Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Unknown God, Summer of Festivals Roundup

Hey gang,

I wanted to give you all an update on the other big event that went on last weekend (July 21st-24th) besides Comic Con International, 2010. I'm referring to the Creation Northwest Music Festival, which bills itself as the nation's largest. Now, since I've also attended Cornerstone and Sonshine Music festivals over the past month, I'm not sure I would agree with that bit of hyperbol. But what I can tell you is this, that as someone who was an exhibitor at these three events, Creation did indeed blow the others two events away in terms of sales for us!

I tried to corner the promoter into giving me final attendence numbers, but he wouldn't share that info (said it was still be compiled). But according to one of the other people running the show, it looked liked it was going to be a bit under 20,000 (but that estimate was made on Friday morning...with two more day's walk up traffic to be counted).

Out of the three events Cornerstone had the most exhibtor space (one large tent and one smaller one), but the downside was you had to brave the heat and considerable dust and the smaller tent got considerably less traffic then the main tent (which was were I was unfortunately positioned). We had heard from many attendees of past events that they didn't even know there was a second tent!

Sonshine had their exhibitor area in a converted hockey arena, so the elements were a bit more controlled, but still a bit toasty, as the main doors were open to the outside, so if there was AC you couldn't feel it.

Likewise, Creation has their exhibitor area inside a building with doors open to the outside. But since the outside temp for most of the weekend was in the mid-80's with not a whole lot of humidity, it was very pleasant.

Out of the three, Creation had the least amount of space for exhibitors and also the least amount of stages for bands and as a result the people in attendence seemed to hang out in the exhibitor areas quite a bit more each and every day. Customers cruising the exhibitor areas seem to wane a bit each day the other two events went forward. Not so at Creation, as traffic stayed consistent right up to the late afternoon the final day...when some exhibitors began tearing down.

But for us, when all was said and done, we did about the same volume of sales at Creation, that I did the last time I exhibited at Comic Con Interantional (in 2008). So, I was quite pleased. Cornerstone came in second (about $300 behind) and Sonshine was a distant third. That's even more impressive when you consider that we did that volume at Creation with basically about a fifth of the potential audience (20k verses 120k at CCI)!

A constant theme I heard from people of all ages is, "I love the idea of Christian based comics and graphic novels and didn't know there were any out there!"...and these were Christians! So I think this type of venue is ripe for more publishers of Christian based properties to share their books next season, 'cause there is a whole group of people looking for this type of material, but not finding it in their local bookstores (or comic shops).

Food for thought, for sure!

R.J. Luedke

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Project Comic Con, Posts Interview

The promoters of the upcoming Project Comic Con 2, (in suburban St. Louis, MO), have graciously posted an interview they did with me a couple months back. The piece does a very nice job in covering my brief history in the medium.


Enjoy and share with a friend...I think this event is shaping up to be a very nice convention, since it is firmly focused on comics rather than movies and TV. It has a pretty strong lineup of creative types, but promises to be intimate enough to get some real quality time with your favorite artist, writer or indy publisher.

R.J. Luedke

Thursday, July 08, 2010

ReadTheSpirit Calls Attention to Christian Comics

Hey gang,

One of my favorite writers on all matters spiritual is David Crumm, formerly of the Detroit Free Press and now editor of the website, Readthespirit.com

He just penned a wonderful article on the state of the Christian Comic (Graphic novel) scene:


There's also a good supplemental story about the bad rap comics (and their creators) have gotten over the years.

R.J. Luedke

Monday, July 05, 2010

Cornerstone 2010 Overview

Cornerstone is now completed: Wow, that was the first outdoor show I've done in years. Forgot how much that can take out of you with the heat, dust and humidity! I think this was the closest thing I've ever been a part of that's akin to being at Woodstock (but without the alcohol or drugs, of course). And the creator certainly did his part as the whole week was mid-80's and blue skies!

Overall the crowds were consistent, (except for last day: Saturday...when many it seems were already starting home for the 4th, including the vendors). I Had a decent amount of sales of the Unknown God graphic novel and T-shirts, (as well as the other books in the Eye Witness series), but more importantly exposed a huge number of people to Christian based graphic novels for the first time in their lives (you know, the old "I never knew anyone made comics/GN's like this"...kind of thing). It tells me, that as a genre of literature "we" (the editorial we) are not doing a good enough job in educating people that our products exist, for if "we" were, more Christian youth (teen to twenty-somethings) would be aware of them. Now before you think I'm sitting in judgement of others, I certainly am not exempting myself from these comments, for I've been out there with Eye Witness since 2004, yet most in this gathering had never heard of the series before. But they sure have now after the weekend!

I really think the a group of Christian creators/publishers needs to consider doing a group booth at one of these types of events next year. I understand that places like comic conventions are our mission fields, but with a lot of our properties those who are already Christian can also enjoy them, purchase them and share them with their non-believing friends (which is a comment I heard a lot with people buying Eye Witness over the weekend). And with the amount of business I did over the weekend, I'm can say pretty authoritatively that a couple tables put together with all manner of comics, tracts and graphic novels would have went over real big at this show! So if anybody has an interest in joining forces, I'm all in.

I want to thank Scott Shuford for stopping by my booth a couple times over the weekend, while he was enjoying the music and making the rounds drumming up business!

A final point I want to share, is how refreshing this event was for me! Doing comic conventions can sometimes be a bit of a downer, as many people there will steer clear of your table when they see Christian or spiritual imagery...as if we're going to yell out, "repent, you sinner," at them like some street corner prophet. But the people here, (of all ages), were just so friendly. Even if they were not particularly interested in what I had to offer at my table they always had a smile on their face and were at least willing to engage in polite conversation. In fact, I got to hear some wonderful and diverse testimonials over the weekend.

Living in Dallas (in the heart of the Bible Belt) it's sometimes kind of hard to realize the true diverse nature of Christians out there in this country. And this show was a testament to the fact that it does not matter how you look outwardly, how you dress, what kind of hair-do you sport, (if you have hair), whether you have piercings-tats or other body art....the inner love of Jesus overcomes and binds us all!

As I drove away from the campsite on Saturday night for the final time, I experienced both joy (that I felt a bit closer to God through this experience) and a sorrow (that I had to leave this event and the people involved behind and go back to the real world).

But now I'm even more excited to my time at SonShine and Creation Northwest Festivals in July, 'cause I'll have my daughter with me, so I'll be able to mill about a bit more and see some of the bands and hear some of the speakers (which I was unable to do at Cornerstone).

I recommend this experience to you my brothers and sisters out there and even those who may not believe but just want to hear four days of some great music of all styles!

R.J. Luedke