Comic In Progress: Codename KYUSS

KYUSS: canceled cons

I'm going to be honest. I was optimistic about tabling at conventions this year. I had believed the coronavirus would run its course and we could return to business as usual. Con organizers shared this belief, though maybe for different reasons than myself.

I wasn't completely ignorant of the reality of things. With as many people as there are at a con, I kept my eye on the COVID case numbers and was constantly reaccessing the viability of tabling safely. In the last couple months, I've been leaning more and more towards withdrawing my table applications or canceling the table reservations I'd already made.

Then, the other day, I received an email from one of the cons I'd applied for, notifying me that said con was canceled. And that was the nail in the coffin. It won't be the last cancellation email I receive, but whether or not they come, I will not be attending any comic cons this year. I have to think about my wife and both our families.

The true bummer of this situation is that I went into 2020 thinking this would be the year I really made a name for myself.

Last con season, my work drew a lot of attention thanks to one of my comic shorts being a finalist in the contest earlier that year. I actually had other writers and artists coming to my table asking for a physical copy of the story. That was one of the greatest feelings of my life. And proved to me that there were people who wanted to read my stories. Knowing this and knowing that I needed more product (I believe that your table always be changing and growing), I got to work.

Coming into 2020, I had a few scripts done, but elected to only pursue having one illustrated since that's all I could afford. But I also had another comic that had been completed after my last con, making two new books to showcase. With the reputation I had garnered the previous year, I could more confidently overcome my imposter syndrome and connect with more established industry figures. I could say, "I'm Brennan Knight, writer of ..." without feeling like a fraud. I could potentially become a name they remember and recognize in the future.

Then COVID happened. Cons were canceled, and still are. I was unemployed for a little bit, so my project budget got cut. I've worked on my online presence some, but that doesn't give me the gratification face-to-face encounters do. And that's coming from an introvert.

I know that many of my contemporaries had been looking forward to 2020 as their breakout year. If not their breakout year, then the beginning of their career's momentum. I have no doubt that if some of these very creative people had been able to table at cons and showcase their abilities, their names would have ended up in the Rolodex of at least one editor or established creator.

There are still opportunities to be had in the COVID era. They'll be explored in a future post. I wrote this post to express my expectations for my career as a comic book writer and the disappointment of not being able to meet them. But I'm not deterred. I still working on projects and staying in touch with those I consider my contemporaries.

Because I believe next year, things will be back to normal (or normal-ish). Convention season will come and I'll be applying for tables. And I'll have more books ready to sell and the confidence to get them in the hands of editors.

The word of the year is optimism.

#kyuss #makingcomics #comics #comicinprogress

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