I think those of us in EtherFuture would agree that our presence at AnimeNEXT 2012 was felt only gently this year in light of not having our own Artist Alley table. However, that is no reason to not thank everyone who came by Table 73 and checked us out! Lots of great things happened because of you. But first, just as I shared an uplifting MangaNEXT 2012 story…
Let me share a con story that reminds us all how important it is for artists, fan or original, to stick together and respect each others’ hard work.
A Con Story
While offering promo cards to passer-bys in the Artist Alley, I handed one to a heavy-set lady whom I had already sensed was going to be a challenge. As what sometimes occurred, the promo card was eye-catching enough to successfully get her to stop and look at it. Of course, I began to share with her the usual info about EtherFuture being present in the Alley & the doujinshi manga we had worked very hard to write, draw, & produce.
‘Is this a fan work?’ was the first thing she responded with.
Knowing full well that though our best-selling creative work to date is crafted in an 100% original storyline and distinct art style, it is only a “fan work” with regards to borrowing existing popular characters we did not create. So, I instinctively knew what that question meant. However, I went with my hopeful gut and honestly replied that it was a “fan work.”
Before I could say anything further, she had handed the promo card back with a sharp ‘NO‘ attached. I was taken aback for a few moments, but went right on back to offering free, pretty promo cards to attendees.
Words to Art By
Now I have no idea if she is an artist herself, but clearly she has convinced herself that “fan work” automatically means it is a piece of uncreative crap not worth her time. That, or the ridiculous notion that “if it’s not from Japan, it’s not REAL manga.” Now imagine if we, as artists, refused to acknowledge our fellow creators who also put themselves out there with their own artwork just because it wasn’t “original”. Many of us probably would have never made the friends and connections we have today purely out of ego.
The truth is simple: Just like that individual, not everyone is going to love or respect our art form enough to give it an honest look. All the more reason for us to never write off our fellow Artist Alley patrons doing fan-related artwork (or design work that is completely different from ours), assuming it’s crap without even giving it a chance. We are all under constant public scrutiny from attendees every Artist Alley/Corner/whatever we pay to be involved at. Clearly, we all work hard in our own ways to not let anyone shake our foundation of self-worth. So, let’s always seek to respect and support one another’s standards. You never know where any of us may end up.
As for EtherFuture…
We had mild expectations for AnimeNEXT 2012 that reflected our gracious offering of space from our friends, Cross Academy Crafts. All we had going for us was our strategy playing to an even larger audience that might enjoy our work and maybe even remember us from MangaNEXT. So, as Sunday drew to a close, when we achieved an unexpected benchmark of selling out of all of our freshly printed copies of Black Rock Shooter X VOCALOID Issue #1, we were pleasantly shocked! A few of our other products slipped into the hands of new owners as well.
Though sales benchmarking is important, the intention to meet new artists & con-goers, and reconnect with those we already know to grow our support circle of friends has always been in our DNA. KOU has reported to have made a number of new connections, both in the Artist Alley and at the Sword Play Tournament. In the Video Game Room, I played two rounds against Maximo, a Street Fighter X Tekken player, who unexpectedly turned out to be an Artist Alley patron as well! Through passing out promo cards to a number of VOCALOID cosplayers, one of them excitedly came to our location and offered to dance all of “Bad Apple“! Seeing AA friends, supporting our favorite con rave DJ, Eric, and trying our best to meet with people we only see at ANEXT really makes coming to anime cons truly worthwhile.
Fun Fact: EtherFuture always go to Saturday con raves. KOU is usually dressed in blue, rocking the dance circles with martial arts & flips. We love them. Do you?
Honestly, we can only express humble gratitude for those who are essentially enabling us to continue to create new, vibrant pieces of art and travel to more conventions. Whether you took a free promo card from our cosplayers Nakuru Narumi (the tanned blonde-haired catgirl) or the stoic, red-jacketed Ryougi Shiki, were stopped by a tall Android 17 (orange bandana around neck) to read our latest doujinshi, or took a business card from the table, we greatly appreciate every bit of interest!
Thank you, AnimeNEXT, for another great anime convention overall! And to you, our friends and supporters, for making our AnimeNEXT 2012 a surprise success!