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Thu, Feb. 15th, 2007 05:22 pm

Nick here. Last weekend, February 9th-11th, I was in Greensboro, NC. Why, you might ask, would I go to Greensboro? The answer, is simple, WTHCon, a small convention run by the Yachting Club (don’t ask) at Guilford College. The convention hosts a wide variety of independent artists (though most offer some form of webcomic) to attend, sell their wares, and talk to people about what they do and how they do it.

This year, the only difference was the number of guests who had published on Lulu. For example, most of the NCWCC (North Carolina Web Comics Coffee Clatch) was there (pictured from left to right, Phillip Wright of Furmentation, McKenzee of Sinister Bedfellows, Matt Wood of Dada Detective, Jamie Robertson of Clan of the Cats, our own Joe Komenda of Feral Chicken , and Dave Milloway of Dada Detective) was there, all of whom publish through Lulu. Also there was the infamous Jennie Breeden of Devil’s Panties fame attended, and was awesome, as always, but unfortunately is not pictured.

On Saturday, Jason and I ran a panel on Print on Demand Technology, and of course talked a lot about Lulu. I was even able to run a live demo after our maintenance last week, and offered people stickers if they were interested in signing up for the newsletter. After fielding questions, showing off some of the cooler parts of the site, and talking about Print on Demand in general, it was a great time.

I also got to speak with Greg Stolze at the convention. For those of you that aren’t into role-playing games, Greg wrote Unknown Armies, and is working on Reign. He has also written fiction, and has a collection of short stories on Lulu called Scary Face. It was awesome to get to meet him, talk a little about Lulu and see an ashcan of Reign. Definitely one of the highlights of the convention for me.

Next up, I’ll be at South By Southwest Interactive with a bunch of other Lulus, so if you’re headed there, stop by our booth and say hi. I'll leave you with a picture of Ryo-Ohki (a rabbit that turns into a space ship) reading our promo comic!


Thu, Nov. 2nd, 2006 04:08 pm

Covert Operative Report from UberCon by Jared Axelrod - member of 365 Tomorrows, author of Tales from the Uncanny Valley and keen podcaster of The Voice of Free Planet X among countless other projects.

I am no stranger to conventions. I've attended more than I care to count. Heck, I wrote a play about conventions. I am asked to speak at them, usually podcasting—I'm the guy at the end of the table you keeps reminding folks that you don't need a mixing board to do a good podcast—and such was the case here at UberCon. I have, as the saying goes, been around the conventioning block.

So I think it is no small thing when I say that UberCon is unlike any convention I've been to before.

For starters, it's a gaming convention, in the purest sense of that term. People do not attend UberCon to see panels, to meet celebrities, look at and purchase original artwork or to involve themselves in workshops, like other conventions I've been to. No, folks come to UberCon to play games. Lots and lots of games. From the table top role-playing to complex miniature-based strategy to muti-player first-person shooters, all games were represented. There was even systems running Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution set up in the corner. The ballroom of the Secaucus, NJ La Quinta was literal hive of organized play.

Pictured: I, Uberconer. Check out my \A/ guest badge.
I myself got in a quality round of Scrabble with fellow guest JR Blackwell in between our own panel and hearing Mike Stackpole, the guest of honor, speak. JR and I got to spend quite a bit of time with Mr. Stackpole, speaking with him about podcasting, writing, and, naturally, salsa dancing. He taught JR and I a new move that I cannot wait to try out on the dancefloor. Such is the magic of UberCon: come for the games, stay for the dancing.

Pictured: On of the many tasteful Lulu displays I set up at Ubercon.
The Lulu promo comics I handed out were a huge hit, I must say. I placed stacks of them all over the con, and in minutes they were under the arms of almost every on there. Such was the only dark element of Ubercon: a complete lack of reading material. After all, you can't game all the time.

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Thu, Oct. 19th, 2006 04:40 pm

Leah here - Joe and I are back from our third year at the illustrious and fun Small Press Expo, in Maryland. Small Press Expo (or SPX) is a venue steeped in independent and self-publishing comic creators. We had a booth there where we managed to talk to hundreds of people about Lulu, and occasionally eat cookies. I got to high-five Colleen Venable (We Taste Like Presents and also Fluff in Brooklyn a photo-comic) and get a signed copy from Steve Ahlquist of his The Complete Annotated Oz Squad, Vol. 1 - I've always been a big fan of the Oz books and this graphic novel is a must-have.

There were other Lulus there, too. Eric Knisley (The Adventures of Furlington Macklethwaite) flew from the UK to share a table and play pranks on Paul Friedrich (Onion Head Monster). Fred Van Lente (Tranquility) was there promoting one of his other books, Action Philosophers. And we were lucky enough to be right beside Stephanie Freese, Matt Wood and Dave Milloway, creators of The Dada Detective.

Speaking of travelling, I met with Scott McCloud and his lovely and awesome family (Ivy, Sky and Winter) and discussed Lulu's capabilities, and other hip stuff. I'm organizing an upcoming lecture in January/February as part of Scott's Making Comic 50 States Tour, so I wanted to put a face to the email.

Pictured: A Tiny Picture of Joe In Our Booth
Joe and I met tons of cool new people (who may be putting books on Lulu, we hope!) - Kevin McShane who creates Toupydoops, Jim Kohl and Tommy Brennand of Happy Hour Comics were all very excited about the technology we offer self-publishers.

Besides high-fiving current Lulus and recruiting new ones, I'm always trying to connect reviewers of independent content with Lulu as a source for cool new books. We first tried our hand at this when Jason Adams contacted a great comic review podcast, Comicology. The result is Comicology's creator, Neil Gorman's recent review of Lulu and The Wippins Campaign by Kevin Cornell.

Pictured: Leah Pretending To Be Interviewed by the Guys at Comic Critique (because they forgot to take a picture during the actual interview)
Oh! I was waiting to post about this until the interview went up - but I just got email that the MP3 of my interview is available here. Joe and I both got interviewed by the guys at ComicCritique.com. They were very nice, I talked about how great Lulu is, and for once I don't completely sound like an idiot - so check it out!

Anyway, that's about it for the moment. I liked the new venue for SPX, and I hope that next year it's even bigger and better. Our next convention coming up is <a href=GenCon SoCal, which Clinton Nixon will be exhibiting at. I'll let you know the booth number closer to time. In the meantime, I'm going to be planning my Halloween costume. (I'll definitely be posting about the costumes in the office on October 31 - we always have awesome ones). What are you all planning to wear?

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Current Mood: geeky
Current Music: Yeah! Oh, Yeah! - The Magnetic Fields


Sun, Oct. 8th, 2006 06:09 am

Leah again - my six-hour shift at 24 Hour Comic Book Day just ended here at 5:00 a.m. More than half of our participants have finished their 24 pages and were heading home, the remaining three were diligently finishing up. They've been creating comic pages for 18 hours - facing the challenge of creating a 24 page comic in 24 hours. They only have about six more hours for the participants Chapel Hill Comics, North Carolina to finish their 24 pages. As for me, after this post I'm going to bed.

Some of the local papers were covering the event, so I figured I'd link to them: The News & Observer The Daily Tarheel (You have to check out the illustration of comic shop owner Andy Neal to believe it!)

Here's what some of the participants had to say:

"This was really cool and fun. I liked it a lot."
- Isaac Bryant, local student and cartoonist
"24 Hour Comic Book Day totally rocked. This was the first comic I ever wrote, and I wouldn't have done it without a group to participate in."
- Jessica, an art school teacher at Rocky Mount, North Carolina's Nash Central HS (she drove an hour and a half just to attend).

Pictured: Left to Right, Remy and Jessica start out their comics early on Saturday
The word from Annie and Carol is that the video of 24 Hour Comic Book Day will be up later this week on Lulu.tv. The books that the participants are creating right now will be published and up on the site later this week too (I'll be sure to re-post an overview later when I've had some sleep). As I said before, with this event we're combining super-fast comic creation with super-fast comic publishing.

Pictured: Ray Damron, age 8, stops by and contributes a single page comic
Even though this is just the third year for 24 Hour Comic Book Day, there's a lot of participation worldwide. Since artists can participate individually or in groups, it's hard to measure exactly how widespread it is. But with groups going on today in 90 locations, in 17 countries, I'd say that next year is going to be even more tremendous. If you don't get to participate this weekend, comic creators are still encouraged to get their creativity going by trying out this challenge anytime during the year. The results may surprise you.

Well, that's the end of my up-to-the-minute coverage of 24 Hour Comic Book Day. Joe is there now finishing out the final hours with the participants. I'll see you later this week!

Current Mood: sleepy sleepy


Sat, Oct. 7th, 2006 03:37 pm

Leah here. I've just gotten back from my first shift at 24 Hour Comic Book Day, going on here in North Carolina - we've got seven participants dedicated to the challenge. We're already five hours in, and it's going great. 24 Hour Comic Book Day is an international event (started in 2004) where comic artists create a 24 page comic in 24 hours (on their own, or in groups). Lulu is co-sponsoring a local gathering of artists in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with Chapel Hill Comics (which is where the event is happening).

The Comic Creators Get Started on Their 24 Hour - 24 Page Challenge

The comic artists at our location started their comics at 10:30 a.m. today (Saturday) and they're going to work on creating 24 pages before time's up at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow. This 24 page/24 hours challenge originated from Scott McCloud, one of the most inspiring gurus of comic creators. The artists that complete the challenge will receive some free copies of their comic through Lulu - combining super-fast comic creation with super-fast comic publishing.

Henry, 14, starts his third comic page

I'll be going back at midnight tonight to work the first of the overnight shifts (midnight to 5 a.m. for me, 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. for Joe). Charlotte's there now, and Annie clocks in for a late afternoon to early night shift. For now I'm going to take a nap, but I'm so excited about comics. This is a pretty inspiring event, just to see people get together spend a day just creating. I just hope we don't get sick of the smell of markers.

On a related note, we already have one 24 Hour Comic Book Day (or 24 HCBD) book on our site: Ryan Estrada's impressive Ped X-ing: A 168 Hour Comic. Ryan took the challenge to the limits by sequestering himself in with just some paper and markers to create this book, all pages created within the 168 hour span.

I'll update later, when I come back from my overnight shift. We're also filming at the event, so I'll be sure to link to the video at Lulu.tv when it goes up.

Current Mood: chipper chipper
Current Music: Spoon - I Turn My Camera On


Fri, Aug. 18th, 2006 02:42 pm

Nick here. Clinton and I are back, safe and sound from Gencon Indy. Gencon was an amazing convention to attend. Our booth was a success, and we ended up giving away 250 promo comics and all of the Lulu brochures we took with us. We talked to a lot of Lulu creators, and even had Fred Hicks demo "Don’t Rest Your Head" in our booth! We also met a lot of people that loved the idea of Lulu.

Pictured: Lulu RPG Books
The best story of the convention however was the story of Capes. Capes is a superhero roleplaying game that is written by Anthony Lower-Basch and until the con, wasn't published through Lulu. Due to a miscommunication issue, his books didn't show up to the convention, and he was left without any product to sell. Fortunately, he knows Clinton, and he came to the Lulu booth.

Pictured: Left to Right, Clinton Nixon and Fred Hicks Tony's wife went through the publishing and ordering process and within minutes, the orders were placed with the Mega Super Fast Delivery option. On Saturday, the books showed up. I don't know about anyone else, but to me, that is one of the coolest things ever. I spent the rest of the convention showing people who stopped by the booth the book and telling them the story. "Your printer couldn't meet their 2 week turnaround time? Let me tell you about how fast we can get a book to you." I used the caveat that people should try to give themselves more leeway than that whenever possible to make sure they get their books in time, but it was a huge selling point for the people we talked to.


Thu, Aug. 10th, 2006 10:53 am

Leah here - Just a quick note for you Role Players out there - Lulu has a booth at GenCon Indianapolis this weekend - Booth #1242. It is staffed by the ever-awesome Nick Popio and Clinton Nixon. Be sure to go by and say hi!


Tue, Aug. 1st, 2006 11:23 am

Since I'm sure you guys think that we're all VERY serious, here's a nice videoclip of some downtime in the booth at HeroesCon:
Lulu is Everybody Disco Dancing!



Tue, Aug. 1st, 2006 10:37 am

Leah here. Annie and I have finally recovered from San Diego Comic-Con - the only convention I've ever been to that I would actually use the word ginormous to describe (and yes, I know, it's not even a word). Comic-Con was a lovely time for Annie and I. We saw tons of Lulu creators, caught a couple of cool panels, had a business lunch, snagged some freebies, and bought comics - and of course talked to everyone we saw about Lulu.

Pictured: Aang, Leah, June, and Kiki
Wednesday was preview night, and we went to check out the layout and put some Lulu Creators #6 and Lulu TV flyers out on the freebie table. We wandered around and figured out where all the cool Lulus were: Paul Friedrich and Eric Knisley, Blank Label Comics group, Steven Cloud, Maverix Studios, Billy Tucci, Donna Barr, and so many others. I even saw Candykillers for sale at the Doma booth (with their super-cool Astronaut Jesus toy).

Things that probably could only happen to be at Comic-Con:
  • Annie got her picture with She-Ra, and I got my picture with Voltron (pictured above)
  • We got free Avatar: The Last Airbender shirts at the Nicktoons panel (oh man, I absolutely love that show)
  • There was a giant snake - walk in its open mouth, and you can see props from the upcoming Snakes on a Plane movie
  • I got smelled by Pete Abrams of Sluggy Freelance (trust me, the story is really mundane, so I think I'll just leave it sounding weird)
  • A goth cheerleader got her fishnets caught on my bag and we had to struggle to break free of each other (yeah, I have no idea what was going on)

I was on my way to Artist's Alley to talk to some artist friends, Andy Lee, Chris Moreno and Nigel Sade (you know, the pirate), when I noticed I was behind two guys - "Talk to us about Cyanide and Happiness" printed on their shirts. I assumed they were the creators of the same-named webcomic I regularly read (they were) and remembered that they've been selling tons of their Cyanide and Happiness book on our site. I stopped them, gave them some free Lulu stuff, probably high-fived them, and we went along our merry way.

Pictured: Blank Label Comics crew - (left to right) Kristofer Straub, Dave Kellett, David Willis, Paul
Taylor, Howard Tayler, Steve Troop (partially obscured, with Melonpool puppet), and Brad Guigar

The Blank Label Comics panel on Friday morning was totally Airwolf! They had an introduction with Dave Kellett's new puppets chatting with the BLC'ers themselves, plus hilarious jokes, good Q&A, Lulu-name-dropping (thanks Brad for that!) - pretty much everything you could want. Kristofer Straub and Dave Kellett did a great job co-moderating, and the BLC guys really know how to put on a panel. They really have a lot of fun together. I think the way they treat their webcomic collective as a business is smart and pretty innovative (only a few others built like it). One quote I remember from the panel "The people that I know creating syndicated comics are now starting to get day jobs. The people I know doing webcomics are all beginning to quit their day jobs." That information struck me as something to ponder. Though I forgot who said it (I think it might have been Brad Guigar), it's an interesting shift to think about. They were completely mobbed following the panel, and Paul Taylor sold out of his Wapsi Square book. Oh well, I know where to get it.

I'm thinking that next year we really should have a booth at Comic-Con - it's such a big convention, and there are so many Lulu supporters there now, it would almost be silly not to. We'll probably organize some times for Lulu creators like any of you guys that have books, to come and use our booth to showcase your work and your products. I'll have to check into how that's going to work, but if you're interested, please feel free to contact me at comics@lulu.com.

Man, just processing that much sensory overload took a few days of recovering once we got back to North Carolina, so that's why this blog post took so long (that and my car threw a rod on the highway - nothing says fun like a basketball-sized hole in your engine, am I right?). Anyways, I enjoyed seeing everyone, and I'm looking forward to my next convention, Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, October 13th. The next convention for the comics and Role-playing-game group is GenCon Indianapolis. Nick Popio and Clinton Nixon will be attending GenCon, and they'll be in a big Lulu booth - if you're there be sure to stop by!

I guess that will be it for now. See you guys at the next convention!



Tue, Jul. 11th, 2006 01:59 pm

The Lulu Comic Subversives in the Lulu booth at HeroesCon
from left to right: Joe Komenda, Annie Broadwater, Nick Popio, Leah Riley and Jason Adams

Even though we've been back for at least at week from HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC, the glow of fun hasn't faded. HeroesCon is a very indie friendly convention, and this year, with its growth, it really was the best one yet. I've been going to HeroesCon for a couple of years now (since 2003) and this year they did a great job of organizing the convention, the aisles, and getting some big names to pull in a varied audience.

The cool stuff at the Lulu booth
The Lulu booth was pretty popular, due to two things - 1) we had so many cool comics, RPGs and novels on our table to show people and 2) We had a lot of free stuff. We were giving away Lulu Promotional Comic #5, Lulu stickers (there at the bottom of the picture) as well as finger puppets (because we love toys) and some Lulu buttons we had.

More pictures and Lulus behind the cutCollapse )

Danielle Corsetto - Future Lulu? We have our fingers crossed!
There were tons of interested parties who are planning to put their latest work through Lulu - including the illustrious and awesome Danielle Corsetto of Girls with Slingshots. Her drawings were just excellent and I'm excited that she wants to use Lulu to make her book. I also talked to Dove McHargue and Julie Collins-Rousseau (Trailers) professors at SCADwho were both interested in what Lulu offers to professionals and students in the comic creators field.

Since there were so many of us there at HeroesCon, we might actually have more than one post about it. Overall, it was very successful, and I really look forward to attending next year. We hope to see you there.

Coming up next, we have Clinton talking about Origins. And next week (on the 18th) Annie and I head off to San Diego Comic Con to get over-whelmed, spend a lot of money, and of course, talk to tons of people about print-on-demand publishing.

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