I headed out to APE this year to promote A Few Perfect Hours, and also to touch base with San Francisco, which Sari and I had left behind almost six years ago. Last time I attended APE it was still in San Jose. Nowadays, it’s held at the Concourse Center South of Market, in what seems like an old airplane hanger.
While the venue is a huge improvement over the old location, the show seemed a bit … lacking. Whether it was the beautiful weather outside, or the fact that the Giants were playing two home day games that same weekend, the show was pretty dead. I felt bad for my erstwhile publisher indymag cuz it’s hard to imagine he recouped anything close to table & shipping costs. Personally, I sold fewer than ten copies of my book, plus assorted random copies of The Vagabonds and Titans of Finance. And I was probably the top seller, after local boys Graham Annable and the Hickee gang.
It was great talking to readers and pals of pals, etc., as well as reconnecting with folks like Ribs Weissman, Justin Hall, Brett Warnock, and Eli Bishop, but I admit to some disappointment. Thank god Sari and I made a vacation of it and stayed an extra three days around the con to soak in the sights and take in a Giants game!
Also making appearances at the Alternative table were Lauren Weinstein, Graham Annable, Jim Campbell, Joe White, Razmig Mavlian, Joel Orff, Tatiana Gill, Bishakh Som, Andrice Arp, and Joan Reilly. Bishakh’s new Xeric-winning book Angel had a nice little buzz about it, but again, not too much in the way of sales. I didn’t do much walking around as I was helping indymag run the table, but I did get a chance to see Lauren Weinstein’s multimedia slideshow, which is always a hoot. She makes it a full theatrical experience, and y’all should check it out when she performs with Bob Sikoryak’s “Carousel” series. I also said hi to Seth, who was a special guest of the Con, and gave him a copy of Hours, which he seemed pleased to receive. Other highlights were scoring copies of Max Estes’s new book Hello Again from Top Shelf, Justin Hall’s True Travel Tales #4 and his mini Tsunami!, trading with Jason Shiga for a copy of Fleep, ditto with alibi_shop for An Inside Job #1, and getting Bishakh’s pre-Xeric mini, Angel, and Chris Juricich’s Tokyo Days. I also traded with Lauren McCubbin for an issue of Kitchen Sink, and I used the down time at the table to laugh my way through Graham Annable’s Stickleback and the new Hickee anthology.
My impression was that it wasn’t only Alternative that was hurting for business; my informal poll of other creators — and just looking around the convention floor — confirmed the low-density crowds. Top sellers seemed to be cute self-made artists books, cute T-shirts, and cute posters & paraphernalia. Seems that that the savvy Frisco crowds already had their new graphic novels/comics and were looking for unique and funky art objects. Can’t blame them — if you can get your new book at a fine local comic store like Comics Experience or Comic Relief, why wait ’til the con comes to town?