scuttlebutt, as I said, was awesome. Unfortunately for them, they had won the fan ficcer lottery. I witnessed two separate people deliver a blow-by-blow monologue of their latest crossover/slash fan-fic to this captive and terribly polite audience. (Gang–no matter how good your fan fic may be, NOBODY wants to hear you recite it. We appreciate your enthusiasm, you may well be an excellent writer, but trust me–you are the only one who is enjoying this recitation. Please, think twice before you begin telling someone about your plot bunnies at such length, particularly if they can’t leave the table to escape you.)
  • They also got a guy talking about Drizzt Do’Urden at some length. Containing my giggles might have killed a few braincells.
  • The couple who was breaking up drunkenly in the hall at 4 AM. Sometimes you just want to throw on pants, walk out, and say “That’s it! You’re now broken up! It’s over! NOW GO TO BED!”
  • Did I mention that they don’t sleep?

The Baffling

  • I am still not entirely sure what was up with the guy who ran up to the table, said “I am perusing your merchandise! I am fascinated by your merchandise!” and then spoke into his walkie-talkie and hurried off again. Kevin thought “tailing someone,” I thought “on drugs.” Guess we’ll never know.
  • Nearly a decade doing cons, and I have never before had someone brush their teeth while examining my prints. Huh.
  • I am sort of curious how that photo-shoot with Sephiroth hugging Pedobear turned out.

Addendum: If I haven’t mentioned lately that Kevin is awesome, he’s awesome. Could not do these things without him. He’s helpful, efficient, absurdly useful…seriously, the best.