Inaugural Post: Review of Cincinnati Comic Expo by Tim Fuller

In 1972, I sat on a bus for 14 hours to attend my first comic convention in New York City. It was a hugely influential event that shaped my choices for many years and fired my desire to write and draw my own comics. The changes since that first convention, both to the comics industry and to culture in general, have been staggering.

I approached the Cincinnati convention with much the same excitement. For the first time I would be sitting behind a dealer’s table, selling “Twelve-Way with Cheese” and “The Blue Beagle.” Daryll Collins and I arrived at the designated 7 a.m. set-up, arranged our table, and sat, surrounded by empty tables in a nearly empty hall. It was not until the half-hour before the doors were opened to the public that the hall came alive with comic dealers rushing to get their books in place before the crowds poured in. First lesson learned: Don’t get there so early; sleep in.

The Zombie Marge Comic Group table drew much interest. People approached with a mixture of uncertainty and apprehension. There was genuine confusion in their eyes when we offered them a free Saint Larriby Holy Card with the ComiXpress ordering information on the back. It was only when they “got” the joke that they warmed up to our pitch. Saint Larriby was a great conversation starter. Even if they walked away without a copy of  “Twelve-Way,” the holy card would remind them of the ordering website once they realized the error of  their ways. Second lesson learned: Always have a freebie for people to take away.

Daryll and I were kept busy most of the day, doing sketches, signing books and joking with the most interesting cross-section of humanity I have ever witnessed. We spoke at length to a heavily tattooed vampire girl wearing a vinyl Batgirl mask. (At least I assume she was a vampire. She had her very own ceramic fangs.) As soon as she found out that “Twelve-Way” featured zombies, she browbeat her boyfriend into buying her one. Third lesson learned: Zombies are good.

It was fun to see the kid’s eyes light up when they saw my Cap’n Catnip portfolio with work in progress. But it was disappointing to have to tell the parents that my stories were not really aimed at children. Note to self: Do an all-ages comic, for crying out loud! Have something for the kiddies.

Daryll and I wore our brand spankin’ new Zombie Marge shirt, courtesy of Mike Dougherty, and quickly realized that we could have easily sold quite a few of them. Note to self: Next time, have some shirts.

I wish I could include a report on the convention activities, but we didn’t get to attend any of them. The convention was very well organized, seemed to run smoothly and on time, was very well attended and well worth our time. I was grateful to have Daryll sitting at the table with me. It made the time fly and made the work that much more fun. At the end of the day, we were satisfied with our sales. I was personally happy to find that “The Blue Beagle” book sold just as well as “Twelve-Way.” Without a doubt, I will sign up to do this again, as they plan to make the Cincinnati Con an annual event. This was the first of hopefully many more Zombie Marge con appearances.

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