MSP Comic-con! It’s better than they want you to believe!

“The future ain’t looking for friends, the future calls the tune and we dance to it.”

The MSP Spring Comic con (May 14th-15th) is almost here. It’s run by the MCBA…so if you are looking for the MCBA comic con this year…they’re calling it the MSP.  I dunno, they told me why the name change but I don’t remember, something about making sure the people know it’s locally run (shrug). It is a show FILLED with talent , activities, and one of a kind stuff, just look at their website…wait, no…no…don’t do that.

Sigh.  I’m torn here.  My rep and the people running this show have come to acceptable terms to have me return, despite my personal beef from last year with one of them, so it would be disingenuous to come on this blog and blast them before I set foot in the show.  On the other hand, isn’t seeing how it’s promoted part of the second chance I’m evaluating?

(I’m not going to recap the whole sordid tale, look through the old blogs if you want. )

Okay, let’s all keep in mind, I bitch because I care.  This has always been an important convention to the area and the entire industry, and it should continue to be one, and I’m seeing things that are counter productive to that. AND IF I DON’T BITCH WHEN SOMETHING IS STUCK IN MY CRAW, IT’S LIKE HAVING A HOT TACK IN MY EYE.

We’ll also keep in mind, I have a personal connection to this show, having been part of it since I was a wee lad who was part of a crime anthology.  People who are part of that show are by and large volunteers and the management is new, there are always growing pains and so some measure of consideration should be given to th…GAH! THE TACT…IT BURNS I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW!!!

Right now is when I would expect to see all the operators and volunteers posting about it and even having a uniformed FB profile picture, like many shows now do saying “come see me at blah blah con. on blah blah blah”  with some background picture of the cons logo.  You know the ones I’m talking about.

I didn’t notice that, and this show has always, not just the new guys, had one foot in the past as far as promoting online( they still send out post cards…I’m not making that up…they spend time money and effort sending out POSTCARDS…THROUGH THE U.S MAIL…to be thrown out along with the missing child cards, ads from the cable company and dental appointment reminders).  This show has been around almost thirty years,  sometimes it’s hard to properly implement new tools as you go along.  It is. It’s why I still glue word balloons to the pages, but eventually you have to get with the program or be passed up by others who already are.  So, I went to the site to see what form their online presence has taken…are you ready?

Here’s the website.

One word comes to mine…”oy”.

This is a convention so stocked with professional talent from all ends of the spectrum, and things to do, that this should be a website bursting at the seems with reasons you need to go…it SHOULD be that.  Instead, here’s the homepage…


 Does that look fun to you?  If I didn’t know better, I’d think I went to the wrong site, because at first glance it looks like the website for a real estate agency or the knights of Columbus.  Could it be any more dry?  Is it just me?  I realize that pretty much everybody uses the same wordpress type template these days but that’s a font for a dentists office not a comic book convention, much less one as jam packed with fun as this one normally is.  They DID highlight that admission is only 14.00 so that’s good.  Their competition charges I think 30.00 a day or something, so highlighting a difference like that is very good.  There…see…I pointed out something good.

AND…(listen up all the rest of you con promoters) THEY POSTED THE HOURS.  It wasn’t hard, all they had to do was type them.  WHY IS IT AN EASTER EGG HUNT FINDNG THE SHOW HOURS ON EVERY  OTHER CONVENTION WEBSITE?!  That gripe is NOT just me.  Every pro has the same beef.  We all bitch about that.  POST THE F’N HOURS SO WE KNOW WHEN WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE THERE.

Anyways, fine…colors and fonts could just be my own opinion, but take a good look at the FIRST images they choose to present for this convention…


Who the fu?  what in the holy…?  THOSE ARE THE PICS THEY CHOOSE?

mp3…conspicuous by absence are any KIDS.

mp2I guess there ain’t much you can do for a pic of game demos…except maybe pull the camera back so you see MORE THAN ONE TABLE…maybe…SO IT DON’T LOOK LIKE A SHOW IN THE BASEMENT OF A BOWLING ALLEY.  I swear they had to put effort into taking pics at that show that didn’t include a crowd.

mpanfeaturing two men, and a couch I saw on the highway. 

Come on guys…it’s 2016, your website is your sword and your shield.  It is the representation to the public of what you have to offer. The reason those pics are such a sin is they don’t in any way represent what goes on at that show.  The panels and game rooms are often FILLED with eager participants, having fun and getting insight from pros. I know, I walk by on my way to the men’s room and think “what are all those a-holes doing over there instead of looking at my book?”

Perhaps it’s a good thing they didn’t make some uniformed facebook Profile Picture, it might have looked like this


The biggest travesty is the pic of the art auction…


I sh*t you not. this is the pic they choose.  If you squint real hard, you can see that some of the pages have…something…on them.  There is a slightly better pic much further down the page and when you click on it…you get to see….a page of text.  SMH. Let me tell you about that art auction, it is one of the BEST in the entire nation.  They  have 50-100 household name level of comic professionals who donate top notch work.  Just sitting through the auction is a cool because of all the one of a kind items you get to see.

And apart from that, this show has a costume contest, a big ass carnival section that looks like Arkham Asylum, grab bags filled with stuff you’d actually want, and door prizes that even I actually want to win (I’m not sure I’m eligible so if you hear Smokey Yunick announced as a winner you’ll get to see me come up for my prize in a thinly veiled disguise).  You have to scroll way down on their site to find out about any of that stuff though. If I didn’t know better I’d think they were TRYING to hide how much there is to see and do at this show for tax purposes or something.

When I was bitching last year it was because I felt the show was going in the wrong direction, as in going from 10 out of 10 to 8 out of ten…this website looks like a con for a show that’s 2 out of ten.  THAT’S the problem.  I can’t stress that enough. If this was some run of the mill amateur local show, run by well-meaning oafs, I wouldn’t be bitching.  Those type shows are muddling along and serving a purpose with not much budget or much to show off.  THIS ISN’T ONE OF THOSE TYPE SHOWS.  This show fills a the largest building in the Minnesota state fairgrounds with national talent and fans…WHYYYYYYYY doesn’t their website convey that?!

It’s like…I wanna drive to St.Paul and kick over the folding table full of postcards they are putting stamps on and yell ” THE …INTERNET!… Stop that! ( yanking a stamp out of a volunteers mouth) YOU ARE SENDING OUT POSTCARDS, THAT SEND PEOPLE TO A WEBSITE THAT YOU PUT LESS TIME INTO THAN THE POSTCARDS!”  Then open a road atlas and point at the State of Minnesota and explain ” you are ALREADY getting everyone from HERE” then opening to a map of the U.S. and yelling ” THERE IS NO REASON YOU CAN’T START GETTING EVERYONE FROM HERE! Denver did it.  No reason other than you website uses the same format as the Department of Motor Vehicles”

You have an all volunteer staff and two men in charge busting their but to make this a great show, WHY DOESN’T THE WEBSITE CONVEY THAT TO THE WORLD?   Come on now, I doesn’t have to be some multi-media three ring circus…just find pictures that look fun, find a font that doesn’t look like my attorney’s business card, picK some different colors than the local funeral homes website. FUN. Get it?  There’s nothing fun about Navy blue or new Times Roman…or empty folding chairs, or a couch even I wouldn’t own.  Are you following me? Am I making sense here?

Here’s another ridiculous move, and MCBA is NOT the only con who makes this mistake, in fact many, MANY cons make this error. Look at the guest list pic.


Almost EVERY convention does they same bonehead thing.  They  post a pic of the PERSON, who draws the comics.  Unless you are really into comics, that person’s name and picture doesn’t mean JACK SQUAT.   I work in the industry and I don’t know who half these people are/do by name and photo. POST A PIC OF THE COMIC BOOK THEY ARE KNOWN FOR.  It’s not rocket science…if you have a guy who draws Superman, post a pic he drew of SUPERMAN.

If you were just a moderate fan of comics would the picture in the “pros” section of Joseph Linsner of Douglas Mahnke get you to a show?  OR  would a pic of CRY FOR DAWN and THE JUSTICE LEAGUE, cluing you in that the illustrators of those books will be there get you to the show?  You will see there a pic of Sarah Richard…if you are a fan of super hero comics, you might not know who she is, she does among other things, cover art for my Pretty Pony…IF THEY PUT UP A PICTURE OF AN ILLUSTRATION SHE DID OF MY PRETTY PONY, you would see that and perhaps think ” hey, my kid/niece/girlfriend/weird buddy would love to meet her, I’ll bring him/her/it along.”  Just posting a picture of HER…isn’t going to get that same reaction.

Now, if you click on the “guest list” there is a long page of side by side shots of the pros and their work, which is great, but that is a click away…it’s the internet…in 2016…and every extra click is like pulling teeth.  START WITH YOUR BEST STUFF.  YOUR HOMEPAGE HAS TO GRAB PEOPLE BY THE COLLAR.

When you are promoting a convention, trying to get casual fans, put yourself in the place of someone who is only a casual fan.  If you get THEM, then you are assured to get the hardcore fans as well. BUT if you are only appealing to the hardcore fans, then you can kiss goodby any chances of getting the casual fans.  Why do I have to keep explaining this?  WHY?!  I know I’m pretty, but my picture ain’t going to get as many fans to come in as a picture of my work in Mad Magazine, or a cover of Arsenic Lullaby.

Deep sigh.

Okay…I’ll do it myself.

HERE, are just SOME of the MANY talented pros you’ll get to see when you go to the mcba comic con.

Sara Richard is an illustrator from New Hampshire. She illustrated the 2013 Eisner Award Nominated book, “Kitty & Dino” (published through Yen Press) and has recently been working on covers for IDW’s My Little Pony and Power Puff Girl Comics.  She also illustrated a story in issue #5 of IDW’s “Womanthology” and the short story “Shuffle” for Zombie Bomb.

tmnt__22_cover_by_johnraygun-d63w5v3Rich Woodall

Best known for his current Creator Owned book at Dark Horse Comics : Kyrra Alien Jungle Girl. Also known for other creator owned works such as Johnny Raygun, Zombie Bomb!, and the Live and Times of the Supertopian.


10422248_672354296206901_800802768559511840_nJenevieve Broomall

Broomall is a popular Cover Illustrator. She has published Covers with clientele ranging from IDW, Tales Told LLC Lady Death Series, Aspen/Big Dog Ink, Zenescope, Bluerainbow Online, Devil’s Due Publishing, and more Independent companies.

Brent Peeples

Brent is a Texas native. He started his Professional career in 2009 drawing Grimm Fairy Tales, a flagship book for Zenscope.  Since then Brent has worked on books for Image, Aspen, Dark Horse , Discovery Channel, and has become a mainstay cover artist for Valiant Entertainment.

Kristina Deak Linsner

Kristina Deak-Linsner has brought her years of fine art experience in the west coast gallery scene, over to the house that Dawn and JML built at After beginning her comics career at Dynamic Forces in the late 90’s, she now uses her keen eye to help guide Linsner projects to perfection! Titles: Editor on 2013 One-shot Sin Boldly, as well as Linsner’s annual Dawn sketchbooks. (2011 to present). The current Dawn & Vampirella crossover


J.K. Woodward

IDW noticed his work on Crazy Mary and offered him a gig doing a CSI:NY limited series BOOM! Studios’ Zombie Tales series. Fallen Angel at IDW, Marvelchose him to illustrate X-men Origins:The Beast  Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover, Assimilation2, Harlan Ellison’s City on the Edge of Forever and creator owned series, Behemoth.


Joseph Michael Linsner

Joseph Michael Linsner is most well-known for DAWN, his personal Pin-Up Goddess. After her debut appearance on the cover of CRY FOR DAWN #1 in 1989, Dawn struck a chord with thousands of fans on an international level. She is currently published in six languages and has come to life in the form of statues, action figures, t-shirts, lithographs, lunch boxes and trading cards.An award winning Illustrator, Linsner has painted covers for all of the major comics characters, including Wolverine, Justice League, Conan, and Vampirella.

Last but not least…

TDOFpostcard front

Douglas Paszkiewicz. 

 As soon as  his independently published comic Arsenic Lullaby appeared on the shelves it garnered a Harvey award, then an Eisner award, then was translated and published in Europe where it was nominated for a Comicdom award.  His work appeared in Mad magazine for 6 years and then he was tapped to write shorts for comedy centrals TripTank. Recently he has done cover work for Valiant titles such as Archer and Armstrong, Ninjak, Faith, and X-O manowar.

He will be giving a discussion panel on Saturday “secrets and techniques of comic book storytelling” where up and comers and casual readers can learn how illustrators lead and manipulate the readers eye, and mind in order to capture their imagination.

Yeah, I took some liberties and gave way more space to my own BIO…It’s my blog.  I can do what I want.

Anyways, See you in St.Paul!

Feel free to use either of these as your profile pic on social media, you know as promotion and a show of solidarity and community.  (Just right click on it and download image )I tell ya, when I am the one making sure there is a sense of community to something the world is off it’s axis.





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