Behind the Curtain: Gathering the Troops

If 2009 was Comic Related’s biggest year in terms of coverage and numbers, 2010 had to be our biggest year in terms of support.
As detailed in the last installment, our numbers skyrocketed in 2009. And though they fell off a bit, they were still really good by the end of the year. And now, we were really making our presence known.

In 2010, CR hit 13 conventions, including New York Comic Con. We didn’t make it back to SDCC that year, but we did have correspondent coverage. And we covered a TON of stories.  I personally didn’t make it to a few of them for various reasons. I did, however, go to several local events, including being the main CR rep at SPACE. This was the first time I was the only CR guy on site (though we did have help in the form of Raichal Gladman and Brian Carson, who were invaluable throughout the weekend). It was an interesting experience for me, and a lot of fun. I also got to meet a lot more of the local talent with SPACE taking place in the tri-state area where I’m based. (the tri-state area being Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana in this case).
C2E2 was another big convention we did. This was the first year for the con, and CR was there in full force. I was there, though, both for CR and for myself. Haven Distributors was based in Chicago, so they had worked out with Reed to have a Haven Indy Island prominently placed on the show floor where several creators whose books were carried by Haven were set up selling their wares. Myself and Wannabez artist Scott DM Simmons were among those. We had issues of Wannabez #1 out for sale, and I was doing sketch cards for the first time. It was the largest con I had ever set up at, even though it was probably the smallest year for C2E2. We had many of our friends there, including my then co-host and Zone 4 co-founder, Chuck Kennedy. We even did a Zone 4 episode from the hotel room. Also there were Gordon Dymowski, Decapitated Dan, Dustin Carson and other CR friends. As far as creators go, there were a lot of heavy hitters there including Geoff Johns, Gail Simone, J. Scott Campbell and more. Jerry Lawler was there, and Alex Ross’s empty table was right across from me. Scott and I joked about it all weekend, Ross being imaginary because the Chicago native was never there. Literally, I don’t think he even came! But his art did.
Speaking of Geoff Johns, this was the con that an older woman came up to me asking me to basically forge Johns’ name to a comic for her grandson because the line to have Johns sign it himself was too long. I didn’t do it, but it’s definitely a memory I relish. haha
In the aftermath of C2E2, John, Chuck and I did a Related Recap episode talking about the show. It was a really good one for us because Chuck was able to connect with a lot of publishers (they were all there in full force) and form relationships with them. I believe this was the show where we made headway with both Marvel and DC. Marvel specifically complimented us on our site and were very positive about working with us going forward.
We had a pretty good year, coverage wise, and our numbers still remained steady from the end of the previous year. We were really putting our name out there, connecting with creators and publishers, and making our presence known at conventions. We had great experiences at all the cons we did that year, but for us, the biggest one was the smallest convention we attended: Champion City Comic Con.
2010 was the second year for Champion City Comic Con, a small con in Springfield, Ohio run by our good friends Scott Riley (owner of Main Street Comics and Games) and Bill Gladman, held at Wittenberg University. The first year was smaller, less vendors and creators, and recent years have seen guests like Tim Seeley and Mark Waid. But 2010 was special to us because to date it was the largest gathering of Comic Related family we’ve ever had! Some 40-50 of us in one central location at the same time! It was here that I first met Cary Kelley in person, and we took our first official Zone 4 photo with Cary, Chuck K., John and myself. Ron Fortier was there, Victor Dandridge, Frank Raynor, Lisa Moore, Eric Ratcliffe, Chad Strohl, the Carsons, Matt Zolman, Tim Hagans, Ren McKenzie, Eric Adams, Scott DM Simmons, and many more. We played disc golf, hung out at the con, had dinner together (more on that in a minute), and somehow wrangled everyone together for a group photo (or at least as many as we could get together – and sadly I can’t find the shot).
This was the year the New Comic Day team did a panel together, and where we recorded three live-action NCD strips (1, 2, 3). It was also the first and only time I’ve met my very good friend and long-time collaborator Lisa Moore in person.
Going back to the dinner, after the con, we all went to Golden Corral (hey, you try wrangling that many people anywhere but a buffet!) and all changed seats to talk to different people and so forth. It was truly a fun and spectacular evening. A funny thing happened, though, when we took pictures. We were all in a special room, so he had more privacy than other patrons. What also happened to be in this room, though, was the fire exit. So as we are posing for the Zone 4 photo, Chuck K. accidentally leans against the fire door and sets off the alarm. The restaurant is so busy and loud, though, that NO ONE NOTICED! lol We just stood there taking pictures, and in between holding our ears for the longest time, laughing our fool heads off. It was hysterical.
We wrapped up the year with New York Comic Con, another show CR has always had a presence at since the con’s inception. Chuck did a special blog from the show as he had done for SDCC the previous year.
All in all, 2010 was our best year in many ways. True, 2008 really put us on the map, and 2009 blew us up. But 2010 was the year we were tested, and we passed with flying colors. We were here to stay and thrive, and the support from our extended family and readers couldn’t have been better. We weren’t going anywhere… or so we thought.
Next time: 2011 comes, and life causes CR to take a turn for the worst.

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One Thought to “Behind the Curtain: Gathering the Troops”

  1. Forgot to mention in the column, but this was also the con I first met Dan Sehn!

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