Our Best Jackett
Our Best Jackett
Newsletter #161: A Best Jackett New York Comic Con!

Newsletter #161: A Best Jackett New York Comic Con!

A reminder/primer on healthy convention practices as a fan and budding creator!

Hey, guys, it's Scott.

It is Tuesday, October 10th. Forgive the plunking sounds. I'm standing under a big tree to escape some children in the house and it is full of acorns falling from a great height. So if you hear me get clocked by an acorn, just bonus content, I guess, right?

First things first, make sure to buy and read By a Thread #1 on Comixology! This is the book I created with my son Jack and artist Valeria Favoccia. It’s got gorgeous colors by Whitney Cogar and Best Jackett mainstays on the production side—Tom Napolitano on letters, Emma Price on design, and Will Dennis and Ty on editing. This is a really special series for me. I love what we accomplished here, and I hope you do too!

Also, for those asking about the Tom King chat, we haven’t forgotten about it! Planning for New York Comic Con has thrown our availability out the window this last week, so we decided that moving the conversation to the other side of the convention would be for the best. I promise the wait’ll be worth it!

But speaking of, New York Comic Con is upon us. I'm really excited! This will be my… I can't even… I lost count of how many New York's I've been to because I used to go as a fan before I ever broke in. But New York Comic Con, it's a great time. I hope you're coming. My schedule is posted. I have a signing and a panel with somebody who hasn't been announced yet, but should be a lot of fun. I hope you'll check it out:

But above all, come say hi. I'd love to see you. If you're a paid Best Jackett subscriber, just remember the beginning of every signing, except the celebrity one that I was just mentioning, we'll have like, a 10-15 minute window where you guys can come up first.

Get in on the NYCC FastPass line at my Comic Sketch Art signings by subscribing below at any paid tier!

If you're a Black Jackett subscriber, we're all set for our dinner. I can't wait to see all 30+ of you. We're gonna have special guests and giveaways and all kinds of fun stuff, so come by!

I got two questions today for Two Question Tuesday and both were about conventions. I mean, I had a lot of questions, but the two that Ty gave me were both about conventions. So I figured instead of talking about them specifically, I thought I'd just do a bit of a reminder and a primer on cons in general, but on New York in particular, both for fans and for creators:

So for fans, first and foremost, go have fun. This is a safe space. It's an inclusive space. It's all about you celebrating whatever geeky thing you love. Fly your nerd flag high and enjoy yourself. Go with a good, open-hearted spirit. Go there to support and celebrate everybody else. I love Comic Cons. When I was a kid, they weren't really like this. I mean, it wasn't as robust. It wasn't as diverse. There wasn't the same whole menagerie of different things outside of just comics in the whole geek sphere being celebrated and spotlit at conventions. Now it's this whole ecosystem of amazing geek pop culture stuff. So go and celebrate everything you love whether it's your favorite cartoon like Adventure Time from the past or something you love right now, whether it's the new Castlevania series which is awesome and you should totally check out or comics of yesteryear, comics of now, anything. Just go have fun first and foremost.

Second rule, be respectful, the whole multifaceted way of thinking about that. Be respectful of each other. Cosplay is not consent. Always be kind to people around you. It's incredibly crowded at New York Comic Con. It's a very packed space. Just be aware and be generous to everybody.

But when it comes to creators or people that you're there to meet, understand that their first and foremost priority generally, I know for me and my friends, is to be there to say thank you to you guys, to express our own gratitude for letting us do this job that we love. So I go to a con and the thing that I'm looking forward to the most is seeing friends that I haven't seen in a while and getting to say thank you to fans. So for me, and I know this is true of everybody I work with, we like to sit down and sign for you, we're excited to say hello, we're excited to say thank you, we’re excited to take a picture. All of that kind of stuff.

The one thing we would say is just understand that cons for us are often two sides. One side is front-facing and it's very much about the things we just said. The other side is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. Like, for me, I have two summits I'm really nervous about and excited for and been preparing for and all this stuff while I'm at the convention. So when I'm not there saying hi to you and signing, I'm going over this stuff with other creators. I'm thinking about this. I'm prepping. Not to mention other things, like whether I have to meet with a creator I might work with, or meet with somebody I am working with to discuss something upcoming, or meet with an editor.

Creators have a lot of things going on behind the scenes, so try and really just respect the fact that in their designated time to meet you, they are all about it. And if you see them in passing, always feel free to say, “hey, I like your work!” or “hey, just can I get a picture?” But also understand if they can't do it at that time, and just be kind to them in that regard because most of us have a lot of things going on behind the scenes at these conventions that actually wind up being like, 50-80% of the work or the thing that occupies a lot of our time, honestly.

Okay, lastly, about New York itself. Just be prepared, go early, try and make a plan, that's what I'd say for fans. A lot of the time the lines will take a long time. They're not ticketed generally. If you're coming to see me, you just get in line as soon as they open the line. It's usually about an hour or two hours before I'm signing. You'll just go to the place I'm signing, ask whoever's there from either Comic Sketch Art or IDW or whatever place I'm signing at, go ask the people at the booth, “can I line up yet?” But try and go two hours before just to check. Usually it'll be about an hour or so before. But don't wander up at the time of the signing. Please don't. Because what happens is the line is often already capped, especially if I'm signing with Greg or another person who has their own line in general, but now it's sort of intertwined together. So please, please, please make a plan and go early so you don't miss out. That's the one thing I hate seeing is, “I was gonna get online but I didn't make it in time” and then I can't do anything about it. So make a plan.

Here’s a cheat sheet of all the signings I’m doing at my personal booth (H-43)

I understand New York is sort of isolated. That's the only thing I don't like about New York Comic Con. The Javits Center is in the middle of nowhere. It's very far out on the west side and there aren't a lot of places to eat and that kind of thing, so make a plan to sort of spend all day at the con. You can walk away and find a place or two, but they're generally crowded and all of that, so if it's your first New York Comic Con, just make a plan. I would like, eat before, go there knowing you probably get a snack somewhere inside, and you're gonna be there most of the day, okay? Have fun as a fan. Enjoy it. Please come say hi. We always love it. The one tweet I've ever had go viral was from New York Comic Con. It was of somebody cosplaying the actual convention center, which was like, a glorious moment and hilarious and wonderful. So, Ty, if you find it, you can post it here:

Anyway, for creators, because the questions that Ty selected were like, meeting editors. All the rules for fans apply. Same thing. If you're going up to another creator, you're going up to people who understand that it's work. If you're an aspiring creator, cons are a fantastic place to make connections. For me, it's always the same template. Go to people. When it comes to editors and people that you're trying to meet that you want to work with that are above you or are gatekeepers for you and the things you want to do, just go up, know something that they did that you really like, be honest, be sincere, go up and say, “listen, I'm an aspiring creator and I just want you to know I love your work, I love this and this and this that you edited. Do you think you might have time, even if not at the convention then another time, where I could show you some of my stuff?” They will generally say yes, especially if you know who they are and what they do and you feel you're a good fit. That's how you do it.

I wouldn't go up and say “here's my portfolio, can you look at it?” or that kind of thing. Understand that the conventions are doubly busy for editors, so if they have designated times they're doing those reviews, wonderful. If they don't, just go up and you can say “I have my work with me” after you say what I just said to say, basically. But just try and be, again, considerate of the fact that they have a packed schedule. They will respond a lot better for you being generous with them and saying the nice things about their work, and you'd love to show them something of yours sometime when would be best. And you could say “I brought something with me,” however it works. But that's what I would do. I mean, that's just, that's what I did. That's what I would always recommend the same thing, and be honest. Don't go to editors where you don't like their stuff. Like, go to people whose stuff you generally like and be able to speak about it that way, and with specifics.

Also, when it comes to meeting creators, if the creator is somebody that is well established and you're aspiring, again, just be aware of the fact that they're there to work, also to see friends, and they have a lot on their plate. If you want to approach them at a bar, you want to approach them at the con, great. Just you know be aware that they might be running between things and they might drop the ball on emailing you or they might forget. Sorry, this is me apologizing for the times that I've done this in the past, too. But you know what I mean. Try and understand that most of the time they are very happy to meet up-and-coming talent, but that they also have a whole agenda that they’re following there. So it’s not always the best time to meet creators that you don’t know that are ‘above your station’ creatively.

But when it comes to meeting other creators that are at your level, in terms of people that are at the same stage of their career that you are in some way, cons are wonderful for that. That's the whole purpose for me when I was just starting, meeting other creators, artists, writers, everybody that was my generation at that time. It's where I met Jeff Lemire. It's where I met Nick Spencer. It's where I met so many other people, writers that I became close with over the years, like Joshua Williamson (who just dropped the second issue of his awesome Batman and Robin series today, so pick that up!). Again, all these people I now work with. Tom King (the great Danger Street #10 also a must-grab today) I met at a convention before we knew each other. So a lot of it is just you meeting people that are at the same phase as you and making connections that are honest, that have creative integrity, and where you can support each other in that way. So it's a great place for that.

So for fans, all those rules, or those suggestions. Again—have fun, be respectful, and make a plan. For creators, same rules, but also you should go up to people for editors and all of that, just know what they did, be honest, and be respectful with creators above you (and I don't mean to use that phrase like above you, I just mean creators that you don't know that are established if you're just coming up). Just be respectful of the fact that they're going to be running around the convention doing things, but still go up and say hello, tell them what you have read of theirs that you like, feel free to show them your work. And with creators your level, or that are coming up at the same stage in their arc that you are, go nuts. Like, have fun in terms of getting to know them, talking about the work, sharing stuff. Those are the people that you're going to wind up with for a long time if you break into comics.

Con friends old and new (James has shedded a good 140 lbs since this photo)

I mean, I met Jeff Lemire 15 years ago. We've been sort of on parallel paths and friends and supporting each other for that long. Same with Joshua Williamson. Same with a lot of people from Marvel, too, from Jason Aaron and other people like that that came in a little before me or whatever. Those friendships and those things last a long, long time. So anyway, come to New York. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. Come see me. All right, talk to you guys soon!


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