Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Youmacon Wrap-Up 2012

Youmacon 2012 gave Imaginos Workshop another awesome opportunity to spread the word about our work and talk with fans of comics, anime, manga and storytelling. Youmacon, a relatively young anime convention in downtown Detroit, attracts an enthusiastic crowd of die-hard fans and creative cosplayers. I was impressed with the huge number of people cosplaying in Detroit for the weekend. I'm new to the world of anime and manga, so a lot of the costumes went over my head. But I could appreciate the time, money and creativity of the cosplayers, and there was some crossover: I saw characters from movies and video games as well, along with several Doctor Who's and Walter Whites. The con itself showed some serious growing pains. Registration for many was a lengthy and confusing process, and one that involved waiting in lines, wandering various floors of registration, and walking back and forth between Cobo and the Ren Cen. These are organizational problems that will hopefully get worked out as the convention grows and perfects itself. Despite these issues, the overall attitude at the convention was one of conciliatory excitement.

Star Wars maintained a presence amid the anime and manga cosplayers.

Imaginos Workshop handed out posters, flyers, business cards, stickers and our new "Dirty Weaponry" sketch book. We talked as much as we could with people, and tried to make inroads with a crowd that wasn't our normal demographic: an anime convention is not the same thing as a comic convention, but people still seemed encouraging of our work. This convention also marked our first official, public collaboration with the girls producing the webcomic Mutare Ludum. Their names are Danielle Todd and April Cox, and they've evolved from Mark's students to peers and promising young artists. They are developing a webcomic that is parts fantasy and horror; you can check out their blog here.

Probably the most encouraging part of the whole weekend for me was Imaginos Workshop's public panel How To Create Comics, led by our own Mark Dudley. He led a panel that quickly turned into a fun, interactive discussion on constructing, writing and drawing comics from start to finish. We had good attendance and the people there were enthusiastic and engaged. Nick and Joe also contributed to the panel by leading some of the discussion and answering questions. Even Danielle and April were able to add some words of wisdom. Unfortunately the panel was cut shorter due to an oversight on the part of the convention planners (not the last time that happened over the weekend) but it was still a good experience. After the panel ended, a group of artists, fans and writers hung out and talked with us about creating stories and drawing. It was fun and informative, and it gave us all some great connections and interactions with people that are all part of the wide web of creative industries in Michigan.

Mark Dudley leads the How To Create Comics panel.
We are still working on our Imaginos Plus comic book, part of which will be sent to Image Comics on completion so hopefully we can get a publisher for our work. We also have movie scripts and video projects in the works, and we want to continue pushing our online presence and interacting with what we hope will be a growing and loyal fan base.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Imaginos NOW!!!!!


This year we did five cons; C2E2, Motorcity Con, Motorcity Black Age, Detroit Fanfare and Youmacon.

Youmacon was a lot of fun as we not only got a chance to make new fans with our sketchbook DIRTY WEAPONRY, which we gave out and went like hotcakes... 

...but we were also able to get some very important feedback. We got to spread our working philosophy via our How To Create Comics Panel Discussion, which went really well. And we were able to debut Mutare Ludumthe fantasy horror webcomic from two of Imaginos' newest student-turned-members, Danielle Todd and April Cox.

We kicked off our Kickstarter and made the decision to suspend it in lieu of taking more time to cement our identity in the local comics community. We took at lot of footage for our fledgling YouTube network IMAGINOS TV and made some slight but welcome changes to our podcast, the Honeycomb Hideout.
We also got a bit closer on our script, which we are trying to sell. So whats next? 

Well, by year's end we need to have all 18 pages of the Imaginos Sampler penciled and lettered. We have to get penciling work done on the various posters and other swag for our push next year, and we have to get started shooting our new Kickstarter video. Remember the new Kickstarter initiative is going live FEB 15th, 2013. 

We also have to sit down and tighten up the podcast even more and make sure that it is more informative than it is now, and get ready to start taking live callers via Google Plus. I would also like to see regular updates and interviews on IMAGINOS TV. 

We are planning on getting our film script done and ready for final edits, along with other super secret things going on in the TV Arena, so stay tuned. We are starting to get our ancillary stuff like T-shirts, Stickers, Business cards and the like ready for C2E2. We need to utilize social media far more effectively than we have to start connecting in a  more meaningful way with our fan base. Finally, we are getting ready to solidify our educational drive by preparing to teach a comic book and storyboarding course at Youthville, in Detroit's New Center Area and at Comic City Pontiac.

The work is never done. We are working to build something really strong here and its going to take everyone involved to do so. I am confident that we have what it takes to make it happen. 


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Youmacon 2012: Day 2 Update

It's Friday night at 2 AM and the arcade in the Ontario Room of the Renaissance Center is humming. The lights are dim and groups of people crowd around the glow of flat screen TV's or stand, mashing buttons at old-school arcade kiosks. Here, after the main events of Youmacon's second day have ended, people show no signs of sleep just yet. There is a truly eclectic mix of games present, creating a hybrid sort of arcade that sits old school and new school side by side. Players can get a heavy dose of nostalgia with classics like TMNT, Captain America: and The Avengers and the 6-player X-Men arcade. These occupy the same space as popular newer series like Halo, Call of Duty and Gears of War. Gamers crowd around several TV's of Super Smash Bros, both on the GameCube and the Wii. For gamers and curious cosplayers, the Ontario room arcade represents an intoxicating and unique time warp, representing decades of gaming all in one room.

The Renaissance Center shares hosting duties with Detroit's Cobo Hall.
Youmacon, Detroit's fastest growing anime convention also attracts fans of manga, comics, video games and movies. 10,000 people attended the convention last year and the event has been growing since its inception in 2004. The event held in downtown Detroit brings out passionate fans and a remarkably high number of cosplayers: the variety, quality and uniqueness of the costumes are impressive. After the convention's normal hours wrap up and artists' alley closes down for the day, many attendees are just getting started. There are panels and events well into the night, and places like the arcade room never close down. It is a four day, 24-hour long event, and the Renaissance Center is completely booked for it.

Friday was a busy and eventful day at the event, and we spent the first part of the day at our Imaginos Workshop tables, talking with people, taking pictures and handing out swag like posters, stickers and sketch books. We recorded an interview with veteran anime voice actor Sonny Strait, who is most known for his work on Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist and One Piece. He has also done voice acting for video games including Splosion Man and Borderlands 2. Later, we held a panel on creating comics and stories: the process from beginning to end. By that point in the night it was time for many to get some much needed rest. For many others roaming the halls and rooms of the Renaissance Center, and sitting down to play some of their favorite games of yesterday and today, the night was still very young.