Cartoon Crossroads Columbus – CXC

The 2nd annual Cartoon Crossroads Columbus has been in full swing since Thursday, and will be going on through the weekend. I will be at the expo portion of the event on Saturday and Sunday (Oct 15-16) at the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library downtown.


So please drop by and say hi to me and the dozens of fantastic creators who will be signing books, doing presentations, and holding panels.

Anecdotes from Mid-Ohio-Con 2009

I was digging through some old emails and came across this nugget, which I had shared with Chris Ryall at IDW Publishing after my experience at the 2009 Mid-Ohio-Con.


My big project at the time was the official Terminator Salvation movie prequel, which I had for sale at my table. Both of these anecdotes are related to it.

On Sunday a couple of younger guys were looking through the books on my table, and one of them picked up the Terminator graphic novel. Here’s the conversation that ensued, essentially verbatim:

Guy: Dude, you wrote this?
Me: Yeah, I was given the movie script and asked to–
Guy: Wicked! Did you meet Arnold?
Me: Uh, no, I just wrote the comics and–
Guy: So did you go on the set?
Me: No, I did everything from–
Guy: Dude, is your name in the credits of the movie?
Me: No, see, I just wrote the–
Guy: (nods his head, puts the book down, and wanders off)

Another couple came by with their teenage boy. He told me that he loved the Terminator graphic novel, and that it was only the 2nd or 3rd graphic novel he’d ever read. I thanked him for the compliment, and this is the conversation that ensued between him and his mom:

Mom: Oh yeah, I remember buying this book for you.
Son: You didn’t buy it for me.
Mom: Yes I did.
Son: No you didn’t. I read it at Borders over the course of 3 days.
Mom: Oh. Well, I meant to buy it for you.

At which point they all wandered off.

Oh, the glamorous life of a comic book writer….

Persia Blues wins 2014 SPACE prize for Best Graphic Novel


I’m thrilled to announce that Persia Blues, my graphic novel with artist Brent Bowman, has won the 2014 SPACE Prize in the graphic novel category!

As in previous years, the winners were picked by two rotating judges and the registered SPACE 2014 exhibitors themselves. I’d like to extend my congratulations to the winners in the other categories, as well as all the nominees.


This book has been a true labor of love for me, and Brent and I have poured a lot of our time and energy into its creation. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, in creating Persia Blues, I wanted to showcase a little of Iran’s rich culture, from cuisine to architecture to literature, and also give readers a sense of its thousands of years of history and tradition. But more importantly, I wanted to tell a very human story, featuring a smart, capable, complex protagonist.

We will have an art display at this year’s S.P.A.C.E., showcasing original art from the upcoming vol. 2 of the book. The show takes place in Columbus, Ohio on April 11 & 12, 2015.

Now coming up on its 16th year, S.P.A.C.E. (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo) is the Midwest’s longest running exhibition of small press, creator owned, and art comics. It’s also Columbus’ only locally owned and operated comics show. Sponsored by Back Porch Comics.

Meet me at the Ohio River Festival of Books 9/20

I will be a guest this Saturday, September 20 at the Ohio River Festival of Books, at the Big Sandy Convention Center in Huntington, WV ‎.

There are programs throughout the week, though, including the Keynote event on Friday, September 19, at 6:30 p.m. with Marc Brown, author of the bestselling Arthur books, as well as the creator of the six-time Emmy Award–winning (with 17 nominations) PBS animated Arthur series. Featured authors will include Craig Johnson, S.G. Redling, Bethany Griffin, Anna Smucker, and many others.

I will be presenting a panel titled “A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Comics and Graphic Novels” on Saturday, from 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

Dara Naraghi

The event is free to the public, and also features music and activities for kids. Be sure to check their website for the full schedule of panels, signing authors, and other events.

Claire’s Day Children’s Book Festival

I’m thrilled to be a guest at the 13th annual Claire’s Day, Northwest Ohio’s largest children’s book festival. The event will take place this Saturday, May 17, at the Maumee-Toledo-Lucas County Public Library in Maumee, Ohio. And best of all, it’s free!


The festival features children’s book authors and illustrators from throughout the Midwest, plus a crafts area, teen tent, live music, and more. A highlight of the day is the C.A.R.E. Awards (Claire’s Awards for Reading Excellence) given to children nominated by their principals as being the most improved readers in their schools.

As part of the event, I’ll be doing presentations on Friday at 2 Toledo-area schools. I’m looking forward to talking with all the students, and will post some pictures and a write-up after the events.

Meet me at the Buckeye Book Fair

Next Saturday, November 2, I will be a guest of the 26th Annual Buckeye Book Fair in Wooster, Ohio (near Cleveland). I’ll be joined by my Persia Blues artist partner in crime, Brent Bowman. You can find us at table #33.


The annual Buckeye Book Fair is a full day event featuring nearly 100 Ohio authors and illustrators who meet with readers and autograph copies of their latest works. Thousands of attendees from all over Ohio come to mingle, shop for books, and celebrate the joys of reading and writing.


The fair runs from 9:30 – 4:00 pm, and we’ll be signing copies of Persia Blues, as well a few of my other graphic novels. Hope to see some of you there!

Come meet me and Brent at SPX

My Persia Blues artist, Brent Bowman, will be joining me at this year’s Small Press Expo (SPX) in Bethesda, Maryland on September 14 & 15. We’ll be at our publisher’s table, NBM Publishing, signing books, doing sketches, and meeting fans and new readers. Here’s a floor plan and where you can find us, marked by the green oval:


If you’ve never been to SPX, it’s a who’s who of indie comic greats. Some of this year’s headliners include our hometown’s own International superstar, Jeff Smith, plus Farel Dalrymple, Peter Bagge, Raina Telgemeier, Lisa Hanawalt, Ed Piskor, Adrian Tomine, Seth, Gary Panter, and Congressman John Lewis, debuting his autobiographical graphic novel, March.


Selling comics at a gaming con

Over at Comic Book Resources, Brigid Alverson has a fascinating (to me) look at PAX East, the gaming convention started up by the Penny Arcade webcomic guys. While not a fan of their work, I’ve been quite impressed with their business acumen, and especially the success of their PAX conventions. Just check out these photos, which document a show that easily rivals some of the comic book world’s biggest conventions:

Show-floor-1-small PC-area-small

After reading the article, two things struck me. First, shows like this can serve as a great middle-ground for the general genre fan to be exposed to comics and graphic novels. Smart comic book publishers with books that will appeal to gamers are already at the show, introducing their products to a whole new audience (and market segment)”

At the publisher’s booth, Oni’s Director of Business Development George Rohac presided over a wide range of books; people are often drawn by the Scott Pilgrim books, he said, but then Oni’s other titles, such as The Sixth Gun and Sharknife, catch their eye.

At the Udon Entertainment booth, video-game art books and Street Fighter graphic novels were moving briskly; at the end of the weekend, Marketing Director Christopher Butcher said he had sold almost his entire inventory.

Gaming fans are just like comic fans: they love to spend money on ancillary products based on the games they like. We buy Batman statues and Spider-man hoodies, and they do the same for products based on the characters from their favorite games. So why not sell them comics based on their games? Or at least, in the same general wheelhouse? And in turn, if they happen to like the comics, they may continue to seek out more works by the same creators, or same publisher. The way I look at it, this is a perfect example of “a rising tide lifts all boats,” or as they like to say in the jargon-obsessed business world, a “win-win.” The comics publishers can expand their marketplace, while the game publishers expand their brand and licensing potential.

But what if as a publisher or individual creator, you don’t have the funds or the quantity of products to be able to field a (presumably expensive) booth at a show like this? Well, that’s the second thought that came to mind: here’s a niche for a smart, enterprising person to fill. You could potentially make a business of being the middle-man for parties interested in selling their comics at a convention like this, but who are limited by their finances, geographical location, or simply don’t have that many different books to make getting their own booth a viable option. You pay for the booth, have your clients ship you the books, sell them at the show, and take an agreed-upon cut of the profits. Theoretically, you make money, and your clients make money (or perhaps they just break even, but they consider the exposure and awareness boost a reasonable return on their investment).

Granted, there are logistical and practical problems galore, not the least of which is whether this scheme would even be profitable. But hey, that’s the job of the entrepreneur, right? To figure out how to make money from an under served (or ignored) niche market, and to take the chance.

So there you go, consider that a free business idea from me to you. Just remember me if you ever put this idea into practice, and give me the “friends” discount rate for your services, OK?

Cliff Galbraith on comic cons

The Beat has a nice interview with indie comics creator Cliff Galbraith on founding and running the relatively new Asbury Park Comicon. I especially liked this quote:

What’s your personal philosophy behind Comic Cons?

CG: Don’t be boring. Don’t be predictable. Don’t call yourself a Comic Con and fill the bill with wrestlers, actors, and other people who have nothing to do with comics. Respect and honors those who make comics, especially those who came before us. I see a lot of bullshit at cons and I just don’t get it. If somebody wants an autograph of somebody from Twilight or some guy who played a storm trooper 30 years ago — that’s their business, but it really has nothing to do with comics. It detracts and devalues comics as something that is supposed to be celebrated. My feeling is if you’re not here for the comics then shove off. Go to a horror con, go to a sci-fi con.

Amen, brother.

3rd Triennial Academic Conference at the Festival of Cartoon Art

Ohio State University will once again be hosting the Festival of Cartoon Art, scheduled for November 14th-17th, 2013. More details here.

CFP: The Third Triennial Academic Conference at the Festival of Cartoon Art

Beginning in 2007, the triennial Festival of Cartoon Art at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University added a one-day academic conference ahead of the weekend’s festivities. This year, 2013, the Billy Ireland will be hosting a special Festival to celebrate the Grand Opening of its glorious new home with a weekend of speakers, events and exhibitions. In honor of this momentous occasion, the academic conference this year will be a two-day event on Thursday and Friday, November 14th and 15th, leading up to the kickoff of the official opening festivities on Friday evening.

In addition, they are currently inviting academic papers in comics studies, with a special interest in papers focusing on topics that connect with the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum’s collections and mission. To be considered for the panels, please send a 250-500 word abstract and a one-page vita to The deadline for abstracts is July 1, 2013.

PANEL takes 2nd place SPACE Prize

The winners of the 2012 SPACE Prize have been announced. Alas, my nominated collaboration with Matt Kish didn’t win, but a hearty congratulations to all the winners. And I’d especially like to send a shout out to my fellow PANEL Collective peeps Tony Goins and Andy Bennett for their 2nd place finish in the Mini-Comics/Short Story category for their story “The Only Two,” from our PANEL #18 anthology:


See you all at this year’s S.P.A.C.E., April 13 & 14 in Columbus, Ohio.