Apocalypse Man is now live on sunbrosstudios.com! We’ll be posting new pages three times a week—every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Check back for updates and leave us a comment to let us know what you think.
Instead of our regularly scheduled Apocalypse Man update, we wanted to let you all know about everything we’ve been up to since C2E2—and there’s been plenty! We just got back from Indiana where we tabled at Appleseed Comic Con, a creator-centered show in Fort Wayne full of friendly, talented artists and great people. Check out our Convention Season image gallery for photos of all the cons we’ve been to, along with pics of our new friends, fans, and some ridiculously awesome cosplay.
At the beginning of May we had the privilege of judging a 48-hour comics contest at the University of Chicago. Participants had two days to write, illustrate, and submit a 3-5 page comic based on a writing prompt we gave them. The prompt itself was simple: you will do anything to get a song out of your head. The prompt generated a host of creative interpretations—and when we sat down to read the submissions we were seriously impressed with the talent that showed up to compete. In fact, we were so pleased with the contest that we’ve decided to share all five contest winners with all of you! And naturally, we also wrote our own 48-hour mini comic for you to enjoy.
Moving forward, our schedule isn’t slowing down much. This coming Sunday (May 19) we’ll be at Open Books on the Near North Side for a Writer’s Panel and networking event co-sponsored with the Chicago Nerd Social Club. Come by the bookstore at 3pm—we’ll start with a moderated Q&A panel with a really great trio of local Chicago creators. From there we’ll move on to meet-and-greet mingling so we can all share our writing projects with each other. The authors assembled will be from a variety of literary mediums—short stories, novels, internet serials, etc—and the Sun Bros are happy to be representing comics!
Next month we’re really turning up the heat on our con schedule, as we’ve booked convention appearances nearly every weekend in June. With Fantasy Con, CAKE, Mighty Con, and Derby City Comic Con, we’ll be doing four shows in four weeks! It’ll be a fun (and exhausting) month for Sun Bros Studios, and we hope to see some of you on the road. While we’re off touring Chinatown and Apocalypse Man in the Midwest, be sure to keep checking back on the site for more photos and more pages of our Apocalypse Man webcomic—updated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!
A painting professor of mine once told me that he used to exhibit at weekend art festivals, the kinds that take place in outdoor tent-like stalls and feature funnel cakes, face painting, and temporary bathrooms. He recalled how awful it was to sit there silently as visitors would callously scrutinize his paintings, often with a dismissive “I don’t get it”, or worse, an infuriating “I could do that.”
He said that in order to not lose money at these festivals, vendors displaying more expensive stuff would have to sell cheap key chains or postcards until they felt less like exhibitors of heartfelt, passionately created art and more like pushers of cheap trinkets and souvenirs. I’m happy to say C2E2 is nothing like that.
Wesley covered a lot of the sights and sounds of last weekend’s big Chicago convention, so I’ll skip talking about all the cool panels and celebrities, except to say this – when Patton Oswalt or Kevin Smith talk about their success, the overwhelming feeling they convey is one of humility and gratitude. And it’s not just a disingenuous, self-deprecating “aw shucks” response either. It’s a genuine thankfulness that people have taken the time and energy to simply care about what they’re doing.
Sitting at our table in Artist Alley and seeing people stop to flip through our books or my portfolio, even a bitter old codger like myself can’t help but feel that sense of gratitude.
From convention goers setting down their bags of swag to thumb through Chinatown, to friendly fellow exhibitors looking to network, to young art students with their adorably academic artspeak, there was nary a trace of cynicism or negativity. It was, for lack of a better word, heartwarming.
After all, being a geek, as Wil Wheaton recently put it, is all about love — passionate, committed, disturbingly obsessive love, be it for comic books, TV shows, or whether or not zombies should be able to run fast.
Now don’t get me wrong. Sun Bros Studios remains committed to producing comics filled with death, violence, and dark ruminations on the madness of the human condition. That’s a promise! Art can be many things – funny, tragic, terrifying, whatever. But the sharing of that art should always be a joyful experience and that’s what events like C2E2 are all about.
Whether I was doing quick sketches or commissions, comparing notes with other artists, or just chatting about Ninja Turtles, it’s the personal interactions, however brief they may have been, that’ll stick with me. So thanks for a great weekend, C2E2. Here’s to many more!
And speaking of sharing our art, make sure you check back Monday for the official launch of our first webcomic Apocalypse Man! Right now physical copies are only available to our Kickstarter backers and at conventions, but stay tuned for other ways to pick it up!
I love comic cons.
More specifically, I love connecting with people through comic cons. If you haven’t read my blog article from last year, “Wizard World: a Conversion Story,” you might want to check that out first to get some background. But suffice it to say, I wasn’t always a fan of these things. It took a little time, but I eventually learned to relax my single-minded agenda of selling books and networking (which I still do plenty of, by the way), and instead head to the cons with the idea of building new relationships with cool, passionate people. Like I said, there’s a whole backstory to this, which you can read by clicking here.
Brad will post tomorrow with his own thoughts on the C2E2 experience, but for now let me walk us through some of my favorite highlights from the show, and some of the awesome and amazing people I got to meet while I was there.
Let’s start with our panel …
CSC-1: Kickstarting Your Comics
Our panel was the very first day of the con, and it also kicked off the Comics Studies Conference at C2E2! We spoke to a packed out room of fellow creators and artists looking to break into comics through crowdfunding. It was great to hear about so many new projects waiting to go live on Kickstarter, and a really good feeling to know that sharing some of our success could help others get their comics out there.
Based on the feedback we’ve received, it seems like there’s a real need for clear, concrete, and practical advice on crowdfunding. Most of the questions we fielded were about constructing budgets, negotiating percentages for consignment sale, and creating more detailed timelines for illustrating, printing, and distributing your work once the Kickstarter is over. The entire panel was recorded and we’ll post up a link to the video as soon as its available, but what’s really cool is that the conversation has kept going long after the panel’s been over.
All weekend long folks dropped by our booth to ask us Kickstarter questions, share their portfolios, and talk with us some more—and we’re still getting e.mails, Facebook messages, and Tweets from our new friends and fans. Keep ‘em coming!
Kevin, Patton, Felicia … and more!
During my pre-C2E2 countdown, I listed Kevin Smith and Patton Oswalt among the headliners I was looking forward to see. Well, those guys didn’t disappoint. As we all expected, Kevin Smith was candid, charming, and hilarious. He has a very “How I Met Your Mother” way of telling a story—meaning he feels the need to fill you in on funny asides and anecdotes before he gets to answering the question directly. It’s a roundabout way of getting there, but he’s such a joy to listen to it really doesn’t matter.
And hey, if you made it to Patton Oswalt’s Q&A, you got a twofer when Brian Posehn snuck in and started tweeting insults, which were then read aloud. It all started when Brian asked Patton, “Why do these people like you?” and then quickly escalated to him asking if he planned to grow an extra foot to play Pip the Troll.
What I forgot to mention during the countdown is that Brad won a free autograph from Felicia Day at the Drink and Draw last month and graciously gave it to me. I’m a huge fan of Geek and Sundry and, as I told Felicia when we met, it was really inspirational to see her grow her company and brand herself while I was trying to do the same with Sun Bros Studios. As my way of saying thanks, I left Felicia with her own copies of Chinatown and Apocalypse Man … but I forgot to ask if we’re ever going to see any Pokemon on her Ark.
Cosplay on Parade
And last but certainly not least … the cosplay. True to form, C2E2 played host to some of the best, most original costuming I’ve ever seen. My two favorite cosplayers—Chelsea and Sidney—showed up in their finest and pulled out all the stops. Whether admiring Chelsea’s homemade Carnage alien symbiote or Sid’s incredibly slick and detailed Catwoman outfit, it was just incredible to see them both in their element and showing off their craftsmanship. Other honorable mentions go to the awesome guy dressed up as Starro and the cutest Wolverine I’ve ever seen. To see all the photos, check out our image gallery on Facebook!
Moving on …
Barely having enough time to catch our breath, we’ll be moving on to more and more shows, conventions, and appearances in the weeks to come. In just a few days we’re judging a 48-hour Graphic Novel Contest, after which we’ll be in Fort Wayne, IN for Appleseed Comic Con … and after that we’ll be speaking on a panel at Open Books!
Check back tomorrow for Brad’s post-C2E2 review and, if you haven’t had a chance yet, check out the preview of our brand-new webcomic … Apocalypse Man!!! Officially launching on Monday!
The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo has come and gone—and the Sun Bros had a fantastic weekend at their first big show! We met some excellent people, offered a very well-received panel, and sold a lot of books. All in all, a great experience for us. Wesley and Brad will each be writing up their own reviews of the con, but for now check out our Faceboook image gallery to see what we’ve been up to for yourself.
More great news: Apocalypse Man is back from the printers and ready for shipping! If you backed us on Kickstarter for $50 or more, there’s a book heading your way. And if you kicked in for $150+ you’ve got original artwork and the Sun Bros Sampler as well. For those of you wanting to order Apocalypse Man online, we’ll be making that available soon through our Gumroad store. Can’t wait that long? We understand. You can start reading Apocalypse Man right now by clicking here! Starting next week, we’ll be updating our new webcomic three times a week so our online fans can follow along as well.
So what’s next for the Sun Bros? Plenty.
This coming weekend we’re judging a 48-hour comics contest co-sponsored with UChicomics: Ink & Pixels. We’ll be announcing the writing prompt the evening of Friday (5/3), giving a workshop on Saturday (5/4), and receiving the entries Sunday (5/5). It’s absolutely free to enter and there will be amazing prizes. Can’t make it down to the University of Chicago each day? No problem. We’ll be announcing the prompt via the Facebook event and you can just show up Sunday evening to submit your work! If you’re interested, please check out the Facebook event here.
The week after that the Sun Bros will be featured on a Writer’s Panel at the nonprofit bookstore, Open Books—sponsored by the Chicago Nerd Social Club. The event begins at 3:00pm on Sunday, May 19 and you can RSVP to the Facebook event or register at EventBrite.
But wait, that’s not all. In just a few short weeks we’ll be hitting the road on our way to Fort Wayne, IN for Appleseed Comicon! This’ll be the first time we’ll be heading far and away from our Chicago homebase to exhibit and we’re very excited to see what the response to our work outside the Windy City. If you’ll be at Appleseed, please drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter and let us know!