The webcomics blog about webcomics

I Think I Just Saw A Tumbleweed

With no Axe Cop on TV-type announcements today, all is quiet in advance of what strikes me as a fairly unprecedented situation: there are three separate, established, legitimate conventions happening this weekend, at opposite corners of the continent: Calgary Comics and Entertainment Expo, MoCCA Festival, and Stumptown Comics Fest

While the overlap between Calgary¹ and the other two² is theoretically small, there’s a significant draw to the great northern prairies of webcomics talent, many of whom were seen in Manhattan or Portland in other years. There was talk when the Stumptown/MoCCA date conflict was discovered about which way the small creators would go³, but I don’t think the Canadian Factor was recognized at the time. I doubt any one of the shows will be damaged, but it’ll be interesting to see if any of the creators continue to opt away from one or more of the contenders in the future even if they occur at different times.

Meanwhile, if you’re heading to Calgary (or the following weekend to Toronto for TCAF) to see the TopatoCo Vendatorium, please be aware:

A note to TCAF/CALGARY friends, due to Problems we won’t be bringing SHIRTS to either show. We will however have Special Coupon Codes.

Very diplomatically put, but if I had to guess, I’d say that Problems is code for Customs screwed us.

Having traveled to other countries for work on occasion, I can tell you there’s a special stab of fear that hits when you realize that the customs/immigration/whatever official in front of you has that gleam in the eye that subtly communicates one thought at you: I don’t care whatever national policy and/or international treaties might say … in this lane, I am the merciless god of your existence, and I am feeling smitey today. No matter how often you may have sailed through border bureaucracy in the past, today is going to be different, and there’s nothing you can do but smile and nod and say thank you to the person who is casually ruining your day4.

Regardless of the reason (and I am going merely on supposition here), it appears that Commerce and Trade will still take place, and you will be able to get your wares, be they present physically or not. And hey — not having to unpack all that stock and pack up the remainder at the end of the show has to be somewhat positive? Yeah, okay, I’m sure the TopatoCo folks would rather have the actual shirts, but lemons and lemonade. If you see them at either show, give them all my best.

¹ Calgary is taking the “and Entertainment” aspect seriously, what with booking all manner of TV and movie personages, including all the regular cast members of Star Trek: The Next Generation for Cochrane’s sake.

² Both MoCCA and Stumptown focus on smaller, creator-owned/indy-type comics.

³ Reminiscent of the great East Side/West Side webcomics battles of the early Naughts.

4 To the many Canadian border personnel I have interacted with in the past: all but one of you have been wonderful. The other one? I prefer to think she was having a bad breakup that day. In any event, the Big Scary Event I had at Customs was in February 1991 on my return from Canada, and I’ve done work gigs for Customs Canada, so we’re cool.

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