Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ladies' Night Anthology Volume 1: Chicago

Over the past several months, my roles as comic book fan and blogger have taken a back seat to a new position: come book collaborator. I have previously written about my role as moderator of Graham Crackers Ladies' Night, a monthly meeting of female comic book fans, but I have not devoted any time on my site to talk about the resulting comic book anthology. Ever since Hannah Chapman created the Ladies' Night event shortly over a year ago, participants kept bringing up the idea of creating our own comic. The initial concept was for it to be something the creators amongst us could work on and share with everyone and receive feedback. It didn't take long to realize what a large pool of talent we had in our group and we decided to make our project a little more ambitious. We assigned editors for each story, created deadlines for each stage of creation rather than setting a final date for completed stories, and organized  workshops for writing, penciling, and lettering. My experience as editor-in-chief has also taught me to appreciate those comic book creators that are always up to date on their reading (as I have clearly fallen behind). It's hard to imagine working on more than one comic at a time, let alone more than one a month! And yet I'm not the only contributor anxious to start on volume two even though we have yet to print volume one. We're close but still have work to do including formatting final artwork for print and getting together the rewards for those that contributed to our crowd fund. This might be an eleventh hour plug, but there is still time to back the project as we are a little more than 24 hours from the end of the campaign:

We're still taking pre-orders from comic book retailers and hope to raise enough to meet the minimum amount required for a price break from the printers. DIY comics, everybody! Everyone involved is just thrilled to see this thing come to fruition no matter how large or small the print run. Mark my words though, you will say many of these ladies creating comics on a larger scale in the near future. I truly believe any one of them could go on to make a name for themselves if they keep creating, and really that is the hardest part. But I've definitely got the bug for editing and may contribute a story for the next volume, so I am happy to continue supporting more opportunities for these and other creators to make comics. We're tossing around ideas for volume two now and a Star Trek zine is also in the works. We'll be sure to make more frequent updates about these endeavors as they form. Until then, keep checking back here for continued comic book blogging and you can also follow us on tumblr now where we can more easily make micro-updates and keep the long form writing on the main site. Here are a few panels from the upcoming Ladies' Night Anthology: Volume 1 Chicago. Unless specified, each artist completed all artwork and lettering:

From Ever Vigilant Art by Anissa Espinosa, words by KayPee Luczak

From Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight Art by Cynthia Bottomley, words and lettering by Jen Aprahamian

From Pre-Sliced Pickels Art by Kat Leyh, words by Hannah Chapman

From Passing Thoughts Art by Caitlin Peters, words by Kim Garvey

From Doors Closing Art by KayPee Luczak, story by Summer Sparacin

From Don't Move Art by Shay Barron, words and color by Kris Mackenzie

From Mylie and the Woman Art by Kris Mackenzie, Words by Tara Zuber

From The Vampire Hunters of Lincoln Park Art by Lisa Kwon, words by Lauren Burke

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C2E2 2013: A Pre-Show Guide

Smell that? It's con season, baby. Consider your money already spent, and don't plan on getting any sun while you peruse the aisles of the large, open floors of exhibition halls. Hunt down those deals, get those autographs, and wear your most comfortable shoes. And most importantly: get your game plan together early. 

C2E2 is still three weeks away, which gives you plenty of time to decide who you want to see and what you want to buy. In addition to our usual tips and tricks for conventions (see last year's guide), having attended three out of the last four years of C2E2 we have a few closely guarded secrets to share as well.

Make A List
This is always a good place to start. Write down everything and everyone you'd like to see, then prioritize because you most likely won't get to see everything. Attending the Patton Oswalt Q&A on Saturday will no doubt require a chunk of time spent standing in line. Attending the costume contest will also require careful planning. The panels have already been scheduled, so if you're not planning to go all weekend you will find that looking at the schedule will help you narrow down your day of choice as well. 

Budget Yourself
Now that you know who and what you will be seeing, you can decide how you'll spend your money. Give yourself some wiggle room for impulse buys as well because you'll always find something on the con floor you can't live without. For example:

$30 for limited edition tees
$100 for sketches
$20 for food
$50 for back issues
$60 for signed picture of (insert guest television star)
$50 for impulse buys

Only bring cash if you don't trust yourself to stay on budget (and vendors always prefer cash). If your budget is modest, have no fear. One can go to a con and have just as much fun spending hundreds of dollars as those that only pay the entry fee. This is especially true of C2E2 where the programing is the real draw for many comic fans.

Get To Know Artist Alley
It's difficult to make a budget for art purchases if you don't know who will be at the show, so be sure to check ahead of time to see who will have a booth in artist alley. That way you won't be disappointed when you realize your favorite webcomic creator is in town but you didn't budget enough to purchase a print. Some of the bigger name creators will even have sketch sign ups before the actual convention which means they could potentially be all booked by the time you make your way to their table (Cliff Chiang was one such artist last year). 

Start A Sketch Book
This is one piece of advice I have yet to undertake myself. Buy a nice sketchbook with thick bristol board paper, choose a theme, and pass it from artist to artist throughout convention season. For example, you could have a sketchbook that is comprised of your favorite characters eating hamburgers. Or you could create your favorite rogues gallery as teenagers. The best part is that each time you pass it to a new artist, they get to see what each artist before them has done. Once it is filled you'll have a unique and varied piece of artwork unlike anything else in your collection.

Download the C2E2 App
How many conventions have their own app? Reed Pop has clearly made interaction with con-goers a top priority. No need to carry around that multipage program (though we won't judge you if you still do), you can access the con schedule straight from your phone and stay up to date with changes as they happen. You can even plan your schedule with the app, ensuring that you won't miss a panel or signing.

Tweet Your Favorite Food Truck
As we stated in last year's guide, there are plenty of good eats around McCormick if you're willing to drive a few minutes, but if you want to stay in the immediate vicinity of McCormick, your options are limited. There is a mall-like food court and a few snack stands, but none of it does the city of Chicago justice. If you would like to see more options, contact your favorite food trucks and let them know about the show! We know at least one will be parking nearby, 5411empanadas, and we plan to tweet more of our favorite sweet and savory food vendors as well.

Plan Post Con Activities
If you have friends coming into town just for the show, know where you'd like to have dinner at the end of a busy day on the con floor. Plan a trip to the Hyatt bar to rub elbows with creators. See if anyone around town is having a Doctor Who viewing party of the new episode. Where there are cons, there are after parties.

Be sure to follow us on twitter as we'll be sharing our con schedule in the upcoming weeks! See you on the con floor.