The First ACE

Albuquerque had its own first major comic con this past weekend, the Albuquerque Comic Expo. Like most of the members of 7000 BC, we got our own table in Artist Alley. The group still had a booth on the main floor, and I figured it'd be best served as kind of an indie comic lounge to show off the work of our members and friends and direct attendees to our booth. Thanks to Jeff and his scenic design shop, it happened:

We arrived after 10:30 on Friday morning; Mon got to setting up the first ever Panel Press table, and I got to blowing up balloons. It was her idea to give yellow helium-filled balloons to those associated with 7000 BC (our local members, plus some out-of-town friends we've met along the way) to make them easier to find. It was all a mad blur there for a couple hours, but then we settled into our table between Jamie and guest artists Mitch and Bettie. We were along a row with a few members and some Coloradans we know, and across from Danny, Ryk, and Dale who had some long-awaited new releases.

As expected, a slow day. Got time to explore a bit, visit, figure out what we were doing and where the closest Subway was. The evening rolled around, and we found our way to a bit of a Drink and Draw at the newly renovated Hotel Andaluz. A fun time sketching, making fun of sketches, visiting and hearing publishing stories from Larry and Sharon. It got late, we hadn't eaten anything proper in quite some time, so decided to just duck over to the hotel restaurant (still seating at 10:00!). A late arrival to the party looked like he needed a meal, so we invited him along. And so passed a fascinating evening with Brady, hearing about his path through the Air Force, physics, and skeleton to independent publishing.

Stayed at one of the con hotels; up reasonably early but delayed at breakfast, but still there in plenty of time. Again with the balloons (learning the afternoon previous how quickly the helium dissipates) and making sure that Pete was well set with help at the booth, then back to our table for the day. But for a couple hours it never got busy, but there was mostly steady interest through the afternoon. Slowed down during the day, offering time to visit with Brian and some others at the booth.

As the day ended, I didn't want to be in charge of the whole group of members and friends, but also wanted to offer something to do. We went our separate ways to snack, then headed over to Anodyne, where gradually a group gathered. It was gratifying to see people meet and catch up, but at a certain point we needed to head on for dinner. Opted to return to the hotel, but here's the crazy thing: at 10:30, there were places still open. We forget what that's like here in Santa Fe, where after 9:00, you're down to just a couple options if you're lucky. And the streets were even teeming with activity! Madness.

Sunday, more balloons, and then underway. There was good (and repeat) traffic, our sales for the two days were about equal. Somewhere along the way, I realized that we'd never really been around for the end of a con (other than STAPLE!) because we had to travel out Sunday evening, so we were finally privy to the secret con closing activities.

Helped Jeff pack out some of the booth, but had to dash to get the houndie. On the drive, we first spotted that plume that's now been causing so much trouble. But last night — and no idea how much or if it helped — actual rain for almost 20 minutes.

The con? An awful lot of fun, always meeting new folks but getting to spend some time with friends. It was clear this was the city's first show like this, attendees clearly unprepared for what awaited them. But they're on for next year, and so are we.

As noted, more photos at Flickr; still trying to wrangle a few more out of other people.

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