It seemed like for many people I know personally and through social media, 2014 was a shit year. It was for me as well for the most part, although I was fortunate enough to have my family healthy and my wife took huge steps in the forward direction for her career. My grandmother passed early in 2014 and that was hard, but she led a full life and was at peace in the end. Career wise I had another iffy year. Outside of Doc Unknown Vol.2 coming out in the first half of the year, I had a fairly sporadic and uneventful year in terms of releases. In positive areas, I made a conscious decision to raise my page rates and value my work more, and that has paid off well. I was able to hang out with Stuart and Kathryn Immonen and that was a highlight for sure. They are a great example of a positive relationship and being able to watch Stuart work and chat with him will always be a career highlight. We had another great ACME event, and I’m very proud of the Arizona Comic Mini Expo and what is being built with that.
2015 will start out with my first work for IDW, some short anthology work in Imaginary Drugs Vol.1. I’ve lined up some small work at another publisher I have never worked with and I’m currently waiting to hear back on some pitches that I hope will take off. Doc Unknown Vol.3 should be coming out in the late summer/early fall and that is the volume I have been looking forward to for working on for over a year. 2015 also marks my ten year anniversary of deciding to make a run at a life working in comics, and it will mark the start of my 5th year doing it full-time. I’m planning and hoping for it to pay off with some higher profile work with people and companies I respect. So let’s keep chugging along and see what happens. Thanks to everyone who hired me for commission work and to clients who allowed me to feed my kids and do this for another year.
I like to break down my conventions in detail so I know how to plan out for the future. I enjoy cons when I can speak with educated attendees about art, comics and creators, and I also enjoy meeting new creators and talking with friends I only see at these shows. I also do shows as an income supplement and a way to travel. Now that my 2014 shows are over, I broke down my numbers and really tried to focus on what shows were people spending the most per individual. Not which shows had the biggest numbers, but which shows had the most creator-supportive fans. I had to approximate attendance numbers for ACME (The Arizona Comic Mini Expo), ACE! and Staple! so those figures are skewed but are fairly accurate in my estimation, and if anything I skewed towards a smaller attendee number.
First off, going strictly off profit, the order is Phoenix Comic-Con, Staple!, Tucson Comic-Con, Albuquerque Comic Expo and ACME. Costs varied for each show but my gross income is almost identical but switch Albuquerque and Tucson, though the difference is only about $25.
The number I found interesting, but not unexpected, was the dollar amount spent per attendee. Again, using some estimated numbers, the order for that was; ACME, Tucson Comic-Con, Staple!, ACE!, and Phoenix Comic-Con. So I tend to do better per attendee at smaller shows. Phoenix Comic-Con is the anamoly where the massive amount of people equal a greater total profit. For me, less attendees equals less “observers”, those who walk around and look, with no intention of buying, and also less cosplayers and media guest fans, both crowds who do not tend to support my work. The shows I had the highest dollar amount per attendee both had next to zero cosplayers and absolutely no media guests. The top three shows in this category had no media guests at all. It would be interesting to me see if other creators had similar experiences.
I also have to mention that I was a guest at all these shows this year, so that mitigates costs involved. All involved road travel and one involved hotel fees. I’m looking forward to next year already, with only two shows lined up as of now. ACME4 is in May and I have my first ever east coast convention appearance next summer at a show I have wanted to do for years.
I will be a guest at the Tucson Comicon November 8-9th at the Tucson Convention Center. It will be my first Tucson appearance ever and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll have prints, original art and I’ll be doing sketches and commissions at the show. I will also have some very limited quantities of Doc Unknown Vol. 1 & 2. It’s a very affordable con and lends itself to be very fan friendly. It will also most likely be my only Arizona appearance until May 2015.
Also this month, the Imaginary Drugs anthology is available for pre-order from IDW. I illustrated a short story (written by Fabian Rangel Jr.) and colored another short story with art by my pal John Derrick West.
Finally, I am open for commissions and this is a great chance to get some original, custom art in time for the holidays. Original art is a unique and great gift. Details and prices can be found here.
One aspect of my freelance comic illustration life I am trying to focus on right now is doing more color work. I get immense joy out of helping to bring someone else’s lines to life. I’ll still be persuing and working on pen & ink pages as well as coloring my own stuff, but I am slowly building a color portfolio with new projects. Here’s a snippet of recent stuff.
ACME guest Jason “Gonzo” Gonzalez along with my old pal Negative Steve interviewed me last weekend. We covered my start in comics and how I got into them as a kid. Lots of Jack Kirby and Hero Initiative talk as well as the announcement of a new ACME project. EVOLVE. Vol.1 is coming at the start of 2015. Listen for the sound of me opening a beer at the 30 minute mark, and for the list of artists contributing to EVOLVE at the end of the interview. – https://soundcloud.com/propagandapodcasts/cult-of-popture-10-by-popular-demand-episode-nine
My most sincere thanks to everyone who shared a post or spread the word about Long Road Home. The Kickstarter was not successful, and for a variety of reasons that were of my own doing. I overestimated the interest in what is essentially a very personal project, and I should have done a better job on the kickstarter presentation itself. So for now, the project is not happening in the way it was intended, but that does not mean it won’t happen. It may just take a little longer, be a little smaller and ultimately more personal. Again, thanks to everyone who helped spread the word and especially to those that backed the project. The fact that you were willing to use your hard earned money to support an art project of mine is very humbling. I wish you all the best.
To keep up to date on the future of Long Road Home, as well as my other projects, please check me out on my social media pages.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/super75comics
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ryancody
My website/blog – https://super75comics.wordpress.com