I wasn’t able to make the Emerald City Comicon one month ago, but we were able to have a Flesk Publications booth presence thanks to Jonathan Leveck. I asked Jonathan if he could write a recap about exhibiting at the show. I’ll turn you over to Jonathan:
Jonathan Leveck writes about the Flesk Booth and time spent at Emerald City Comicon
The lead-up to Emerald City Comicon was rife with a quirky mix of emotions. Having grown up near Portland, any travel to the Northwest provokes nostalgia–that inimitable sense of coming home. Seattle, however, would be a new destination for me: one of those places that’s always been on the list but has remained conspicuously unchecked, like never having read On the Road, or seen Willy Wonka.
So there I was preparing to go home to a place I’d never been.
Then there’s Flesk. A failure on the part of the universe at large to take into account the subtleties of the company day planner resulted in a scheduling kerfuffle. Flesk would need to be in both Seattle and Kansas City, Missouri on the same weekend. Reluctant to miss either the ECCC or the 20th Annual Spectrum Judging, John Fleskes and I decided we’d divide and conquer the two events.
For me this meant running a show on my own for the first time and putting a check next to Seattle on that list I mentioned. For John Fleskes that meant being in Kansas City while, for the first time in the history of his company, Flesk Publications was being represented by someone other than himself, and that on the other side of the country. Neither the honor nor the responsibility were lost on me.
John and I caught up on business at the airport, checking out the cover proof for Spectrum Fantastic Art Live 2 and chatting about where publishing should set the bar in terms of catering to vs. challenging its viewership. A few parting words of Emerald City Comicon advice and we boarded our separate flights, John leaving Seattle and his company in what he outwardly projected–but must have inwardly hoped–were my capable hands.
Within an hour of landing I was at my hotel downtown, already loving Seattle if only for its public transit system. The hotel lobby was a cage-less zoo of comic industry professionals, Trekkies and a gaggle of what I can only assume were plain-clothes cosplayers. A pair of unarmed security guards stood wide-eyed and twitching amidst the chaos.
Set up the next morning was a breeze, the show’s staff organized and helpful. I picked up the books and took my time setting up the booth, bringing the better parts of my compulsive nature to bear upon the presentation of our books and banners.
I looked up from my shuffling to find a gentleman looking at me with an expression that said, “One of us should know the other, but I suspect neither of us does.”
“Hello,” I said vaguely, now mirroring his expression.
“I… You’re… This is Flesk?”
“We’re doing a book with you.”
A stunning bout of deductive reasoning on my part (combined with asking the man outright who he was) led me to understand that I was speaking with Richard Pini. Richard and his wife Wendy are the creators of Elfquest. Their books The Art of Elfquest and Wendy Pini: The Line of Beauty are currently in development with Flesk Publications.
Well met with Mr. Pini, the Elfquest booth was the first I visited when I made the pre-show rounds. I introduced myself to Wendy and handed her the new postcards for the upcoming books. Her face lit up when she saw them, further widening Richard’s easy grin. I was struck by the dynamic between these two: Richard, gregarious and charismatic, Wendy soft spoken and warm–equal and opposite points on the charm spectrum.
My next stop was the BromArt booth, where Brom was bustling about the booth and his wife, artist Laurie Lee Brom, was returning from a failed odyssey to find her friend’s booth in the maze of the gaming floor. I was glad to finally meet Brom in person, having only interacted with him via email during the Art of Brom Kickstarter campaign.
Infectiously lighthearted, the Broms’ personalities might have been separated at birth. Speaking with them in tandem, one gets the inexplicable sense that everyone is a sly smile away from giggling.
In equal contrast to the ‘brooding rockstar artist’ persona one might project upon him to look at his art, Brom offered to watch the Flesk booth, should I need to pee at any point. Dark and angsty, indeed…
By the time I left the Dodson’s booth a few minutes later, I was finding it a bit silly just how damnably charming all these couples are. Terry all warm-welcome and quick-to-laugh, Rachel quiet and amused.
Thankfully Mignola was next on the list. I hadn’t yet met his wife, but surely Mike’s dry wit and forthright demeanor would lend itself to some sort of Archie Bunker-esque repartee to help mollify my playful inner cynic.
Alas: nope. Equally lovely interactions from the Mignola camp.
Convinced that John had some sort of hidden agenda to unite charming couples beneath the Flesk banner and take over the world at large, I headed back to the booth to prepare myself for the impending hordes.
And hordes there were. The show was stunningly busy. Our table–teeming with books on the morning of day one, with a case of overflow stowed beneath–comfortably fit all of our remaining stock by that afternoon. By the end of day two we had sold out of the large format Bruce Timm Naughty and Nice book and all but two Big Pocket editions. We were out of catalogues and the stacks of offerings from Dodson, Elliott, Gianni, Meseldžija, Schultz and Stout had been whittled down to a nub.
By the end of day three we were fairly well out of stock, and an extraordinary thing happened: We became an information booth.
“What’s the story on the Brom book?”
“When’s Mark gonna finish Xenozoic?”
“Is Bruce Timm here?”
“Are you Bruce Timm?”
“Where can I find Bruce Timm?”
“Are you the guys doing Elfquest?”
“Is Mark Schultz still alive?”
“Who’s Jim Silk-EE? This stuff is gorgeous…”
“Look honey: booties!”
“Do you have any more Gianni stuff?”
We had people stopping by to identify themselves as Art of Brom Kickstarter supporters, or to express what an influence Mark Schultz has been on their art.
With little left to sell, the crowd hadn’t diminished around the booth. For the last couple of hours the Flesk booth was a place to stop by and chat about good art.
When all was said and done, I packed a single box to send back to California, and arrived back at my hotel exhausted, voiceless and extremely pleased. John called and we downloaded our separate events and chatted about the big things upcoming from Flesk, some announced and others soon-to-be.
So: Seattle was fantastic. I didn’t burn anything to the ground, and nobody caught me sleeping at the booth. Well: nobody that couldn’t be bribed with a Naughty and Nice Teaser.
Director of Operations
A big thanks to Jonathan for running our booth!
Text and photographs copyright © 2013 Flesk Publications. All rights reserved.
Emerald City ComicCon