Rainbow: Vault of Midnight GR store signing!

Big news! We're doing our first ever store signing for Rainbow in the Dark at Vault of Midnight in Downtown Grand Rapids on Thursday February 27th! Not only that, we'll also be doing our 'Let's make a Character' talk at Kendall College of Art and Design on the same day!

Here's how the schedule for the day shapes out...

12:30pm: at Kendall in room 709 on the 7th floor - Comfort and Adam present, ‘Let’s Make a Character!’
Discover all the ins and outs of good (and bad) character design, then Comfort and Adam and the audience will create a new character on the spot and drawn live for your entertainment!

2:30pm: Portfolio reviews and store signing at Vault of Midnight:
Comfort and Adam look over portfolios and sign their newest release the omnibus collected edition of their multi-award nominated series - Rainbow in the Dark!

Below is the full poster for the event! Pretty sweet lookin' if we do say so ourselves...

It's gonna be so much fun, and we hope if you're in the area you can make it out to see us. The talk at Kendall is gonna be crazy fun! And we must say, Vault of Midnight is an AMAZING comic shop! Well, well, well worth the trip!

- Comfort and Adam

Con Report: Alma Con 2014

Aaand we’re back. Look at this: a Convention Report done just after a week of the actual con! Shock! Awe! Amaze! Anyway, we broke up the gray, gray winter of Michigan with a trip to the sleepy little town of Alma for our second voyage to Alma Con. Let’s see how it went...

Kakashi with team 7 on the hunt for some bells by Comfort

Alma Con is nestled in Alma College in, you guessed it, Alma, Michigan. It’s only about 90 minutes or so from our house, and landing in February means it comes at the latter end of a long convention drought. So we loaded up the car for the first time in months, packing boxes of the Rainbow in the Dark omnibus for the first time, and drove out into the snow. That probably sounds worse than it is - last year, we drove to Alma in the wake of a huge snowstorm, so the roads were terrible. This year, it was actually a pretty easy trip.

Sherlock by Adam

Friday was setup, and Friday evening the show opened. We were guests at the show, so they had a room for us and we were treated quite fancily. It’s pretty fun to feel like a big deal once in a while. Don’t worry - we’re fully aware of our little fish status. It’s just nice to be treated so well. Anyway, we digress. Friday opened strong, and we were doing a surprising amount of business. It was clear immediately that attendance would be much higher than the previous year. Either that, or the new location of Artist Alley was just far more advantageous. Either way, Friday was awesome!

Spike (from Cowboy Bebop), Sally (from Nightmare before Christmas), and Wesley Crusher (from Star Trek Next Gen) all by Comfort

Saturday was a lot of fun. The crowd was even bigger, and we realized that our table was just a few feet from the main panel rooms. Every time a panel let out, a flood of people would pass through the alley. We would get tides of people washing over us all day long. We did our “Let’s Make a Character!” panel, and this time the audience wound up leading us to a female dwarven dragon slayer, maimed by a dragon only to discover that the people sending her to battle were the real danger. Now, responsible for the protection of a dragon hatchling, she’s on the run from the people she once fought for. The problem: the hatchling’s magic is regrowing her lost limbs and healing her wounds by turning her increasingly draconic. She must resolve the conflict of the story before losing herself completely to the magic of this sweet baby dragon that doesn’t realize it’s trying to turn a dwarf into its dragon “mommy.”

That’s why we love doing this panel - you never know what you’re going to get.

Our dwarven dragon slayer from our 'Let's Make a Character' panel

Wreck it Ralph as Final Fantasy characters by Adam

The other big thrill of Saturday was a surprise for us. Some of you may know what stupid-huge Naruto fans we’ve become in the last year, right? Well, one of the convention workers (thank you Kaitlyn!) brought our Naruto prints to show two guests of the con, Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt, the actors who voice the characters Sasuke and Temari, respectively (among many, many other roles). Well, they liked them enough that the two showed up at our table to see what else we had. The result? Us trying hard to be chill and professional. It was seriously awesome - they were super nice (Yuri gave us delicious donuts) and almost embarrassingly complimentary (man, we were super blushy!). We gave them a bunch of free stuff, they insisted on actually buying a couple things (including a copy of Rainbow in the Dark), and it all ended with smiles.

We later found out they’re married, which only made our day more. Come on - two people working in a field they love with the person they love, being creative together every day... sound like something that would appeal to us? Yeah. They wrote a book together about voice acting. We love when we find other creative couples having a blast together. It just makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Us with Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal (the voices of Temari and Sasuke in the English dub of our beloved Naruto)

Anyway, Saturday night we grabbed a quick bite to eat with some very cool people from the con before heading back to sit on a fun late-night panel where we and some of the other guests played Cards Against Humanity for the entertainment of whoever wanted to come watch. It was as much inappropriate fun as that game usually provides, with a couple rounds so hilariously wrong that it’s hard not to share the details with you. But we aren’t going to, because they were just that wrong. So wrong, that in one particular case, the guy who played the winning combo of cards refused to accept any points for it because he was so ashamed of himself. That’s Doug Walker, aka That Guy With the Glasses, aka the Nostalgia Critic... ladies and gentlemen, he has proven again that it is possible to be classy and classless at the same time. We bow to his gravitas.

A tickle fight between Harley Quinn and Black Cat by Comfort

So, that was Saturday night. We stayed up a while watching anime and working on sketches before getting some sleep. Sunday, we had our “Creating Your Comic/Manga” panel, and it went over pretty well. One of the advantages of doing cons at college campuses is that the lecture rooms are <i>perfect</i> for running panels! It was generally a pretty sleepy day, to be honest, but by the end of it all we’d more than doubled our business from last year. Good weekend.

Space Dandy, Remus Lupin (from Harry Potter), and Zombie Batman takin' a bite outta the Joker by Adam

Alma Con is unquestionably a small show. It was common for attendees to have a $20 bill in their pocket that represented their entire budget for the weekend, so getting larger purchases was tough. Even moderate purchases (2 prints for $15, the Rainbow omnibus for $25) were sometimes harder sells. Yet, we still sold far more books than last year, and far, far more prints. This show represents why we try to keep our prices low, and to ensure we always have something available at the lowest buy-in level. We have a lot of fans and supporters who either don’t have much money or who are too young to have disposable income. We never want to have to turn away somebody who likes our work enough to want to hang it on their wall at home. If we can make something affordable for you, we’ll do the best we can.

And that was it. It was a really nice, relaxed convention. We got to meet some great people, had a lot of laughs, and shook hands with Sasuke and Temari (by far our favorite Naruto lass). All this at a show where we were treated to the nines all weekend long. How can you beat that?  Thank you, Alma - we’ll see you again next year.

And we’ll see all you readers again soon.
-Comfort & Adam

Convention Report: Youmacon 2013

At last! We’ve reached the final convention report for last year’s con season. Oy. It’s been a long, much-delayed trip, but here we go.

Duke and Falcon by Comfort

We wrapped the year at an old favorite: Youmacon. It’s another con in Detroit, which means two in a row where we hardly had to drive at all. We also did artwork for the show - just the badges, this year, but they turned out pretty neat. This is a show that’s also having to experiment with splitting their layout into two areas due to their massive growth. But, whereas Detroit Fanfare had their show on opposite sides of one hotel, Youmacon has half their show at the Renaissance Center hotel and the other half down the street at the Cobo Hall Convention Center. That means fans walk a few blocks or take a shuttle from one part of the con to the other, which was a real bummer last year. This year, the attendees had largely figured out the unusual layout and we saw much less bleedoff due to the split format.

No, the bleedoff we saw this year was due to entirely other reasons.

But we get ahead of ourselves! We came into town and dumped the car at our hotel, which was really nicely located directly across the street from the Cobo Hall entrance. That made the weekend much, much easier to handle. We were rooming again with Corinne Roberts (just one of the many more times you’ll be hearing about her around these parts), and the three of us went into the con center to set up. This is where we began to spot problems.

The artist alley tables hadn’t yet been assigned. This is the day before the show opens, mind you, and the alley was still completely up for grabs. You might recall last year at Youmacon we talked about having to be at the hall at 8:30 am to get our table assignments only to wait until almost noon for the AA coordinator to show up. Luckily the coordinator was actually there this year. It’s not like it’s a terrible thing to get to pick your spot in a convention…but it can speak to a lack of preparation which can lead to other problems.

Red Monika by Adam

Zatanna by Comfort

Romulan Starfleet Officer, Mage OC, and Raleigh Becket sketch cards by Adam

After we set up, we took off to grab some delicious shawarma in the rain (it rained almost the whole weekend; big, fat, buckets of rain). It was Corinne’s first experience with shawarma, but we’d discovered and fallen in love with the restaurant the previous year. With it being one of the only delivery places open on the weekend in downtown Detroit, we wound up eating there daily. Luckily, the food is amazing. As vegetarians on the road, we’ve learned to make the most of what little we can get and be happy for it.

Friday the show began, and some of our nervousness about artist alley was confirmed. It was a ghost town. You always expect the possibility of a couple no-shows at a convention - especially at an anime convention, where the artists are rarely seasoned professionals and maybe more likely to flake out. This was different. It seemed like half the alley was barren. At this point, tables had been assigned, but woe be to the poor saps who were stuck setting up in the middle of huge islands of empty tables. We hope they were able to move to spots where there was actual traffic, but we can’t say for certain with everyone.

Rowin of the Strata by Adam

Cute Couple by Comfort

Assassin's Creed: Connor by Adam

This is problematic for a couple reasons. First, we know for a fact there’s a huge waiting list for tables at Youmacon. We know people who try to get in and don’t. There’s no reason for that alley to be nearly half empty when the demand for tables is so high. Second, when the exhibit hall looks like a ghost town, it drives down sales and foot-traffic. Yeah, there were a number of dealers who didn’t show up either. It was nothing like the tumbleweeds of artist alley, but still - when people take a long trip from one half of the con to the other half down the street and then think it looks empty, they feel disappointed. They don’t feel like spending much time wandering around looking at stuff. They head back to the Renaissance Center and they don’t bother coming back…and most importantly, they tell their friends it’s just not worth the trip.

Now, look - we did pretty alright at this show, so we aren’t eating sour grapes because we didn’t make the money we wanted. This was just sad to see on principle. Youmacon is a superb convention and deserves a thriving exhibit hall. And they could have one. We don’t know where exactly the fault lies, but that it looked as anemic as it did (especially in Artist Alley) was stunning, and we heard over and over what a let-down it was from the attendees who came by.

One final bummer note, and it’s the last one we promise. Friday morning we took a second to walk the exhibit hall and see what was around. The guy across from us was selling a huge array of nice posters, and we took a look (we’re trying to freshen up our “office” at home). We found a really nice Bleach poster, and though the show wasn’t actually open yet and the guy at the booth was still setting up, Comfort asked if it would be okay for us to buy it. The guy’s response?

“NO,” he said, in a gruff, annoyed, pissy voice. Thinking he was probably being sarcastic (because who talks to customers like that?) Comfort smiled and asked if she could come back later. His response?

“GO AWAY.” Same angry voice. Dude didn’t even look up to see her face the whole time. The guy was a total douchebag, and we didn’t buy anything from him that weekend. We don’t support people like that. And it disappoints us to no end that there are still people out there like that giving comic shop owners a horrible name.

So let’s leave all that sadness behind us and move on to all the good stuff. The actual experience of the show was great. Friday got kicking and a lot of our regulars stopped by to say hey. We picked up a few sketch requests and did a lot of talking with attendees. It was a good time; laid back, which you expect on a Friday, but bustling enough to be able to relax and enjoy yourself.

Akuma by Adam

Another Cute Couple by Comfort

Kilowog and a little bit of smoulder sketch cards by Adam

That night, we finished showing Corinne the final episodes of Game of Thrones season 3. Good lord, does that show put people through the ringer. Is it wrong that we like to be there to experience the suffering with our friends? It’s just such a great show to watch with groups. We’ve probably seen season 3 four or five times through, and it’s still so good every time.

Saturday was interesting. Kurt Sasso of TGT Media connected with us to suggest filming a short documentary about our lives as indie comic makers. It was pretty neat, having a camera crew set up around our table and film the people passing by and us doing commissions. As luck would have it, one of our old students, a promising artist named Will Jones (who you should probably also get ready to hear more about) was on hand to interview for the doc as well. It was all really awesome, and they were going to come back Sunday to shoot our panel and get some wrap-up footage. Then, sadly, they got in a car accident on their way back to Canada. No one was hurt, thankfully, but the car was wrecked and they couldn’t find another way back.

Getting filmed on Saturday.

The documentary is still in-progress. More footage has been shot and things are being worked on. You’ll hear more about it when there’s more to tell.

The rest of Saturday was pretty good. You definitely felt the reduction in foot traffic for a few periods of the day. We don’t have enough data to know what to attribute it to, but it was noticeable. Great people, though - there were many animated conversations had, the occasional squeal, and one or two guffaws. It was a fun day.

Yu Narukami by Adam

The Red Hood by Comfort

Sunday morning, we had our “Creating Comics/Manga” panel. A snafu on our part had us spending the better part of the last year trying to contact the completely wrong person about panels. It wasn’t until the last minute that we were able to figure out the right person to talk to, and were fortunate and thankful that they managed to find a spot for us. The downside was that it was the first thing early Sunday morning, and after the kind of wild, looong night Saturday at Youmacon tends to be, we weren’t sure if anybody would show up. Luckily, the room was almost full and the panel went over really well. We all laughed off the early morning together, and commiserated on our sleepiness. It all worked itself out, as things tend to do.

We also got to spend a little time with Adam’s old friend Shawn, who was working in the gaming room for the weekend. He’d only recently moved back to Michigan from Florida, and the job more or less fell in his lap due to an acquaintance. He really seemed to enjoy himself, and wound up a Very Important Person in no time at all, which is pretty much Shawn in a nutshell.

When all was said and done, we had a pretty good weekend. There was a lot of fun with friends and colleagues, a lot of nice, excited people stopped by the table, and we made out pretty well despite the reduced traffic of the alley. We hope things turn around on that score, because this is such a big, thriving convention that it’s madness to see them struggle to make an equally thriving exhibit hall happen. It’s coming, though. We’ve got faith in the people at the top!

Albert Wesker by Adam

Muscular ladies and a sister's portrait sketch cards by Comfort

Youmacon! The final show of the year, and a good time was had by all. We’re looking forward to going back later this year.

And that’s it at long, long last for the conventions of 2013. Tune back in later this week for our recap of the first con of 2014, from sleepy little Alma, Michigan.

-Comfort & Adam

Convention Report: Detroit Fanfare 2013

Okay, so it looks like we’ve failed at our goal of getting all of last years’ Convention Reports done before the first show of 2014. Seriously, guys, you have no idea what an exhaustingly busy winter we’ve had. Things are finally - FINALLY - looking ready to slow to a steady simmer from the painful boil we’ve been running the last several months. So let’s head on with the second-to-last of 2013’s conventions: Detroit Fanfare!

Krull/The Room Parody Mashup by Comfort

Beauty and the Beast by Adam

Fanfare is the little con that can, as far as we’re concerned. It’s a show that’s trying to do everything right, and is doing a really good job at it. Through some fits and starts and some growing pains as they develop over these early years, Fanfare has come out as a pretty excellent convention. So let’s see how the weekend shaped up!

We got in and set up on Friday, riding with our good friend and fellow artist Andrew Shirey. One of the beauties of Detroit Fanfare is that we’re only about an hour away, and after the huge travelling schedule we’d had prior to this, being in the car for an hour barely registers as a drive at all. The con is held in a big hotel, which is the only thing holding it back at this point. They’d reached the point where they had so many exhibitors, guests, dealers, and happenings that they had to use both event wings. Unfortunately, that meant that attendees had a pretty big hike from one side of the hotel to the other to see all the different things on offer. DF is in that tricky spot where they’re too big for the hotel, but not quite big enough to justify a big convention center. They made the best of it, and at least “Hey, you’ve got TOO MUCH STUFF TO DO!” is a pretty small complaint to make.

Red Dragon Warrior by Adam

Chun Li by Comfort

Friday night was the Shel Dorf Awards ceremony, and it was a lot of fun. We got to present the award for “Best Syndicated Strip.” Of course, being us, we’d forgotten our presentation speech at home and had to draft up a quickie that we could read off our phone at the podium. It worked in our favor - MC Brian O’Halloran made a big deal about us being so professional that we had our own teleprompter. Not quite, but we’ll accept the compliment anyway.

We were up for Best Self-Published comic for our work on Rainbow in the Dark, but we lost to Dan Dougherty’s Touching Evil. It was a good night for Dan (who also won Best Syndicated Strip for Beardo), and the guy was just so sweet and humble that we were really happy to see him do so well.

The downside to all the hubbub was that we didn’t get to eat at all. We tried getting a pizza place to deliver two different times, but the first they didn’t show up until we were heading onstage to deliver the Shel Dorf award, and the second time they didn’t seem to show up at all. We went to bed hungry, and it was no fun at all.

Richie & Static by Comfort and Adam

Saturday was a nice, busy stretch. We debuted our “What to Read” panel, where we help new readers, lapsed readers, and people looking to try new things find great comics that they would love. It wasn’t terribly well attended, but it worked out because we had a lot of kinks in our presentation that needed ironing out. Turning it into a rap session with a handful of people where we all just talked comics and manga wound up being just fine.

We were lucky enough to have our table situated between Jeff Smith, one of the godfathers of self-publishing indie comics, and Whilce Portacio, whose artwork in the early ‘90s was a big inspiration to us both. It was a real treat to get to talk to them both and rub some elbows all weekend. They’re both genuine, upbeat people, and it made it easy to keep smiles on our own faces.

Jeff Smith with Corrine Roberts, totally making her day.

Saturday night, we contemplated finding an after-party to relax at, but Fanfare’s party is so loud and so dark that we can’t just chill and draw there. Since we had work that needed to get done, and since we tend to be more laid back people in general, we eventually settled on hanging out in our room with Andrew and our other roomie for the weekend, Corrine Roberts. Remember her name - you’ll be hearing it a lot very soon. We drew pictures, ordered food (that actually showed up this time) and watched Game of Thrones. Good, good times.

Wild and Crazy Guy by Adam

Jack Skellington sketch card by Comfort

Sunday was a mixed bag. The good news: several very old friends of Adam's came to the show in full Batman cosplay. It was a first for a few of them, and they seemed to have a really good time. Fun is always best when shared with friends, says we. What's more - Comfort's parents came to see us at a con for the first time. They've wanted to see what we do at these crazy things for a long while, and finally got their chance. Sunday wound up feeling a lot like "friends and family day," to which we have no complaints.

"Now you have my permission... to say cheese."

Us with Comfie's Parents

We were supposed to be doing our “Let’s Make a Character!” panel, but a series of misfortunes seemed determined to undermine our attempts. First, we were put not in a conference room as we usually would, but in a side nook by the hotel pool. Yaaaay chlorine. The con organizers apologized profusely, and apparently there was literally nowhere else the hotel would allow us to go. The hotel also refused to turn on the lights in the nook - lights which were plainly visible, and which they claimed didn’t exist. But wait, there’s more! Because the hotel wanted to charge several HUNDRED dollars to rent a projector for one hour, we wound up not being able to do the full presentation. So there we were, in a nook by a pool, dim light, and no projectors.

But, y’know what? We’re people who get s#!% done. We got hold of a pad of huge paper, some sharpie markers, and did the panel schoolroom style. While doing our usual discussion of what works and what doesn’t in character design, Adam was speed-drawing example illustrations to go with the talk. When we got to the section where we made a character with the audience, we drew it huge so everyone could still see. It brought us back to our years teaching art classes, and actually wound up being a lot of fun. So take that, dicks that run that hotel!

The Character we Created: The swampy ghost of a slave-owner and doctor, haunting his son to prevent his repeating the father's mistakes.

We can’t emphasize enough that Fanfare did everything they could to help us. They worked really hard to try and find ways of alleviating the problems the hotel was creating, and we got the distinct impression that they’d caused the showrunners a lot more trouble all weekend long. Which is the big thing holding Fanfare back, at the moment. They tried moving the show to the big convention center in Detroit a couple years back, but they’re still not quite big enough for that just now. And yet, the hotel is kneecapping them at every turn. They’ve definitely got our sympathy, because they’re running a pretty awesome show. It’s doing all the things we feel like conventions should do, and treating all their exhibitors and attendees with respect - which is more than we can say for some other comic cons in the area.

Detroit Fanfare is a convention that deserves success. They put on a great show, and give everyone a really fun weekend. All the things you could want to see or do at a convention? Most can be found in a weekend at Fanfare. We’re going to keep giving them our support, and we highly recommend you give them a try. If you’ve done other Detroit comic cons and found them lacking or boring, or just didn’t appreciate the crap way they treated you once they got your money, by all means give Fanfare a shot. It’s good people celebrating comics and the people who make them. Nothing not to love about that.

Neji & Tenten by Adam

So, we had a good time. It was just the kind of laid back experience we needed after the madness of New York Comic Con, and we got to share it with friends and respected peers. We even got to turn some lemons into lemonade and walked away with a good story to tell. Not bad for a few days’ work.

Only one con left from 2013. Stay tuned, and we’ll let you know all about it once we get back from the first con of 2014. Ugh. We’re sorry we’re so slow.

-Comfort & Adam

The Empire approves of The Uniques!

Alma Con - first con of the year!

Hey everyone!

Yes, it is that time once again! Time for the 2014 con season to start - and like last year we're starting it with the delightful little anime show - Alma Con - this weekend!

We're going fancy guests of the show and will be in Artist Alley (in the Dow Science building lobby) all weekend...and we're doing our panels - Creating your Comic from Concept to Publication, and Let's Make a Character!

Also, like last year, we did the cover for Alma Con - check out our rockin' 'Magical Girl' style!

Hope to see you at the show fellow Michiganders!

Comfort & Adam

New projects for the new year!

Hey guys!

Just a quick blog today as we finish up that last of our work for our Random House project!

Anyhow, we've got some irons in the fire here as we move onto the next set of projects here as we get the scripts for The Uniques ready.

First up, Comfort is working on a Star Wars Prequels pin-up to go along with Adam's Star Wars Classic pin-up he did last year. This is the rough (which you all may have seen a while back here) and the final is just about done and on it's way!

This rough was actually made overtop Adam's drawing in order to make sure they matched side by side. It's all gonna look so darned sweet when it's done!

Secondly, Adam's working on yet another Naruto image - that lucky dog! This time it's featuring the characters in their older 'shippuden' versions to go along with his younger Naruto characters pin-up he did last year. At the moment he's got a rough and is working on the final drawing. Rough below!

Adam is making this the Naruto poster that we've both wanted since we got into the show...but could never really find. When it's all done - it should be EPIC!

Lastly, we're going to Alma Con in just over a week (February 7-9) and we're doing the cover for them. Below is our black and white...and the color we'll be putting up early next week! Hope you like our attempt and drawing 'Magical Girls'!

Cover for Alma Con 2014 - color to come!

Alright everyone - all for today!


Convention Report: New York Comic Con 2013

So it’s 2014, now. Has been for almost a month. And yet, we still haven’t finished wrapping up our reports on our Convention Tour of 2013. Gosh! This super-secretish Random House project of ours has really devoured our time. It’ll be worth it when you get to start seeing some of what we’re up to, but in the meantime it’s just a lot of silence from us. Anyway, let’s get back into the groove with a look back at New York Comic Con 2013!

This was some sort of outdoor art installation thing. Neat place to stumble on in the middle of the night.

Sokka by Comfort and Adam

Couple as Jorah and Daenerys by Comfort

Naruto & Hinata by Comfort and Adam

Our trip to New York actually began with a brief overnight stay in Philadelphia with Bryan and Judy Glass. We’d started them on season 3 of Game of Thrones, and made them wait for us to come back and watch the final two episodes with them. It was a grand, gut-wrenching, TV-shouting-at kind of night. We ate pizza, we commiserated over the big finale, and had a nice, relaxing evening before our trip north. Pleasantly, the trip to New York City from Philadelphia isn’t far, and allowed us to skip some of the more harrowing traffic paths. We actually showed up more or less on time and stress-free.

We were staying the weekend with our friends and Rainbow in the Dark editorial twosome Ian Levenstein and Kris Naudus in Brooklyn. Appropriately, the New Yorkiest people we know are also our couch-crash destination in the Big Apple. It seems like every year we have a big agenda for the New York trip, and this year it was the promotion of the release of the Rainbow in the Dark omnibus. It was out in the Diamond Previews catalogue, and we were in the heart of one of the greatest comic communities in the country. We spent Wednesday going on a comic shop tour of NYC, pitching our wares and trying to get some people excited.

11th Doctor by Adam

Someone's Boyfriend as Daryl from The Walking Dead by Comfort

Chronos by Adam

Shikamaru and Temari by Comfort and Adam

Pitching yourself to strangers isn’t easy. It isn’t really fun either, since you’re trying to find the best way to commoditize yourself. There’s something inherently uncomfortable in that proposition. Thankfully, all the people we talked to were open, friendly, and pretty laid back. It took a lot of weight off what could have been a stressful day. We had a lot of fun along the way, too - there are some awesome comic stores in that city! Be appropriately jealous, most of America. Also: amazing food. We never don’t eat well when we go to New York. Again... appropriately jealous.

Thursday was setup and preview night. When the subway stop near Kris and Ian’s place was unavailable, we took a cab into Manhattan. Despite the cost, this was actually preferable to us. At the moment, there isn’t a subway stop anywhere close to the convention center, and we’re hauling a lot of heavy bags full of our table gear. Having a cab drop us at the corner left us with a lot more energy and a lot less stress as we started the first night.

Preview night was actually quite busy this year. Last year it was mostly dead, but we did a lot of business this time around. We suspect a combination of people knowing where Artist Alley was this time, and the con selling one-day tickets for Thursday night (when all other tickets were sold out) led to the increase. We had no complaints, other than how unbelievably awful the pretzels were that we got in the alley. Jehosaphat, but those were some rotten, twisty breads! Comfort spent nearly the whole night out talking to dealers in the other hall, trying to pitch them on Rainbow in the Dark while Adam worked the table alone. It was exhausting for both of us, and a reminder of why we do everything together. Having to do this job on your own would be really, really difficult.

We got out late and grabbed burgers at Shake Shack. (Stuffed, fried mushroom burger? Yes, please.) Then it was back to the apartment for a little work and some sleep. At this point in the trip, we weren’t doing that bad, exhaustion-wise. We were actually feeling pretty good when we got up the next morning, and were thinking maybe the weariness we felt the previous year was a fluke. We would turn out to be wrong, but that’s for a little later.

Grabbing burgers with Kris and Ian

Bellatrix LeStrange by Comfort

Dragon Age Commander Shepard and Miranda by Adam

Harley Quinn Sketch Cover by Comfort

Succubus by Adam

Friday was a long, busy day. For most, it was their first day. We racked up quite a few commissions, which was a nice surprise. Our book sales were looking up from last year, too, which was nice. Mostly, we were just happy to be working the table together after having to do long stretches of solo jobs the day before. We don’t like doing things without each other, because we’re big saps.

After another late night and some delicious vegetarian sammiches, we took the subway to the apartment and worked until we couldn’t anymore. It was really late, and some fatigue was starting to settle in. A combination of the late hour the con ended, the time it took to get food every night, and the subway ride home, we wouldn’t get back to Kris and Ian’s place until 11-12 almost all weekend. And then, we’d have to stay up longer to finish sketches, and get up really early to catch the subway and walk the long way to the convention center.

By the time we got to the con Saturday, we were starting to feel that weariness we’d hoped had been a fluke. It was certainly a busy day, but turned out to be manageable. A change in how the con was run this year was the inclusion of swipe-badges. Each pass had an ID chip in it, and you had to swipe it when you entered and exited the show. It was intended to cut down on people sneaking in or using badge treachery to fool staff. We were concerned there would be terrible bottlenecks and lines, but there weren’t. Maybe it was a miracle, but it all seemed to run really smoothly. And when we found out one estimate of just how many people had snuck into the show last year, we figured out why this year seemed so much more manageable despite having higher on-the-books attendance.

Pin-Up Girl in an R2-D2 Dress by Adam

Girl as Firefly's Kaylee by Comfort

OC Stalker by Adam

OC by Comfort

The result was a busy, but not madness-inducing, Saturday. The New York rules held true: modest print sales for a show of its size, low book sales compared to other cons, and solid commissions. It was going to be a good weekend, but not anything to blow the hinges off our ledgers.

Saturday night we finally got to go out with some of our other friends in town. NYCC is such a busy show with so many major events, and it can be very hard to find a place to eat with a large group. Those things together make it tough to get time with all the people you might want to, and we certainly had that trouble this year. But the night was a lot of fun, and we got to relax and catch up with people. The food was great Italian fare, and there was a creepy kid on a DS in the basement watching people going in and out of the bathroom. So, you know. That was a thing.

After dinner we all headed over to JHU (formerly Jim Hanley’s Universe) for the release party for Jamal Igle’s new creator owned book, Molly Danger! It was really fun, although as usual we were swamped with sketches and spent most of the time tucked away in a back corner of the room drawing. Such is our way.

Sitting in JHU working on commissions. We're boring at parties.

Green Lantern sketch card by Adam; Captain America and Patriot sketch cards by Comfort

Wonder Woman sketch cover by Adam

By the time we got back to the apartment we were feeling pretty beat. More work got done, but our hearts were barely in it. By Sunday morning, we were running on empty. We were sore, tired, and mentally drained. One more day, we kept telling ourselves. Just one more day. Make it happen!

We managed to drag ourselves into the convention center Sunday morning and muster up the energy to stay happy and smiling all day. NYCC was a mildly unusual show in that there was pretty steady business every day. Usually, one day (typically Saturday) will be your biggest sales day, another (probably Friday) will be pretty weak, and the last day is somewhere in the middle. New York was the same general amount of business all weekend. We even got more commissions up to the last moment we could safely accept and complete them before show’s end. It wasn’t bad.

It wasn’t overwhelming, though, and for a show that’s as stressful at times and hectic and hard to get into and expensive to exhibit at... you really expect it to be a bigger windfall. We do shows that aren’t half as taxing on us that make as much or more money than we do at NYCC. As we were cleaning up after the end of the show on Sunday, we joked with each other that there’s no other convention where we work this hard for this little. It doesn’t mean we did poorly, just that you would expect gangbusters from such a high-profile, high-intensity con. New York is a good convention, and we love going, we love the people…but it ain’t gangbusters financially speaking.

Superman/Batman Sketch Cover by Adam

Superman and Faora by Comfort

Superman Sketch Cover by Adam

Anime Characters in Loooove by Comfort and Adam

But then, we always seem to have other big business to do in the city that makes up for it. In 2012, we had a meeting that helped land our super-secret Random House project. This time, it was promoting Rainbow in the Dark to the comic shops in town. Rainbow blew the hinges off its pre-order minimums, and part of that certainly came from us being able to shake hands and meet people face-to-face. It was good for us professionally and for our business even if we didn’t earn googly-eyed amounts of money.

We didn’t call a cab to get back this time, so we were hauling our big, bulky bags all the way back through the city and on the subway to get them to Kris and Ian’s place. We had help--Ian had to carry his own stuff (he was representing his podcast Comic Timing at the show), but Kris and our friend Marvin each took up a bit of the burden. It made it much easier, but honestly we were all so tired by that point that we don’t think it would have mattered how much we had to carry.

Gambit by Adam

9th Doctor and Rose by Comfort

Polaris by Adam

Fan as Batman by Comfort

Fan as Green Lantern by Adam

We hung out at the apartment for a bit, ordering a really nice pizza while we waited for traffic to cool off before hitting the road. We’re really thankful for Kris and Ian; they’re incredibly gracious and helpful, they take amazing care of us when we visit their city, and we always have a great time in their company. We hope everybody out there has a Kris and Ian in their lives. Not ours, obviously, because they’ve only got so much time and they’ve gotta work for a living, but friends like them.

We drove that night with our good buddy Marvin to his place to rest for the night, then finished our trip home in the morning. We wish we could say we slept for days, but we didn’t have time. We had to kick our pre-order push for Rainbow into a higher gear, and we had a lot of other work on our plate that needed attending to. It would be late November before we could take a day off, and one day was all we got because our Random House deadline was looming.

All that and two more conventions to go. We’ll tell you how they went next time.

Until then, we remain-
Comfort & Adam

Rainbow: Reviews, interviews, and a top 101 creators list!

Hey everybody!

Looooooong time no blog. In part that's because we're still working on this massive 400+ page book for Random House. Sweet lordy, this has turned out to be a monster of a book! Can't wait to tell you all about it once we get the green light.

Anyhoo, as we finish up the last of the artwork for this massive undertaking we wanted to take just a minute to list off the fantastic reviews, interviews - and yes - a top 101 creators to watch mention we've gotten!

As a matter of fact, let's start with that. For those of you who didn't know, we were reviewed not only got five stars from our review at Den of Geek, but we were also named #82 on their top 101 creators to watch for 2014. Holy crap - we are super crazy honored!

We've gotten reviews now from Newsarama, Fanboy Nation, Comics Spectrum, We Are Geeking Out, with more to come!

...and we're doing interviews all over town. Both Comic Vine and it's sister site, Anime Addiction interviewed us (one written, one recorded). Fanboy Nation gave us an amazing and lengthy interview - and we were invited to return to two of our favorite podcasts - Two Geeks Talking, and Comic Timing!

As you can see, we and the media are building a stronger bond together that we're looking to continue in 2014. We'll see what happens - but we're more hopeful now then we've ever been!

Thanks for reading!

Comfort & Adam

A winter wonderland Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve here and we will in all likelihood spend the vast majority of the day working here on our book for Random House. We're exhausted - but at the very least our view from our window is BEAUTIFUL!

A couple of days ago we had an ice storm here and it's left everything looking like a gorgeous evil ice-witch blanked the land and her magic! It's brought down trees and power lines all across Michigan. Pretty crazy! Below are out videos we made of it all!

Our insanely beautiful backyard

Our house at night - magical!

The sunlight coming down our street

Sunlight sparkling through the trees

Like we said - BEAUTIFUL! Well, we hope you guys all have an amazing holidy. We'll be working the whole time, but when we're all done it'll be well worth it!

Marry Christmas you crazy kids!

Comfort & Adam

Rainbow: Get it for Chrismas on Amazon!

Hey, everybody! We thought we should toss out this announcement while people might still be getting in some Christmas shopping: Rainbow in the Dark: The Complete Saga is available to order on Amazon.com! That’s right, for a nice, meaty discount you can get this massive tome shipped to you or your loved ones in time for the holidays.

A a matter of fact Rainbow in the Dark: The Complete Saga is available at...

There are a lot of great reviews coming in, too. Newsarama loved the book, scoring it a big 8/10. We got five stars from the Den of Geek, in a lengthy review that has a lot of nice things to say. The entire staff at We Are Geeking Out wanted to chime in to share their thoughts about the book. And over on Fanboy Nation, there's a very positive review and a lengthy interview with us talking about all sorts of things and getting deep about Rainbow.

It’s been a really great time for us, seeing how much people have been enjoying Rainbow in the Dark. If you’re still looking to get yourself a copy, Amazon can get you one in time for Christmas. And while you're at it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. It helps us a lot if the people who enjoyed the book would say so, even just by giving a little star-review on their site.

Comfort & Adam