Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Alternative Press Expo: Cartoonist Manages a Perceived Slight

Oh yeah, I exhibited at the Alternative Press Expo last weekend. I should've written about it here beforehand so that you would have known to come and see me. I'm a real promotional genius, aren't I? There was a time when I would have mounted loudspeakers on my car, sent out postcards, rented a monkey, and hired a band, but I don't have that twenty-something energy anymore. Now I promote mostly through telepathy. No wonder I had a table way back in the last row of the hall facing a bunch of garbage cans and the rest rooms.

Now, this is an important aspect of my blog, especially for you aspiring artists, and one I will be illuminating here often: managing professional slights (real or imagined), and handling the ego deflation of seeing one of your contemporaries get more praise, attention, or fame than you in a given situation. In this case, upon entering the Alternative Press Expo, the very first booth one encountered after registering was Keith Knight's "K Chronicles," the booth of another weekly cartoonist--my competition--a rival for the same chunk of turf. I love Keef, (that's what he likes to be called) and I have no problem with him getting the prime location--except for the fact that the attendees would have to pass 125,000 other booths between his and mine before finding Troubletown at the extreme rear of the hall. This creates the impression to the ordinary Expo-goer that Keith Knight is a superstar and that Lloyd Dangle is a inky-fingered, self-stapling, low-talent, never-been-published, toner-sucking loser! The perceived slight sent a bolt of jealous-envy-rage rocketing through my spinal column. It could not stand! Everything in my experience as an artist told me that I must go up to the registration desk and throw a hysterical prima donna fit, frightening the guests and exhibitors with histrionics and shrill profanity, screaming the list of my accomplishments while denouncing the artists around me with vicious cruelty. Many would have handled it that way.

Or, on the other hand, maybe I could pretend--as a celebrity of such considerable magnitude--that I hadn't even noticed the poor placement. The ways of these comics shows were so foreign to me and beneath my radar that I couldn't be expected to consider such petty details. This being the case, there would be nothing for me to do but to transcend the whole matter. This approach would've been okay, except every single person who came up to me said, "Why are you all the way back here in the last row by the bathrooms?" Even the guy who wrote this article mentioned it. Next of course the next question was, are you the guy who did the packaging for Airborne?

So, instead of either of these options, I took the completely noble approach of using the situation for a flyer which I spread all over the convention grounds. Always a cartoonist! The organizer came to me to apologize and grovel--all the while cursing me silently beneath his breath--and promising me that next time I'll be right up in front. APE was great anyway, and, thanks to all of you who did find me, I walked out of there with a boatload of cash and still made it home alive. Thanks to all you animators from Pixar who opened your hearts and wallets to me. My son will be gorging himself on seaweed and burritos and jelly beans (his favorites) for the forseeable future thanks to your kind patronage.

SFist: The Alternative Press Expo (APE) Kicks Our Ass And Takes Names


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