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THE HARLEM COMIC CONVENTION

07 June 2006

Last weekend was host to the big two-yearly comic convention in Harlem, though I should say it's more akin to a festival or spectacle than a mere convention. The whole city is transformed into a refuge for all manner of books, artists, craftsmen, publishers, collectors, distributors, shop-owners, comedians, brewers, illustrators, fans, celebrities, amateurs and basically everything even slightly associated with the usually rather intimate world of creating comics.

First off, I will discuss the weather. I stood at the Goldfish Factory stand with the Captain August book and my Quelle Horreur! graphic horror novel. This stand was awkwardly positioned between a huge cathedral and a smaller, yet still powerfully enormous statue of some guy in a robe (I'm usually of the sort to appreciate the names and history of these figures, but I had other things on my mind this weekend). This caused our stand to be in a constant draft while the spires of the church blocked out any hint of sun. This led to the amusing yet health-chipping scenario of a stream of visitors passing us by wearing t-shirts and casual spring-clothing (being warmed up by the sun everywhere else) while we were clothed in heavy coats, scarves and even gloves.

I didn't win the Clickie award for best 'epic' webcomic. This was not unexpected as I mentioned at an earlier convenience. The ceremony was short, somewhat amusing and a tad ill-visited by anyone except fans and familiars of the nominees. A nice touch was when webcomic journalist Jeroen Mirck -also head of the jury- asked the fans in the crowd to cheer for the respective artists as they were pronounced, as a measure of popularity and support. Fortunately, roommate Tom was there as well; and the man has a voice to be reckoned with. In the end, Stuff Sucks' Liz Greenfield took away with the prize. Hats off to you, miss!

The rest of the convention I spent selling books, socializing with all the other artists, networking with a host of industry people and hanging out with friends. I sold a good few August pockets, so the initial run is diminishing swiftly. There's still plenty left though, so don't be afraid to head over to the shoppe and order your copy! What also warmed my heart was to see that Quelle Horreur! got a nice reception. While flipping through the book myself I couldn't help being proud. I think it has become a great comic. This summer I'll be drawing the second and final part, which will see the light of day in September. In a short while you'll be able to purchase the first part on the Goldfish Factory website, so I'll link you in due time.

And after two days, it was all over as suddenly as it began. Nice weekend. We'll do it again in a year or two.

Roderick.