Submitted by Ben McCormick on August 11, 2010 - 12:00
For many webcomic creators adding a new convention to their annual circuit of appearances isn't a big deal. If the opportunity arises and they are available they can, for the most part, easily add a new stop to meet fans and possibly sell a book or two. For fellow webcomic creator Onezumi of 'Stupid & Insane Defenders Against Chaos' adding a new convention to her schedule took on a whole new meaning. She started her own.
I had the opportunity to speak with Onezumi via e-mail this week and discuss starting Intervention, her new convention being held this September 10-12.
(For the purposes of full disclosure I would like to add that I will be appearing at Intervention and that I know Onezumi)
First, I have to ask, what were you thinking? Not many people wake up one morning, have a cup of coffee and say, "I think I want to start my own convention" then go do it.
Yeah, I'm a bit odd that way. I've been going to cons since I was 9. I had a pretty rough childhood. I didn't have things like parents, shoes not held together by duct tape, and good food. Conventions and art were always there for me no matter how hard things became. My town always had a cheap or free con. No matter how many times I gave up on getting a better life for myself and doing this professionally, my convention friends and the working artists who attended them would give me a deserving kick in the ass to keep going. Then, the Internet happened. Suddenly I didn't have to have connected friends or live near a publisher. I did it myself.
Directly because of my webcomic I've managed to pay my way through college, land a great job, meet amazing friends, and even go to Disney World. It just makes sense to me that it is now my turn to give back to the scene. I have much love for all the pre-existing cons out there - Intervention
is meant to compliment them by focusing on the very thing that gave me the opportunity to take my future in my own hands - the Internet. The idea is to make this a super fun nerd party with the usual costumes, dances, and debauchery, but also offer low cost workshops (like our WordPress/ComicPress Workshops
led by Frumph) that can help people reach their goals. In coming years, I'd like to even start a scholarship fund for people looking to go pro.
It seemed like a natural thing to do. Sure, any venture can be scary, but after you spend your childhood hungry, wearing tattered clothing, and seeing all kinds of awful things there isn't much left that can scare you. Maybe diarrhea? That can be scary.
Looking at your guest page I'm seeing several big names from the Internet; webcomic creators, authors, artists, and the like but I'm also seeing several lesser known creators. How did you go about selecting your guests?
I started in 2003. I can tell you what it was like to start in 2003 and I can use my experience to tell you what I think will work today, but I didn't start today. You can ask the oldest creator out there their opinion and you will get great advice - but it may or may not apply to anything you will face today. The Internet changes so very quickly. In 2010 it is so much more difficult to be seen just because there are so many people on the Internet now.
I went after professionals who are articulate, genuinely care about the scene, and enjoy interacting with their fans. I got new creators who I felt were personable, intelligent, had something great to share, and wanted to share it. In this way we have a great mix of perspectives, a fun atmosphere full of gaming and sketching, and a great party after the panels are done.
What has been the general attitude and response from people who you have contacted to be a part of Intervention?
Really positive! We thought we would be a small party with 10 guests, but we have over 40 guests and I've already had to make arrangements for extra staff. We are now utilizing all of the Hilton's function space and we had to actually extend our room block. If you want a room, it's best to book now
Have you had much fan response about it?
Oh yeah! Pre registrations
are going very well and almost half of them have opted to become an Enabler
. Enablers are people who donate to help fund the first year. They get all kinds of goodies in return and even get their badge mailed to them in advance!
I see that Intervention is scheduled for the same weekend as the Small Press Expo (SPX). In the past SPX has been known for being a rather Webcomics/Indie Comics friendly convention. Do you see there being any problems for guests or fans because of the schedule?
As we've explained
, neither convention planned to be on the same weekend. Contracts were signed at the same time, and it is impossible for either event to move without paying a ton of money to break their hotel agreement.
At first some people were thinking it would not be a great situation, but it now seems like it is benefiting both events. We are less than 2 miles away in the same city. A lot of attendees plan to go to both.
SPX and Intervention have slightly different target demographics. SPX is more print focused with events happening earlier in the day while Intervention is Internet and Technology focused with programming lasting all night. It's almost like both events are working in concert with each other. I'm really glad about that! We have always been huge supporters of these types of events and we encourage people to go to both to get the full story on comics distribution.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
Some notes about Pre Registration:
Pre registering now for Intervention doesn't just get you the cheapest rate, it also allows you to reserve a free artist's space
in the front for Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School. Founder Molly Crabapple will actually be running the event in person.
If you are interested in the one-on-one WordPress/ComicPress instruction with Frumph, this requires a seperate fee which you can add when you pre register. You will receive the new ComicPress Cast Addon (normally $29) for free. You'll basically be saving $4 and getting Frumph to help you with your site!
We are so excited about Intervention! See you there!