The Genericon XV Report

Browse Through the Genericon XV Slide Show!

Update: A couple of additions and corrections, gang. First, in the Slide Show, I erroniously identified one cartoonist in a picture. He's really Chris "Darth Paradox" Battey of Scatterplot. Thanks for pointing out the error, Chris (and sorry about the mix-up). There's plenty of other con reports floating around, including one on the Goats main page and the Avalon message board, so make sure to check around to get the whole picture con. (Undoubtedly, I'm "an upstanding gentleman with an excellent mustache." They don't know me too well, do they? ;)

Genericon is an annual gaming, anime, and science-fiction convention held every January on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. As a smaller con, Genericon doesn't have all the whiz-bang panels and events you might expect from the big shows, but it has an intimate atmosphere that allows fans and whoever they're fans of to connect much more closely. Just as Technicon wowed us last year with its fun and close-knit programming, Genericon made for an exciting weekend filled with lots of fun.

To start off, I always seem to have very good luck with airplanes. It seems that, for whatever reason, me and the airline industry get along. I almost never end up on a late flight, and when I do, I've never missed one. This trip was no exception. It turns out that our first flight from Raleigh, NC, to Charlotte, NC, was delayed for a tire change, and took off over 30 minutes late. By the time we landed, we had just minutes to catch our connector flight to Albany, NY. When we arrived, they had just started boarding. I haven't had a close call like that since college, when I almost missed a connector from Detroit, MI, back home.

The Genericon staff were extremely helpful. Not only did they pick us up at the airport, but they helped us with our luggage and ferried us around. Whenever we needed anything, they were ready to help us in any way. Note to all webcartoonists: Genericon is a great con to be a guest at. It gets the Jeff seal of approval. ;)

There wasn't much going on the first night. We sat in on the opening ceremonies, which gave us a preview of the weekend's events. Shortly after that was a "meet the guests" section, where con attendees and fellow guests had an opportunity to meet and greet each other. I got to meet Jon Rosenberg (Goats) and his fiancée, who were both very friendly and fun to talk to.

Much of the con was, of course, dominated by anime. There were at least three rooms showing anime virtually non-stop the entire weekend, with almost every title imaginable. Alas, there was only one Tenchi Muyo! movie shown, and it was on before we arrived. Still, the selection was impressive. (Hard-core anime fans may be jealous, because there was a copy of the forthcoming Cowboy Bebop movie shown during the CB party on Saturday night.)

Of course, Plan Nine was present, with its booth nestled snuggly in one of two vendor rooms. I spent a good portion of my time there, so fans would be able to find me. I got to meet quite a few Faulties this trip, and many of them I was able to have long, detailed discussions with. (If you know someone who was there, don't harass them too much... I didn't give away too many secrets. ;)

Saturday morning started off with the Business of Online Comics panel, featuring David Allen of Plan Nine, myself representing Keenspot, and Jon Rosenberg giving and "indee" point of view. The discussion was lively and very detailed, and it was exciting fielding insightful questions about how to actually make money from comics on the Internet. The favorite target of the day was a recent Chicago Tribune article, which basically stated that no one can make money off online comics, and the stars of the piece were Stan Lee and his failed Internet company, and Scott McCloud's micropayment ideas. The comments exchanged about this were far from kind. ("So, they didn't even bother talking to people who are actually making a living doing this, did they?")

As the day wore on, it eventually came time for the Online Comics panel, which was much larger and livelier than I expected. There were actually eight online cartoonists present, ranging from Keenspacers to Spotters to independents, all with varying sized readerships. Included were "Scrubbo" of SillyConV, Meredith Gran of Not Gonna Take It, Matt Milligan of Lost & Found Investigations, Jon Rosenberg of Goats, Josh Phillips of Avalon, Nicholas Yu of Bad Boys of Computer Science, Alexis Fajardo of Plato's Republic, and myself. There were plenty of interesting, thought-provoking questions, as well as some down-right silly ones, and the panelists broke into several impromptu sketching sessions. (One rather bizarre zombie-themed page can be found in the slide show.)

After the panel, the con staff treated us and the other guests to an excellent dinner at a local restaurant called the "Homles and Watson" (named after two of my favorite fictional characters). To anyone who plans to visit the Troy/Albany area, it comes highly recommended from this cartoonist. I had an excellent hamburger, which was basically ground steak on a hard kaiser roll, with some of the best waffle fries I've ever had. (I'm not a big french fry fan, that ought to tell you something.) It was a bit noisy with around thirty of us crammed into a small upstairs room, but it was filled with plenty of lively discussion, ranging from online comics to the roles of the female characters in Lord of the Rings.

Sunday was much more brief (as we had to leave early to catch our flight home), but still filled with lots of fun. I spent most of the time at the Plan Nine booth as the final rush to buy things hit. Our friend Pete Abrams (Sluggy Freelance) drove from New Jersey to drop in as a regular con attendee, bringing with him his wife Rachel and his irresistibly cute daughter Leah. (At first, I wondered if it was safe (for the world, that is) for online cartoonists to breed, but that kid's so gosh-darn cute, you just won't want to care.) I got to spend more time talking with fans about everything GPF, from character analysis to plot details to the curious origins of Trudy's real name.

The absolute worst part of Genericon was having to leave. Several staffers said that they hoped to make Genericon the place to come see online cartoonists, and they do treat their guests very well. I definitely recommend this con for its small, intimate nature. And for the tons and tons of anime, of course. ;)

Thanks for having us there, guys!

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