Tuesday, April 24, 2007

SPACE CON #8 a Two Day Event! April 21, 22. Official Report.

Well where should I begin? First of all I had a very bad cold for almost 2 weeks before the SPACE (Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo) convention this year. (Held every year in Columbus, Ohio.) I had to get the video ready and make up some boxes to sell at the show. Chris Moshier had shot most of the footage last year at this convention and even edited the footage into a great 2 disk package! All I had to do was make up a box cover design, and a label design for the disks. I did get it all done but it was very tough when you are blowing y0ur nose and your head feels like it is the size of the EPCOT world display. I also had just gotten a new camcorder to try out at the con this year. So was busy trying to learn how it worked. To top it off my dad was in the hospital with a weak heart. Everyone told me to go ahead and make it to the show. I always love this convention and can't wait to see my old friends in small press like Tim Corrigan, Larry Blake, Matt Feazell, Bob Corby etc....and to meet up with writer Chris Moshier who writes for Fan-Atic Press. He and I met up there last year where he and his friend Mike Hutchings video taped interviews for me last year.

Anyway, I decided to make it to the show and it was as much fun as always and I'm glad I made it. I had to drive 5 hours that Friday, but the weather was great. In fact the weather was almost too good.

Chris Moshier on the left with Ken Henson of the comic HORACE on the right.

The first day of SPACE con was a slow start. We figured that most people were so grateful for the nice weather at last that they wanted to go outside and enjoy it. Sales on my books was an alltime low for SPACE con at least for Saturday.

The highlight of my day was when I played the DVD I'd been working on: Dean LeCrone vs. The Mutants of Comic Con. Where I filmed Dean a cartoonist who is also an actor who can improv extremely well. I filmed him interviewing costumed folks at the 2006 San Diego Comic con and we have the DVD movie about 90% done. Anyway I played it on my little DVD player at my booth and about 8 or 10 folks gathered around and laughed their heads off for the next 40 minutes! Some needed to be elsewhere and would start to leave but come back as they couldn't get enough of Dean and what he would do next at that con. It really will be a huge hit, I believe! A cult classic!

The crowd did increase and I also had a fan that had me sign about 10 of the comics I'd worked on and book covers I'd not seen in 20 years! That was a treat! I forgot to ask him where he found those comics.....

Craig Boldman writer for ARCHIE, and writer/artist for his own comics, gets interviewed.

Chris Moshier ran around to find certain creators that were on a list he had made up. He wanted this next DVD of SPACE to focus on the history of SPACE con, and have some more focused interviews on the founders of the convention and found out how it all got started. We used his tripod and my micraphone to get a more professional look to the video this time. We got some great interviews with such creators as: Bob Corby, Dave Sim, Tim Corrigan, Matt Feazell, and many, many others! I also ran around here and there and did some more mini interviews and tried to capture the look and feel of the convention this year. With 144 tables we were as usual only able to cover about 40 or 50 people if that. It is very hard to get around to everyone and we regret that we can't get to everyone, even when it is a 2 day event this time.

The night of the first day was to be the party at a place called MOMO2. Chris and I went to this party with Mike Huchings (who was in the POST SPEAK in the 2006 DVD) who helped us with the interviews a bit on Saturday afternoon and his girlfriend. MOMO2 was a teen hangout with computer games, bowling etc.....but we eventually ended up at the Applebee's resturant where we talked about the con and other pop culture.
Mike sporting his Fan-Atic Press t-shirt with his girlfriend. (I'm bad with names and can't remember her name right now, sorry.)

Chris had to leave and drive back to NY early on Sunday, so that left me to man the booth and try and video. Also I was on the panel "Old Timers Rant". Matt Feazell, Allen Freeman (that's me) and Larry Blake were to be on the panel but Larry couldn't make it so Tim Corrigan took his place. I tried to tape it but not sure if it turned out since I just set it up on a tripod and left it on. I think I got 1/2 of it before the tape ran out. Anyway the presenter or guy running the panel did a very good job. I'll find his name in the program and add it here later. Matt did most of the talking I think, and he was very entertaining. He even acted like an old man now and then, "You young folks don't know how great you have it now..." which was pretty funny. So the crowd which consited of Bob Corby, Dan W. Taylor and about 4 or 5 others were entertained and asked some great questions. It was the most fun I'd ever had being on a panel and I wasn't even nervous. My only problem was that my cold was still with me even though I thought I was getting over it. Halfway through the panel my throat went inside out on me and I felt like I had to cough. You know, the sort of cough that you feel will not ever end? I tried to hold it back and evidently wasn't doing very well and Tim gave me some of his drink. The water bottle machine was empty when I tried to get one right before the panel.

Dan W. Taylor artist and publisher

Then still struggling with the cough, Matt gave me a throat losenge! So they saved me. I recovered and was able to continue adding my great insight to the panel. We talked about some of the creators we wished were still producing comics like, Steve Willis, Ted Bolman, David Miller and more....

Larry Blake (L) with Tim Corrigan (R).

So I ended up selling enough books and DVD's to pay for my hotel for 3 nights (I only had to split it with Chris which also helped a lot!) and for my gas and food. So basically I broke even but made lots of new friends and contacts for future contributors to Slam Bang. I handed out flyers for the new Ka-Whump! #2 fanzine about small press comics, sold about 10 copies of the mag, and handed out my new postcards for Fan-Atic Press.

Microcosm Publishing were accross from my booth and seemed to get a nice crowd around their table off and on.

I'll be posting up some of the interviews and video footage here and there as I work on editing the DVD for SPACE CON 2007. Wish me luck! And sure, I hope to make it back to SPACE con in 2008! I love it! I still have my dumb cold a little as I can't shake it completely, my dad got out of the hospital and is doing better right now....in case you were wondering.

Here is an unknown comic fan with Larned Justin on the right. Larned and I went out to eat after the con on Sunday and chatted it up at Max and Irma's. Great hamburgers! And thanks Learned for helping me load my car after the show. I always bring too much stuff to this show.

Here is Tim Corrigan holding up a copy of Ka-Whump! #2. He said he was very impressed with the magazine and was hoping the small press community could support 3 zines about small press right now.

I have a few more photos that I may include here later. Mostly I was shooting video and will post up some of the clips here and there of the footage, so stay tuned!

----Allen Freeman 4/24/2007 www.fanaticpress.com

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Additions and SPACE CON DVD 2006!

Yep, I finally finished SPACE CON 2006 the 2 Disk Set DVD. Chris Moshier actually filmed most of it, and edited all of it. A nice hand of applause for the man Chris!! Truly a masterpiece and the best film about a comic con ever. Yeah, maybe even better than the one I made of this convention the year before, just maybe. I created a cover similar to the 2005 one as they are a nice set for your DVD shelf. Hint, hint. And I made the labels for both disks. Yeah this is a 2 disk set. On Disk 1: PRE PARTY action at a hip night spot the night before the con. INTERVIEWS with over 40 creators at the show! With some samples of their work and their names pop up so you know who is who. POST SPEAK: this is where Chris, Mike Hutchings, Todd Ritter and I (Allen Freeman) just chatted about the convention after it was over and some other shows we have attended etc....while eating Italian food. DISK 2 contains; COMIC PANEL, the one called "The Business of Comics" hosted by Eric Adams, starring, Rafer Roberts, Allen Freeman (me), Pam Bliss, and Paul Hornschemeier. Fun and informative! DAY PRIZE: is where Dave Sim and Gerhard handed out some awards to books submitted to them last year. (Fan-Atic Press won one for a story in Slam Bang #7 vol II!). And last but not least PICTURES; which is a cool slide show of photos taken during the show! Whew! Now you see why it had to be on 2 DVD's! Read more about it at the official site: www.fanaticpress.com

And we are gearing up to attend SPACE CON 2007 this coming weekend! Woooo, and Chris and I'll be video taping some interviews again and this time it will be sort of a documentary of SPACE CON itself! This is year 8 of the show and we will have some footage on our next DVD sh0wing some of the old days as well as the latest show! We will have a booth again this year mostly showcasing the new DVD and some other Fan-Atic Press and Making Comics Studios books! Haven #2 will be out at this show! Chris will debut the book and have issues #1 and #2 for sale!

I'm getting a new camcorder to capture all of this footage starting this coming weekend and continuing to San Diego Comic Con, and Wizard World Chicago! It's the brand new Canon HV20 and I'm very excited. Shooting in HD will be new, and we will have the appropriate mic's etc...and lighting and do this stuff up right!

More news as it happens!


Thursday, April 05, 2007

My Best Buy experience.....

My experience at shopping at Best Buy this week is so interesting I think that I'd like to share it with you.

On Monday I purchased a new router to speed up the connection to my wife's computer. We also asked them if there was anything that would allow her to see the internet anywhere she went with it. They said the SlingBox. After talking to them for 30 minutes and they even got their "expert" in on the conversation, we got the SlingBox AV. We also got me a new external hard drive call My Book. Ok, yeah, we maxed out the Best Buy credit card.

I get home and take everything out of the boxes. As I'm taking out the My Book I hear it rattling like a kids toy. Something is broken off and loose inside. Not good. I call them and they say bring it back. So I put it all back in the box and drive back over there. They have me go and look for another one on the shelf and there is one more. So I get home and it works fine. Then I hook up the router and it does work just not completely right. So after hours of messing with it I finally call tech support and Raji finally gets it all working. We only had one moment when I couldn't understand him at all. After having me click this, and that, he said now click AFLAG. I said what? He said, "AFLAG". I said what is "AFLAG". He said no, it's "AFLAG". I look over the page in desperation and see the only word starting with "A" and say, "is it APPLY?" and he says "Yes".

Now it is Tuesday and I go to hook up the SlingBox. It has a cool little window to play TV shows from your TV. But nothing ever mentions the internet. Finally after reading everything in the manuals, and their online info.....I realize it is only for watching TV or movies not internet. Their "experts" were on crack. So I get all the stuff and put it all back in the box as it was before and find my receipt.

Now it is Wednesday and I take back the SlingBox and tell them that I was "missinformed" by their staff. The girl doesn't care and gives me a refund. I go looking for a portable DVD player to use at the conventions I'll be setting up this summer to advertise the DVD's I'm selling of other comic conventions etc....I ask one guy and he finally says, "I only know how to figure up how much the tax will cost you. Let me get an expert." So this other guy just reads off the cards in front of the players (Like I can't read them?) as he also clearly knows less than the tax configuation dude. I finally decide on this nice black one with a 10.2" screen. I buy it and leave.

I get home and think that 3 hours of battery will not do me much good at the convention, it will have to last more like 8 hours. I go to the Best Buy web site looking for an add-on battery pack and see my same portable DVD player I just bought at the store, here online it is on sale for $38 less, and get this, PLUS a free leather case worth $35! Holy cow!

Now it is Thursday, I have the DVD player all boxed up like it was before, I go back to the store and tell them I'd rather take this back and order online. (I should have not said anything about online.) They go, "you can order it online right here!" So they punch in the web site and put my name in and bring up the same DVD player. And then they inform me that there is no sale! I see the screen and sure enough the sale is gone! They do have the free travel case still included though. The girl says, "The sales on the online store, change constantly, with no warning, sorry." Discouraged and confused, I say "OK." Then they tell me it has to be delivered as they don't have the case in the store. Both the player and the case have to be mailed seperately to my house! Gezzz....and that is an extra $8 shipping. (They can't hand me back the player I just gave them, I guess.) My "deal" is going to hell in a handbasket. So they ring it up at the same price I'd paid in the store the other day but with the free case, and $12 shipping and $11 tax.

All confused and a bit pissed I get home and jump on the site and to my super astonishment THE SALE IS STILL ON! Yes sportsfans, the sale never was gone. It was always there, save $38 and get the free case worth $35. Right in front of my face it is still on! What is going on with this store?

I call the store all confused and explain it all, and they put me on hold. 5 minutes later, they say, "hello can I help you.?" So I have to start the story all over. Then they say, "Just call our 1-888 number and tell them to cancel the order and then reorder it from your computer. We don't know why it didn't show up on our screen here at the store. Sorry."

So I call the store's 1-888 number and explain it all to the lady and she said that the store's don't see what you see on the screen as they have "special deals" they do or don't get. Sounds to me like a huge rip-off if you order from the store's online site from a store. And they figure most people will not go to all the trouble I did to get it straighened out. (Compare it to when you go to a grocery store and see signs stating 2 for $2 etc...then when you check out and later see the receipt there was no sale. If you complain they always say, "Must of been a computer glitch." But did you ever wonder why the mistake is always in their favor? Never to your advantage?)

The phone lady then cancelled my order, put it back on my card, then reordered the DVD player at the $38 less amount, and included the free $35 case. I still had to pay shipping, another $4 for the case. (The store didn't charge me for the free case shipping and when I looked over the receipt they gave me, no mention of the case! Woah, they were going to rip me off for the free case and the discounted price! Yikes!)

So as it all stands now I went from paying $208.64 including tax and shipping (no mention of the free case in the receipt) to paying $172.35 total, with the case clearly in the order. Even by paying an additional $4 for shipping the case seperately, I still paid $36.29 less? I think I paid even less for tax by not buying it at the brick and mortar store. Wow, it sure pays to stick to your guns and second (and triple) check everything they do.

Moral of the story is:

1.) never purchase anything from the store itself unless you have already checked the site and desperately need the item that very day.

2.) get all your info online from reviews and customer testimonies, never the sales staff.

3.) no matter what they say, never let them place your order to the online store for you or, you yourself, use their instore computer to order from their online store.



Sunday, April 01, 2007

Slam Bang #2 is out! Yeah baby!

Slam Bang #2 vol III (or issue #42) is now out! It's 210 pages, largest issue of Slam Bang ever! And besides that it is 6" x 9" so it is even taller and wider than ever! Super slick printing job by RapidPOD. Yeah, this issue has it all, 50 or so contributors and a spanking new interview with Tim Corrigan as well. The cranky letters pages and the ads from the contributors in the back....didn't have room for the bio pages like last issue but thought I'd just post them on the www.fanaticpress.com web site eventually. To read all about the book check that same site. Cover by Doug Chaffee back cover by Mark Martin. So if you want an issue just go to that site and hit the STORE button or send $10 + $2. Make checks and money orders out to: Allen Freeman. Send it all to: Fan-Atic Press, 3106 Dade Cove, Owensboro, KY 42303-4567 You'll be glad you did!

Issue #1 vol III is getting rave reviews still. Check www.fanaticpress.com/reviews.html for some of the printed reviews I've gotten on the book. Then you'll be sure it's a quality book, you don't have to just take my word for it anymore!

To contribute to Slam Bang #3 vol III (Deadline June 2007) just send some web size comic pages to fanaticpress@yahoo.com and I'll get back to you about them. Make the pages image size 5.5" x 8.5" to fill the page up nicely. And make the story a TRUE STORY as that is the theme for this issue. Make the comic at least 4 pages long and can be up to 8 pages or so. Keep it PG-13 and have fun! Only send your best work, as you can imagine lots of people want to get in on this. It will be at least 200 pages, black and white interiors, color covers as usual.