Spent the weekend at the first ever Vancouver Comic Arts Festival. It was a great show! Shannon the show organizer and her team of noble volunteers did a great job of making everything run smoothly, and making all the attendees feel loved and pampered. It is creates such a different atmosphere being at a show where you feel like they appreciate you being there, rather than just being another person who paid for a table.
Speaking of tables, here I am setting up mine. Manien and I were a little on the late side, and there were already customers wandering through as we stocked the table.
All this space felt quite decadent after the tighter quarters at TCAF. Quite a few people admired the colourful table cover. It came from Manien’s Cabinet of Fabric.
Pictured here Battle Kittens’ Rebecca Dart talking to the Silly Kingdom team, with Much the Miller’s Son’s Steve LeCouilliard behind them and Savage Chicken’s Doug Savage in the distance. The 4geeksmedia crew in the foreground recording.
Having the show at the Roundhouse in Yaletown was fantastic. The room was beautiful bright and airy with a high ceiling and thick wooden beams. It also managed to stay cool even though the day was quite sunny and warm outside. I never had to compromise my suit by taking off the jacket.
There was steady traffic all day Saturday, and a different mix of people than you get at a lot of shows. Non-comic people as well as comic people. Since it was free to get in, people could come and have a look around with no pressure. I talked to a lot of different non-comic people who were just interested and curious. The Roundhouse is a community centre, and so you would also get folks wandering in after their yoga class or whatever. There was also nice mix of exhibitors, with quite a number up from Portland and even further afield.
By the end of the first day every exhibitor I talked to was loving the show. It had a great upbeat vibe and I think most people enjoyed good sales. The organizers decided to keep the doors open until 6:00 (rather than the scheduled 5), but Manien and I were about to pass out with hunger so we closed shop at 5:00.
We zipped over to Subeez to eat. Manien and I used to go there to write True Loves, back when we lived in the West End. Over dinner we realized that was ten years ago! Subeez has whittled their menu down to quite a spare selection since we used to go there. The VanCAF event for the evening was a pub crawl in Yaletown, but the Vancouver Comic Jam also coincided with the show, so we headed to the Wallflower on Main Street, as it seemed like that would be a more relaxing bet for the evening. Manien had never been to the jam or the Wallflower either, so she wanted to see what I was always going on about.
There was still sunlight outside as jam started. How novel! The Wallflower had blocked off quite a few tables for us, so the place was a little empty for the first while. In addition to the pub crawl there was also an art show opening at Lucky’s further up Main, so many locals were dropping by there first.
In no time at all the place filled up though, and soon the jam had taken over the whole restaurant. It was quite amazing, and the injection of new faces and visitors from out of town really added extra energy to the proceedings. You can see the pages from the jam here.
Manien and I closed the place down, then poured ourselves into a cab home. That was a full day of comics for Manien, so she stayed home on Sunday to do some gardening and pull up a rose bush. I dragged my hazy butt back to Yaletown for day two. Sunday’s traffic started off a little slower, but that worked fine for me and my hangover.
Things did pick up though. This kid had the most awesomely mis-matched socks. He was really fascinated by my Bird Comics, and his dad was kind enough to buy it for him. (I would have given it for free though, really)
I had an unexpected run on True Loves through the afternoon and ended up with quite the depleted stack by the end of the day. When I tallied up my earnings from the day I was surprised to see that I did considerably better than I did at TCAF – and I had been happy with the results there! So the show was quite the success, for me and for anyone else I talked to. It was smiles all around and a big cheer for Shannon as things came to a close. I hope this will lead to many more VanCAFs in the future.