Well, we’re back from Anime Central. Before leaving last Thursday, we mentioned on the Blog that we had a lot of trepidation. We’d never done an Anime show before, and weren’t sure what the reception would be for a couple kids with primarily western comic characters drawn in a mostly western style. And, after a weekend at Anime Central, we can safely report this: We had absolutely no reason to fear.
The fans at the show welcomed us with opened arms, embracing our style, our characters, our comic, and us in general. It was amazing. In short, it was the biggest, most profitable, highest volume convention we’ve ever done. And it was us selling American comics and American characters to Manga and Anime kids. Can you believe it? We couldn’t before, but we’ve been converted. Lots of sketching was done, and we’ll post it as we go.
Character from Red Zone by Comfort
Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Adam
Three li'l Digimon girls by Comfort
Getting deeper into the experience, the biggest difference (besides the fact that it’s Anime as opposed to American comics) was the age of the attendees. In our experience - and we did something like 12 conventions last year - the average age of the conventioneer at a Comic show is early 30’s to 40’s. The average age at an Anime show is 15-25. It’s a huge switch, and the difference is palpable. If any of the comic people at American shows or American comic companies ever wondered where all the kids have gone (and if they haven’t, they should) they’ve all jumped the boat and gone to Manga.
All that youth kept the energy level twice as high as it usually gets at Comic shows. They were all more excited to be there, they were more enthusiastic to see everything and meet everybody, and they had approximately 43.5% more sparkle in their wide eyes. They weren’t jaded, they weren’t cynical, they didn’t come to the show to gather with friends and complain about the state of their favorite comic or character-- they came to have fun and enjoy being fans of something they love. It made the bittersweetness of the average American comic fan’s love/hate of the medium stand out in stark contrast.
Go Bananas! by Adam
Bad Assssss by Comfort
House, MD by Adam
From the moment the doors opened on Friday, we were selling gangbusters. We wound up moving well over 100 prints (which never happens) and selling more than 25 TPB’s of Uniques vol. 1 & 2. We sold copies of volume 1 to people on Friday, and some came immediately back Saturday morning for volume 2. They loved it! We sold sketchbooks like mad (usually our lowest seller) and just had so much fun meeting these wide-eyed, enthusiastic, energetic kids.
Word on the street is that people really didn’t like that Wolverine movie, but it only meant that their love for the characters that got ruined by that awful mess was even stronger. We sold more prints of Gambit than we ever have before (and remember - this was an ANIME convention!) and got more requests for Deadpool than we imagined possible. We even sold a bunch of our White Queen print due to her poor role in that lousy movie. We thank you, Fox, for producing a film so crappy that it helped our business!
Liam as Wolverine by Adam
Liam gone MAD!!! by Comfort
Robin by Adam
Saturday, the highlight was easily a huge swarm of kids several dozen strong led by a guy up front with a boom-box, all singing ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ at the top of their lungs, effectively Rick-Rolling the entire convention. Beautiful. By the time we left Saturday, we were exhausted from a convention so crowded and bustling with eager fandom that we could hardly keep up with the demand. And Sunday was little different, with business as strong as some Saturdays we’ve had.
In all, Anime Central was a delight. The kids were fun and happy and so thrilled to be there that it made us feel bad for how often we complain with friends about comics. When was it that we stopped loving our hobby with that kind of passion? What was it that drove us into this mode of cynical pessimism? Sure, we can name storylines or ‘events’ in comics that eventually broke our unadulterated love (Joe Kelly leaving X-Men for Comf, Infinite Crisis for Adam) but these were only symptoms of something that had been growing a long time.
Why is it that American comic fans express their love with hate and disdain, while Anime/Manga fans express their love with actual love? We have some theories we’re working on, but nothing concrete. It’s enough for now that we’re going to try and be more positive in general and stop drinking so much Haterade. Reno by Adam Reno and Axel by Comfort
Reno and Axel by Adam
Before we go - we have to mention that the highlight of the con for us, out of everything there, was this group of awesome girls that found us Friday and kept coming back for more sketches all weekend long. Every time we gave them something new, their high pitched squeals of joy broke glass and melted our hearts. They were just so dang cute! And incredibly sweet and fun. We were really happy to meet them, and hope we run into them again at another show somewhere down the line. Thanks, gals!
These girls were AWESOME!
Reno and Rude by Adam - all these Reno+ pics were for these gals.
Finally, we close with the costumes. We hardly had time to get pictures, we were so busy. And there were SO MANY costumes to see! At comic shows, there are maybe 1 in 5 people in costume. At this show, it was more like 1 in 3. And some of them were just amazing in the detail and quality of craftsmanship. Also in abundance - creepy older gentlemen taking tons of pictures of the scantily clad young women/girls. Yikes.
It’s sad we got so few pictures, but we’ll share what we have and let you imagine the rest.
Glad to see the convention went so well for you guys! As a head's up, the Artist Alley Rules are now up for Otakon, to get everyone ready for when registration will open. So check it out, and hope to see you guys there! http://otakon.com/alleyrules.asp
Sounds like you had an awesome time and I'm glad you chose to do the show. I bet that boost of energy will help you in ways you have yet begun to think of! :) Do some more cons like this and you can afford to come as attendees and have a blast at DragonCon too. Just sayin' ;)
I love the anime folks, at Fan Expo we ran into a bunch of zombified sailor Moon characters and ended up doing techno dance with them (Yes Imperial Troopers can dance). I felt bad for not being able to indentify 90 percent of the other anime costumes but it was a hoot!
Love your pictures (as always) and I will get to see you in person Friday! I’m dragging some friends from Georgia. I told them they had to meet you two