MangaNEXT 2012 concluded three weeks ago, and many artists and groups, like EtherFuture, have already begun preparing for the next one on the list and/or crafting their next work. It is for that reason, among other pesky real life obligations, that this brief convention recap is coming much later that I would have liked. However, that weekend of fun, joy, and collaborative accomplishment remains fresh in my mind.
I would like to share a story about the kindness of one lady that encapsulates our experience & successes at MangaNEXT.
On early Sunday afternoon, an older lady – probably late 50s – stopped and stared at our table. My first thought was “there’s no way she’s at all interested in our doujinshi…” However, I kindly greeted her and asked her if she was enjoying the con. She replied that she had brought her granddaughter there & was simply killing time. My next question was if she was looking for anything in particular that I could help with. This led to a conversation about creativity & why cons are so interesting. Just when I thought that was it, she immediately said, “I’ll take one [BRSXVOC].” KOU & I were glad to sell it to her, but baffled that she would support us. She then told us to keep the $3 change, and said:
‘This is worth $10, not $7.’
This story is not at all about the money, but about the artistic spirit that permeated that Artist Alley. Even with many of the panels not piquing our interests, KOU & myself created new, exciting memories in that single room. We artists know that at MangaNEXT, the AA is the Dealer’s Room, with many already doing this for their living. That story proves that if you believe that you have something valuable to share with the world, don’t sell yourself short, and remain candid, you may encounter some of the most unexpected, reaffirming moments in your career as an artist. There are few things that can hold a candle to that.
We were also very fortunate to meet and enjoy the company of friends and other artists. Namely, our long-time friends of Cross Academy Crafts, and our new neighbors, Sam and Zack of CyberScribe. Frequently, we encouraged those who stopped at our space to stop at theirs, as we shared a table. We talked and learned a good deal about one another, even though our products were vastly different from each other. People like them are the perfect example that the Artist Alley should be treated like a community rather than a battlefield.
I personally had the opportunity to have an invigorating chat with the author of SacreD, Lizbeth Jimenez as well as the man leading publishing for GEN Manga. Regarding Lizbeth, she has not only jumped head-first into spending years to get her “baby” published, but also created her own publishing imprint, J.U. Comics (“J” and “U” no doubt last name initials), with her fiancee. What she has managed to do is quite relevant to EtherFuture’s interests, as we too have a number of original story concepts that we hope to share with the world in due course. I did myself a favor and finally purchased Volume 1 of her manga. Volume 2 is on sale as well.
As for EtherFuture, we have grown each subsequent convention, both in experience and sales. At MangaNEXT 2012, our stats reflected record exponential growth compared to our previous showing back in 2010. We had a lot of time to prepare and revise our focus, and are very grateful for the people who stopped to check us out, have a conversation, or even decide to support us with their wallet. In the end, MangaNEXT and its attendees treated us very kindly and have given us the confidence and means to forge ahead with our game plan after a successful debut of our doujinshi manga, Black Rock Shooter X VOCALOID.
New ideas are already in the works and we can’t wait to share them with you! Thank you for staying with us as we continue to create quality doujinshi manga and other creative media for you, the able fan, who will help shape and influence the future.
Until next time~!