When the New York Comic-Con opens its doors, as a lifelong comic fan from Queens, I couldn’t be happier. Each and every time I arrive at the Javits Center for Comic-Con my eyes open wide in wonder like a kid in a toy store.
An amazing fan experience year after year and then something new happened. I started publishing comics in 2011, and that year I qualified for pro pass. That pass didn’t change my profession but looking back I know it was an important milestone for me as a creator because it represented a significant transition period in my life.
Can making a comic really be that profound? For me it was.
I’ve been making comics since I was a kid and had a universe of characters and ideas locked away in files on my computer. However, until late 2010 I subscribed to every excuse not to share these stories. Maybe it was a fear of failure, or rejection, maybe perception… Whatever it was, it was real and it was fear.
I had a demanding career, I had a family, I didn’t go to school for this, I had not completed a professional script, I’d never worked in publishing and to be perfectly honest I had become a closet creative.
I focused my creative energy where I could and in controlled ways. I tried to channel my creativity into my corporate projects, but in my profession, that expression could only go so far. Like many of us, my job was what I do, not who I was.
Slowly, I was starting to understand that I needed to release my creative self. I had stories to tell. I knew that no one would tell them for me, but my rational mind wasn’t getting it done. I needed to let it go and let my curiosity and imagination lead the way.
For me, the discipline was not a problem. Finding the time for new things in an already busy life would be hard but I could figure that out. My biggest challenge was the fear.
So that pro pass meant that I had to overcome my fears, overcome distractions, and overcome everything inside of me that made dreaming seem silly. I don’t believe that everything you want is on the other side of fear, but I do believe that on the other side of fear is purpose. Our stories are a part of our purpose and worth overcoming our fear for.
So what got me past my fears? What was the catalyst?
The 2010 New York Comic Con.
The people, Small press creators, and the Panel participants.
In my past visits, I’d attend the Con focused on the big blue-chip publishing machines. But in 2010, I knew I had something to share and found myself instinctively drawn to people sharing their passions… Creators.
I wanted to know the steps, so I found a panel of indie creators, and to my surprise, the room was packed with people like me. People looking for the best way to tell their story. Learning editing from editors, writing from writers and insights on sequential art from artists… You get the picture.
Buddy Scalera ran a series back then for aspiring creators, and I ate it up. Front of the room, taking notes like a desperate college student. I spent at least a half a day in panels for all four days of the convention. I was enabled.
The rest of the day was spent meeting new people in the Small Press Indie area. I spent hours talking with dozens of brave creators, and it was beautiful.
From writers with a single black and white ashcan to indie publishers with half a dozen full-color books. Booth after booth of women and men of every color and creed, straight and gay – people sharing everything – From Christian comics to horror.
These creators didn’t need anyone’s permission… They had a story to tell, and they told it. I made a lot of new friends and left inspired.
“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
– Dale Carnegie –
A few days later I started forming a business (LLC), a few weeks later I finished my first script, and a few months later I kickstarted my first book. I did it, and it changed my life for the better.
The ride hasn’t been perfect. I’d love to say, I’m fearless, but I’m not. But I have a ton of new friends, some awesome comics and most importantly I found a part of me that was almost lost. That’s winning to me.
Today was the last day of New York Comic Con, and it’s inspired me again. I’ve set a new goal on this journey. In 2018, I’ll have a booth at NY Comic-Con, and I hope to see you there.
I’ll spend the next year sharing my road to NY Comic Con 2018, and I hope that my experiences will help someone tell their story.