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< Piro >

get your copy of MT v5 signed from our store!

"Off to other side of the world"

Sunday - May 27, 2007

[Piro] - 14:15:44 - [link here]

UPDATE 2: June 8, 2007 - 1:50pm
Christchurch, New Zealand

Hey folks, grettings from New Zealand. I'm actually supposed to be in Melbourne right now, but we were unable to make our flight this morning, so we're flying out tomorrow afternoon. That said, if you were hoping to find me at Convergence on Friday, you'll have to hold off until Saturday. ^^;;

It's been a very interesting trip so far. The convention wen't well, Wellington was very interesting, the ferry ride was very nice, and i didn't do too bad at learning how to drive on the left hand side of the road. In fact, it's kinda fun to drive here. It's just safe enough and just crazy enough that a lot of the time it's felt like driving in a video game :P I've already filled up two 1gig CF cards, and i've managed to see both coasts of the South Island so far, so it should be an interseting write up.

Looks like i have a lot of books and posters to sign when i get back, but that's good, i'm ready for it. It looks like Hawk is doing a pretty good job with things so far. It's an interesting experience for both of us, really - it's interesting to see what he does with the information i gave him, i'm so used to drawing the expressions and ideas i have, that trying to communicate it loosely so that another artist can interpret and work with it... is proving rather interesting - especially since we have had no contact since i left (except for one small script change i emailed him a few days ago. I hope you are enjoying it. :)

It's been a fun and interesting trip for us so far, but as always you do look forward to getting home. It's been a good break, and i've had a lot of things to think about with some of the experiences i've had over the past few days. I'm sure the next week will have it's share of interesting things too. It's the small unplanned things that make life interesting, and are usually the most memorable. That has definately been the case on this trip. Anyways, i'll try to give you folks another update when i'm in Australia. :)

Oh, and a final note - the stars are different down here. They really are. Startlingly so. :)

(UPDATE 1: I err'd on the side of finishing the scripts for the 9 comics Hawk will be drawing while we are away. It actually turned out to be a pretty good sequence. He showed me some sketches of how he planned to draw things, and it should turn out really well. I decided to post the rough version of todays comic because its a better stopping point for the story (not that there are really any good ones) and also because it is an example of what the rough versions of the comic look like, and how early on the expressions can come out. I'm off to the airport in a few hours, so i'm gonna catch some sleep and see if 20 hours of plane travel is more relaxing than the past few weeks have been :P take care everyone, and sarah and i will see you when we get back!)

(a quick review of todays rant includes... information on our 3 week trip to Australia and New Zealand, the comic schedule for the next three weeks, Getting signed copies of MT volume 5 from the MegaGear store, some sw33t new products and my first book signing after we return from our trip.)

Y'know, it never fails. No matter how much i try to plan, no matter how hard i work to try to get things done early so that the day or two before a big trip are relaxed and easy going... it never happens. For this particular trip it's worse than usual. We had a number of... things happen this month that really put us behind (some family health issues and me hurting my back so bad i couldn't move around until yesterday) I swear, i must be related to Murphy or something. :) I suppose if things ever DID go smoothly, it'd probably spook me and i'd really be worried that i was missing something. ^^;; My life really is best summed up by one of my favorite words. Ah well, at least things are never boring around here :)

First up, our trip to New Zealand and Australia. I will be attending Conspiracy II in Wellington, New Zealand from June 1-3 (we won't be there on Monday). There is a tentative timetable for the convention up which gives information on some of the things i'll be participating in. The main events for me will be my Naze Nani Megatokyo panel on Saturday at 10am, a panel on Web Comics vs Print Comics on Saturday 5pm and a 'speech' of sorts on Sunday at 3pm. I might also attend the Writing and Drawing comics panels on Friday, not sure yet. I'll be around to sign and do sketches for folks here and there throughout the convention. In the week between Conspiracy and Convergence in Australia, i get to learn how to drive on the wrong side of the road as Seraphim and I cruise around and check this place called New Zealand. :)

The following weekend, you will find us in Melbourne, Australia for Convergence 2 from June 8-10 (once again, we won't be there on Monday). Here is a list of panels and readings at the show. They don't list any times or other information, but i'm tentatively scheduled for "Making a business from comics" and for a showing of some artwork i will be bringing with me. I believe there will also be a Megatokyo panel of some sort, but i don't know when. Keep an eye on the Convergence website for more details on when this will be. I'll try to update the Megatokyo site with this information when i get it.

After this, we'll spend a few days seeing some places in Australia (not a lot of driving here - Australia is way too big to hop in a car and just drive to see stuff :P). I'm sure that by the time we are on our flight home and arrive back in Detroit on June 16th Seraphim and I will be ready to be home :)

Also, I'm not bringing a laptop with me on this trip. One reason is the luggage restrictions (because of some the interior flights in Australia we have to keep it light) and historically i tend to avoid using it when traveling. I don't actually mind, It's good to get away from the computer for a while, and I know i can get access at various business centers at hotels when i need to. (I've heard that wi-fi is not as readily available in Australia and New Zealand as we are getting way too used to here in the States, but i could be wrong.)

It should be a fun, interesting and tiring trip. Hopefully, it wont be too tiring. There won't be any time to recover from this trip because we're gonna have to jump right into the fray when we get back. This is a good thing, and the more havoc you folks create for us by taking advantage of our special promotions at the MegaGear store while we are gone, the happier we'll be. Seriously. :)

What promotions? First off, Megatokyo Volume 5 is now available! yay! After printing errors that required a new print run and caused a one month delay in it's release, the books are here, both at the MegaGear store and at book stores and comic shops everywhere :)

You can probably see the snafu here. The original plan was to get the books in last month, sell them for a good month, then take off on this Australia / New Zealand trip. In fact, DC was going to send me on a little book tour last month to do a little book promotion. Obviously, the reprint torpedoed this plan in classic Murphy's Law fashion. Our shipment of books arrived on Thursday, the day before we we shut down shipping for three weeks. ^^;;;

Now, there's nothing wrong with going to the Borders or Barnes & Nobel or your local comic shop to purchase your copy of MT volume 5 if you want one. But we WOULD like to sell SOME of them through the store. (sales through comics shops make the direct market sales look good. Sales through bookstores make the Bookscan numbers look good. Sales through our store makes our numbers look good (since you can pick up other cool stuff with it as well) :P You get the idea). It's hard to entice people to buy books when they have to wait 3-4 weeks before we ship them. After thinking about it, we realized that the best thing we could offer folks who are willing to wait is to offer to sign every copy of the new book purchased while we are gone. So that's what we're going to do. :)

Between now and June 17th, I will sign every copy of Megatokyo Volume 5 purchased from the MegaGear store. These orders will start shipping the week we return, and we will do our best to get them shipped out as soon as possible.

Since we also have a new Poster design ready to go to the printers (see the most recent DPD), I will also be signing any and all posters (including the new one) purchased between now and June 17th. Hawk and Ananth will also be signing any Applegeeks posters purchased during this time.

I often hear from people who lament the fact that they will probably never make it to a convention and really wish there was some way they could get a signed book. This is our way of saying thank you to all our readers, not just the ones who make it to conventions or the occasional signing. It is a big thank you for reading and purchasing the book, as well as all your support over the years. Yes, i'll be drawing a little little something small in the books with the signature (Unfortunately i can't take requests).

One other thing. We have a new t-shirt design, inspired by Largo's flaming BFG shirt... Largo's 13371 SBFG t-shirt. What's neat about this shirt is that it's not printed on a solid color T, but a tye-dyed shirt that gives a really sw33t flame and fire effect we thought was perfect for this design. It's a tad more expensive than our normally priced T's because the shirt itself costs more. We will be releasing this shirt for production when we get back from NZ/AU, so orders that include this t-shirt will not ship until we receive our shipment, which hopefully will be before the end of the month (they have a really quick turn around, so we hopefully will get them pretty quick).

Also, we have more Pirogoeth, Ninja and Miho bracelets back in stock. :)

Finally, i would like to announce my first signing for Megatokyo Volume 5. This signing will be at the Vault of Midnight in Downtown Ann Arbor on June 23rd, from 3pm to 5pm. Vault of Midnight's new location in Downtown Ann Arbor is pretty cool, so drop in if you are in town that Saturday. :)

Lastly, the comic schedule. The biggest problem with this three week trip is that there will be a three week gap in regular MT comics, but it won't be a barren gap full of nothing or 3 full weeks of SGD comics (it was tempting :P). Hawk and I have been working on a series of 4 panel "meanwhile" comics much like his AG Lite comics that will be posted MWF starting Wednesday May 30th through Monday June 18th. If all goes well, Chapter 9 will kick back in on June 20th.

These MT Lite / Meanwhile 4-panel/4-koma comics will not be random jokes, but are functionally part of the storyline and will probably go here in the next book, two per page. I really want to thank Hawk for his help with this. It lets me focus on writing them and not having to do crappy artwork for them. Hopefully the next few weeks will be entertaining and informative and i hope you enjoy them. :)

I wanted to do two comics before we leave on tuesday, but realistically i can only do one GOOD comic, and since the story timing actually works out, i'll be working on that this afternoon (with this cliffhanger, it's probably a good thing I'm leaving the country :P)

Ok, that should do it. It's been a crazy couple of months, and for all the things that have gone ploowie on me and proven the universal nature of the word 'snafu', there are plenty of things that are going right. MT volume 5 looks good, the storyline for chapter 9 is progressing well, i can walk again, and... well, some other things that i hope to be able to tell you about in a few weeks. :)

Take care, and see everyone when we get back!

< Dom >

Picture taken from Big Bang Beat

"Unconventional conventioneering"

Sunday - May 27, 2007

[Dom] - 22:00:00 - [link here]

I'm sitting here playing Big Bang Beat with my Hori stick (thanks for pointing out those XBCD drivers, guys, they're working like a dream) and thinking "Holy crap, I haven't ranted in three weeks!"

I should fix that. Especially since Fred just called me to say that I need to keep the site interesting while he's gone.

So with that in mind, I'd like to talk about Fanime - not just the con itself, but about the convention experience in general.

These days, a lot of my friends have drifted away from the anime convention scene as they've gotten older and the average attendee has not - sometimes, it's hard to adjust to a world where most of the people are half your age. Me, I'm gonna be around for years, and more often than not, I'm gonna love the experience.

I didn't always think this was going to be the case - there was a period when I almost burned out from going to too many shows and trying to do too much. Fred has had his brushes with burnout too, and low tides tend to synchronize, sort of like webcomic menstrual cycles or something. But both of us took a break, refilled our energy tanks and came back into it with renewed vigor.

I can't speak for Fred, but in my case, there are a few reasons I was able to recover from burnout. Contrary to popular belief, it's not just because I like the attention from being on stage and making an ass of myself for MegaTokyo fans. Heck, my favorite thing to do at conventions is walk around and talk to people, so the attention whoring at panels is just a nice diversion. No, it's because after a decade of trying out every aspect of anime conventions - I've been a guest, I've staffed, I've worked at more than a couple of dealer booths, I've run fan panels, I've even appeared in a cosplay event or two - I was able to pinpoint exactly why I like the convention experience.

When you get right down to it, the convention experience is about meeting with people who are just as nerdy as you are (and before the snarky comments come in, yes, I've found very very few people who are as nerdy as I am - the president of Gainax and the Comic Party manga artist have both stood in awe at my geekiness). The experience of meeting people is fun for pretty much everyone, and that doesn't just go for attendees.

Greg Dean and Inui Sekihiko both said at Fanime that meeting with fans is a lot of fun, and I agree wholeheartedly. There's nothing quite as fun as a good question and answer session, where you actually feel like you're communicating back and forth instead of just spitting out stock answers or saying "thanks" a lot.

It's especially fun for the Japanese guests at these cons. The average fan interaction at, say, Comike goes something like this:

Fan: I'd like one of these, please.
Artist: That'll be 500 yen. Thank you very much!
Fan: Thank you!
(fan moves to next table on his list)

It's not much more interactive at so-called fan events, which are more like shows, with accepted times to clap and cheer and no real dialogue. So especially for the Japanese guests, the chance to sit down and talk with fans is precious and in some cases, addictive. Yamaga Hiroyuki of Gainax has gone to Fanime every year for what seems like forever, while Tomokazu Seki takes time out of his schedule to go to AX every year - there simply is nothing like an American convention.

I've rambled on a little too much about this already, so I'm going to put individual Fanime stories in another rant. Just keep this in mind if you ever go to your local anime/comic convention: an autograph may look nice on your shelf, but the real value of that autograph comes from being able to talk to the person behind the signature. You'll have a story to share and a memory to treasure (and sometimes, they will too).

Next time: all the other fun things to do at these cons.

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