GraniteCon 2014 Report
GraniteCon 2014 saw a return to the Radisson Expo Center in Manchester, NH for Jesse and I, and after last year’s GraniteCon being our best show of the year, we had high hopes and expectations! Let’s see what was good and bad about this year’s show (what we playfully dubbed “The Con of Thrones”) and also look at the friends and new artists I met along the way!
The Theme this year was made known months in advance of the actual con. This year GraniteCon managed to land 5 guest actors from the very popular HBO series “Game of Thrones.” Now, while I’ve read all 5 “Song of Ice and Fire” books and DO enjoy the show, the focus on this element of the convention clearly had an impact on other aspects of the show. I could feel attendance was up this year, it was their second year being a 2-day show and people felt a bit more used to the format, but because of the sudden injection of popular, non-comics media to the show, many of those new attendees were there “just for the celebrities.” and way way less for the actual comics artists for which the show is named.
There was an air of indifference shown to the artists this year, more like we were just there to amuse folks until the next Game of Thrones panel was loudly announced over the convention PA. There were influxes of people in-between the events, and there were times of very heavy activity on the show floor proper, but the gaps of just dead sales with little to no people walking around the artists tables was maddening and long. Especially on Sunday afternoon when one usually expects a bump in sales as people look to unload and make their choices.
I heard from many, many artists that sales were way down this year and while it’s easy to blame the Game of Thrones theme or the length of the show, or even the layout (which was no different than the previous years layout really, actually I liked the space we had between lanes much more this year!) But it was just a plain down year at GraniteCon for us, the artists, the backbone of said cons.
I basically broke even, which is more than I could ask for usually. To conclude, I’m not saying GraniteCon is entirely at fault for the sluggish sales, there are plenty of X-factors here that are not easily quantifiable. I plan to take the pro-active route and shaking up my table presence for the next convention I do and make the changes I can to better represent myself and my art to the convention-going public. I hope GraniteCon works hard to do the same for us artists.
Beyond Mode 7
Beyond Mode 7 the SNES themed comics and art anthology Jesse and I have been working on for the better part of 2 years now. GraniteCon was our public premier for the book and we sold…1 copy! I suppose a convention like MAGFest is much more suited to a game-themed book such as ours, but the reception to game based art and comics was much stronger over all at the prior year’s GraniteCon.
Thanks to our one purchaser, a fine Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds cosplayer!
Now that all the negativity is out of the way, let’s talk about some of the awesome artists I meet every year at the show, and the new faces I got introduced to, and their amazing art of course!
I actually met Amanda very recently at the unfortunately totally-bust RockCon in Salem, NH. A New Hampshire Native, she combines wicked fast ballpoint pen on paper skills with vibrant splashes of color! Focusing on superheros and a HUGE Legend of Zelda fan, keep an eye on her and her art, definitely suitable for the frames she sells it in!
Brandon was back again for yet another GCon, loaded up with his great self published comics and various published writing such as articles in Heavy Metal! Check out Jack Hammer, for some superhero, detective noir mix action!
Blair is another long-time Granite Con tabler. You probably know him from his awesome Dr. Who art on the IDW line (before the licence moved elsewhere) as well as his amazing representational illustration work and his self published The RAPTOR superhero comic. Keep an eye on him in 2014, big things are happening for Blair very soon and it all promises to be very awesome!
Rare Earth Comics is the brain child of writer Ian Ally-Seals and features the art of fellow CCS graduate Carl Mefferd on their leading title Doctor Atlantis! They were seated directly across from us this year and sure had a great bunch of stuff to show off!
Chris was a new face for me at GraniteCon. Friendly and quick with a joke, his comic First World is RIGHT down my alley, and definitely something to look towards as inspiration for my own Fantasy comic!
I don’t normally talk about cosplay much on my wrap up, but Granite Con’s cosplay seemed to even have a theme this year…BIG! Here’s a few shots I managed to take real quick!
Wreck It Ralph meets Enormous 10-foot creepy clown!
The Thing stopped by to say hi to Wolverine!
See that ENORMOUS white and green robot thing towering over everything else? Crazy!
The kids-con area even had the candy car!
It’s not GraniteCon without the Tardis randomly appearing!
Despite being a down year, and hearing a lot of complaints from other artists, I still have a lot of fun every year at Granite Con. Manchester is easy to drive to, the hotel is right off the highway, and parking is a sinch! I also love the folks that table and typically the crowd that attends. I don’t know if I’ll do GraniteCon again next year or not, it’s obviously quite a ways off, but we’ll see what happens!
Maybe next year I’ll do MAGFest 9.5 instead…if they do another fall show? (Tee-shirt representin’!)
My next convention is going to be Portland Comics Expo (run by the MeCAF guys!) on October 26th so come on out to the sea-coast and check out what’s new at RKDIA Comics!