This weekend’s Baltimore Comic Con is another opportunity to spread the word about “Try 5,” which is my philosophy regarding attending a comic show.

Chis Samnee, Ramona Fradon, Francesco Francavilla, Walter Simonson, Kelly Sue DeConnick, George Perez. What do these folks all have in common?  They were once young kids trying to break in to the industry. Nowadays, however, the process is a little different thanks to Kickstarter, the internet, and even a decent printer at home.

Comic Conventions all have an “Artist Alley” filled with names you have never heard of. But, the potential is there for those young creators to be the next superstar. However, it will be more difficult for them to be that next superstar if they can’t show that they have fans as well as talent.

That’s where you come in.

Conventions are really expensive. Tables can cost a creator a few hundred dollars, plus the hotel fees and meals for an entire weekend. Lucky creators – proven talent with years of industry credibility – might sometimes get a free table. Even if that happens, they are still looking at several hundred dollars in expenses before the convention gates even open. Artists can make that up with commissions, but writers have it rougher. No one is going to pay them art commission money to write out a paragraph or two. Every dollar spent at a creators’ table could mean the difference between a great show…and this being the last show they can attend.

While I totally understand the need to get to introduce yourself to legends like the Simonsons, or Perez, don’t forget the real reason to attend a comic show. New talent doesn’t get discovered by editors alone.

If you are at a comic show, carve out some time just to wander the artist alley. (And, it’s not a zoo…it’s okay to make eye contact.) Even a quick glance could lead you to finding someone whose stories will connect with you deep down.

Try 5 means to find at least five creators you have never met before and buy something from them. A small tradeback, a comic, a sketch card, anything. That purchase might be your next favorite thing ever…and the dollar that turns an average convention weekend into a successful one. You might even be lucky enough to get to talking to a creator and end up with something even cooler than a comic, a new friend.

So, go to Baltimore and meet the legends. Then spend a little time finding the next legends, and help get them there. (And make sure you tell others about them. Word of mouth is the best advertising.)

Cheers!

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