Category Archives: Conventions

Cosplay as Athena Voltaire and win stuff!

ATHENA VOLTAIRE   compendium_cover_small In the knuckle-dusting style of classic pulp adventure comes Athena Voltaire, the beautiful globetrotting aviatrix who takes on Nazis, secret societies, zombies, and unspeakable occult creatures!

I’ll be at C2E2 later this month (Artist Alley, M15).

In honor of the release of the Athena Voltaire Compendium from Sequential Pulp & Dark Horse Comics, I’m giving a free sketch to the first Athena Voltaire Cosplayer that visits me at my table. If that’s you, I’ll draw whatever character you want.

In the event that there’s more than one AV Cosplayer, the first one will get the sketch and any subsequent AV Cosplayers will receive a print.

Cosplay and Conventions

Over the past few years, there’s been an ongoing discussion about the increased focus on cosplay at comic conventions. I understand how this kind of sea change can be confusing, frightening, or even anger-inducing to someone who came into comics (professionally or in fandom) in an era before cosplay was prevalent.

To a fan or pro whose earliest exposure to comics was limited to the stories and art on paper—before comic book films, television shows, cartoons or cosplay existed—this has got to look crazy. And it probably looks wrong, too.

I’m sure there’s an unspoken sentiment of “You’re missing the whole point about what’s great here!” in every rant that surfaces. I get that. In some ways, it reminds me of a once-relevant writer-artist who still rails about how badly the comic industry screwed up by creating the direct market and how everyone should have listened to him thirty years ago.

Times change. You can’t stop it.

Cosplay, the loss of newsstand comics, the death of commercial radio, MTV no longer airing videos, Cartoon Network renaming their brand “CN” and supplanting cartoons with live-action programming…times change. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and sometimes it just IS.

But the people who complain about the change fail to realize that they’ve probably also embraced changes similar to what they’re griping about. The comic creator who constantly reminds everyone how he saw the problems with the direct market? He proudly says he no longer watches traditional TV as it airs and only checks out TV on DVD.

Times change. You can’t stop it. So why not take a look and try to see what’s appealing about cosplay. Look at the excitement that the cosplayers demonstrate for a character or the medium that you love. Underneath it all, you probably have something in common with them. They react to a well-crafted Carol Danvers costume in the exact same way that you react to finding an Alex Toth page in a stack of original art.

You’re both nerds—we all are. There’s no higher ground here.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather find a way to enjoy myself in a changing world instead of complaining about how things used to be so much better five, ten, or twenty years ago.

Convention Networking for the Socially Awkward Professional

Since I’m leaving for San Diego Comic-Con very soon, it occurred to me to address something that I experience every time I go to a convention: social anxiety.

I’m fine when I’m sitting at my table and interacting with people coming up and chatting. In fact, I love it. Small talk, comics talk, movie and TV talk, sports talk…I’ll talk your ear off. But take me away from that comfort zone, and I clam up.

I suck at networking.

That’s it; the bottom line. If I have to seek someone out,  I invariably worry about if they’ll remember me (if I’ve met them before), if I’m blethering on too long or too much, if they’re looking for an escape route…pretty much just worried that I’m imposing on their time.

So I end up feeling like Paul Schaffer as Artie Fufkin in This Is Spinal Tap.

“Hi. Steve Bryant, Athena Voltaire.” [shakes hand]

[puke]

This even extends to seeing someone I’ve met before away from the convention (for instance, I think I’ve run into comic artist Skottie Young about a half-dozen times and just looked away…and there are a bunch more examples, too)—all because I don’t know what to say, or am afraid of imposing on someone’s time, or because I’m afraid of being embarrassed if someone doesn’t remember who I am.

So that’s it; my deep dark convention secret. I’m going to try and come out of my shell a bit more, and interact more this year…but I say that every year. We’ll see if it happens …

Flashback: Eisner Awards, part 2

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Another shot from the 2005 Eisner Awards; this time, it’s Mike Heffron and me with author Michael Chabon. I had actually started reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay on the flight to San Diego that year. At the time, I regretted not having more to say to Mr. Chabon than “I really enjoy your work,” but, in retrospect, I assume he probably gets a lot of people who want to ask that one memorable question and end up looking like pretentious douchebags instead.

Mike and I didn’t talk to Mr. Chabon for very long (he had to catch a flight to San Francisco right after the awards), but he was very gracious and pleasant.

Flashback: Eisner Awards 2005

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I was clearing some stuff off my desktop, looking for images I haven’t uploaded to this blog yet and came across this photo from the 2005 Eisner Awards.

From left: me, Dark Horse Comics publisher Mike Richardson and Jim (Territory 51) Heffron. Jim had been nominated for the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award and I was nominated for Athena Voltairein the Best Digital Comic catagory. Neither of us won, but it was a blast, capped off by meeting the guy who publishes the best comics today.

Some San Diego Pics

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I split my time between the Ape Entertainment booth and a in the small press area with my pal Jim Heffron of Lawdog Studios. Molly McBride, whose work as editor on Athena Voltaire, was there, as well.

The top photo is me with hometown pal Tim Bradstreet outside the Hyatt.

Next is the Ape Entertainment booth. From left: Ray-Anthony Height (Cereal and Pajamas), Kevin Freeman (Ape editor-in-chief, Subculture), me and Rob Guillory (Teddy Scares)

Molly and me at the Lawdog booth.