…was pretty gosh-darned amazing!

For those who don’t know, Summit City Comic Con is a one-day first-year con that took place in beautiful downtown Fort Wayne, IN this past Saturday.

Unfortunately, I was at my table for most of the day and didn’t get to really walk around to experience any of the panels or special activities offered, so I’ll just tell you about my own experiences while at SCCC.

First of all, the artist alley tables were free and – according to Zack Kruse, the man behind the con – will always be free for comic book writers and artists. He told me that the point of the con is to help comic creators make money and get their work out to the public, not hope they break even. He even had volunteers walking around, about every hour or so, offering up free snacks and drinks to artists and writers. I’ve never been treated like that at a convention.

The convention was also more kid-friendly than any other con I’ve been to, which was a refreshing change of pace. It was pretty inspiring to see kids running around everywhere with comics in their hands. I just wish I had known this going in, so I could have prepared a little better. Punch-Up and Skottie Rocket, Gay Space Pirate aren’t exactly kid-friendly comics, y’know?

[Note: Between his kid’s comic – Missing The Boat – and his awesome drawings and painting, my friend dwellephant would have made a killing at a con like this. He should definite consider attending this convention next year.]

I did get to network a bit and got my books into the hands of some of the professional comic creators at the show. I talked with a few people about possible future collaborations, put my books into the hands of a talented podcaster for review, and… AND… I was able to get about half a dozen comic pros – including an Eisner award-winning artist or two – to agree to draw Punch-Up pinups for the back of my graphic novel!

I was also invited to two other comic book conventions in Indiana – one in Kokomo, IN and the other in Lafayette, IN – and might try to add them to my already busy fall con schedule.

SCCC was also my best con so far, as far as sales are concerned. While I love S.P.A.C.E., it has always been more of a trade show for me. I’ve always given away or traded with other comic creators than I would actually sell. Going into SCCC, I made a conscious decision to avoid falling into that trap again.

By the end of the day, I had sold close to twenty books and made almost fifty dollars. I realize that – for most comic creators, especially the pros – this is on the low end, but it’s the most I’ve ever made off of my work. So that was pretty exciting.

What surprised me about my sales was that I had sold about equal copies of Punch-Up and Skottie Rocket, Gay Space Pirate. I definitely went in there expecting to sell more of one than the other and was pleasantly surprised when I was proven wrong.

Hand down, though, my favorite part of the convention was whenever any of the several gay comic fans walking around would stop at my table, pick up a copy of Skottie Rocket and say to their partner, “OMG! There is a comic with a gay lead character! Oh, sweetie, we have to pick this one up!” This happened almost every time. I actually ended up “donating” a copy of Skottie Rocket to one young man who was excited about having a gay comic character to read about, but didn’t have any money. He was so excited when I gave him a copy of the book, I thought he was going to explode.

This made me pretty happy. I was so worried that Skottie Rocket wouldn’t do well in the gay community. I didn’t want anyone thinking – since I am a straight man writing about a fairly scatter-brained gay character – that I was making fun of the gay community. All of my gay friends who read the book loved it, but I was nervous about what those who didn’t know me would think.

Imagine my relief – and pride – when people weren’t just excited about Skottie Rocket, but almost ravenous.

All in all, the Summit City Comic Con turned out to be an amazing experience and could easily be one of my favorite conventions of the year.

And I can’t wait to go back next year.