Monday, April 15, 2019

White Rose Comic Con Autopsy

Another quality post brought to you by Steve!
Hey there ghouls and goblins!

I'm a little slow in getting around to recapping last month's inaugural White Rose Comic Con, but I'm glad I waited because now I get to share it with you, the highbrow readers of Across the Board, instead of the scum that frequent my personal blog.

So, for those of you who may not know, the neighboring cities of York and Lancaster here in central Pennsylvania, like their British namesakes, are known as the White Rose and Red Rose Cities respectively. So White Rose Comic Con just means York Comic Con to us locals who are "in the know."

I had the pleasure of meeting the organizers at a few other local conventions, so I was hopeful for a good turnout at this one. Of course, I've been to some piss-poor first year cons before, and there's a reason first year cons have a reputation for being terrible, so I was naturally a bit apprehensive as well. But more on the outcome of that later.

Worst case scenario, I figured even if I didn't sell any books I would get to hang out with some of the local Central PA horror crew. Also attending were Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Kelli Owen, Bob Ford, Chris Enterline, Somer Canon, Mike Lombardo and exactly zero others.

Myself and the Queen of Cosmic Horror, Mary SanGiovanni!



There was one other local author who was there.

So, this might be mildly amusing, or it might be dumb to everyone but me. But, in any case, you're all going to hear about it because I'm the one writing this blogpost. (Or, in the words of the legendary Joe Pilato, RIP, "I'm running this monkey farm now, Frankenstein!")

You saw how long that list of attendees just from our little clique was. So, in advertising our attendance at the con, it was pretty common for us to just list one or two of the other attendees and use the ubiquitous "and more" honorific for the rest.


On a single occasion horror ingénue Wesley Southard made a list of all the Chris Enterline. Which made Enterline very upset (not really.) So I began to refer to leaving a single member of the group out as "being Enterlined." And then proceeded to "Enterline" Wes on every occasion possible. It made for hilarity for those of us who are extremely petty.

Anyway, speaking of Enterline, he was my tablemate for the con, which turned out to be kismet because he is also the cover artist for the re-release of THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO. So, even on the occasions when people were fairly disinterested in our wares, we were able to generate some nominal enthusiasm by saying, "Oh, and Chris did the cover for this one" or "Oh, and Steve wrote a novel I illustrated."

It also just so happens that I was scheduled to appear on Horror Metal Cast the Monday following the convention. The host (and my good friend) Stevie Kopas asked for any promotional art I wanted to provide.

I said, "What are you looking for?"

She said, "Anything. It can be a rat riding a dolphin for all I care."

So, after 72 solid hours of pestering Enterline, this masterpiece was born:

Nature is beautiful.

Friday I rolled up to the York Fairgrounds with Enterline in tow. I ran briefly over to the gas station with Keene to get some change. I got the impression that he invited me along because he knew the weekend was going to be hectic and this might be our only chance to have a few minutes to chat. And right enough he was!

I've done a lot of conventions in Baltimore and lately I've been starting to feel lately like I've tapped out the market. I was worried that going just an hour north I'd be seeing all of the same faces that I've pitched to ten or twenty times before with varying degrees of success. But I guess we were just sufficiently in a different area that folks didn't know me. And best of all: they were buying!

Which is not to be crass. Money's nice, but I know it's not everything. But there is a severe difference between sitting behind a table eight hours a day and playing Pokemon Go and sitting behind a table for eight hours and getting to field questions and meet new potential fans.

White Rose turned out to be the latter!

Which is not to say that I did not see a few familiar faces. Amongst the usual suspects was Steven Hager, better known as Rip the Gravedigger at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Steven had recently purchased Wile E. Young's debut novel, but that was not something Keene or I could simply let stand.

Neither of these middle initials is correct, for those wondering.

If you're starting to get the impression that horror authors are easily amused: you can shut your whorish mouth.

Overall, it was a lovely time.  And that's without even getting into the trip to Olive Garden.  (Spoiler alert: the pastabilities were decidedly not endless.)  There's probably a lot more that happened, but I think I've tested your patience for long enough.  Here's looking forward to WRCC Year Two!

I consider absolution for Somer Canon.  Outcome TBD.

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