A Period Of Recovery


I know I won’t be able to properly communicate how incredible the first New England Webcomics Weekend was, so I’ll simply try to recount a some of the events and people that made the weekend so special.

I landed in Connecticut around 1pm on Friday and the power of twitter brought me together with Chris and Jorge for a ride into Easthampton. Both very cool guys. I enjoyed the ride and hanging out with them the rest of the weekend.

Friday Night was the Pub Crawl. I met up with Randy Milholland, Danielle Corsetto and Angela Melick at my hotel and we hit the town. Randy (who ended up being a fellow Dallasite, ended up giving me rides all weekend for which I can not thank him enough) met up with some friends so the girls and I hit up a sushi joint called “Moshi Moshi.” We spent most of the evening at a bar called “The Tunnel” which was literally a tunnel turned night spot. There we met up with Kris Straub (who it turns out can shatter a cocktail glass with his mind) and virtually every other cartoonist on the planet (Kurtz, Kellet, Guigar, Barnes, Abominable, Sohmer et al). Make sure you check out Angela’s comic “Wasted Talent.” I watched her draw this one for most of the weekend, while she and I hung out. She’s a fantastic artist and excellent con-company (don’t hold it against her, but she’s also Canadian).

Around 1am I met up with Paperklip and went to Jeff and Holly Wigu’s house for a proposed BSG finale party. The torrent never finished so people drank and we played “Encore” (a music game where you have to sing songs with certain words or themes). Cartoonists in attendance that night were Jon Goatsenberg, Randall XKCD, Joey Softer World, Chris Yates (so drunk he thought I was a chair),  Ryansaurus Rex (I think he was there) and most of the rest of New England.

Saturday brought the first day of the show. I rode with my roommate T. Campbell. Very nice guy, though he stole my suitcase and is holding it hostage as I type (more on that later). The fan response on Saturday was overwhelming. They were like hungry webcomics piranha. I met even more great cartoonists (Octopus Mer, Diesel Stevens, Questionable Jacques, Anders Loves Renee, WonderMalki and Templar Spike to name a few). Saturday afternoon I got to kick off the “Livedrawing With a Cintiq” panel for a decent sized crowd. Based on audience suggestions I drew a dinosaur that hunts and kills unicorns and keeps their horns as trophies. He already had a knitting monkey helper on his back. KC Green, and Kurtz finished up the panel. Fans were coming up to me all weekend saying they loved the panel which really made me feel like a part of the “Webcomics Cool Kids Club.” I even got to do a few con-sketches (posted on Flickr) and conduct an interview on WW for Newsarama. I was also introduced to the concept of “Free Professional Massages for Cartoonists.” WTF, right? Where has this been until now?

Saturday night we had a cartoonists dinner party. Cartoonists likes their Chinese food. Randy took me back to the hotel around 10pm and I met my new roommate Krishna from PC Weenies. We had a lot in common as budding cartoonists and new fathers.

Sunday was much more low key. Many cartoonists were either dead tired, sold out of merch or on a plane home. I hung out backstage mostly having only had a few hours of sleep until the closing awards ceremony. Guys, do yourselves a favor and check out the video bumpers Dishliquid (yes, that’s Fancy Bastard Dishliquid) made for the awards show. He had the whole crowd of rolling and rightly so. I realized that afternoon that T. had already hit the road for Virginia and I had forgotten to take my suitcase out of his car. This caused a little panic at the end of the day but we eventually touched base and got it worked out.

I had to skip the cartoonists closing dinner that night so JustChristine and I could hit the road. I stayed with her and JohnnyAce Sunday night, we watched the BSG finale and I flew out of Newark that morning. I have to say a special thanks to JustChristine for making this trip happen for me. She provided the plane ticket and room and board and was a pheonominal host. She also volunteered for Webcomics Weekend and worked her ass off while the rest of us partied. She’s a trooper.

Ok, more thank you’s:

  • Danielle and Angela for being my WW running crew
  • Rich and Mer for making me feel like I belonged there
  • Jon Rosenberg for general awesomeness
  • Jeff and Holly for inviting me into their home and also the general awesomeness thing
  • T. and Krishna for sharing the hotel room with me
  • Bill for te Uke lesson
  • Randy for all the rides and terrifying con stories
  • Meredith again for making this unreal weekend a possibility

The best way to explain the magic of Webcomics Weekend was that everything that could have gone wrong DIDN’T. Everyone helped everyone. It was like a model for a perfect society. There was no greed or diva behavior. Everyone treated each other with respect and contributed what they could for the greater good. It was like a little pocket of perfect communal existence. I think we can chalk that up to the fact that webcomics readers are the greatest people on the planet.

I will certainly be there next year. Will you? Were you there? What was your favorite part.

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  1. Sounds like an awesome time! I think if I would've gone, I would've probably ended up the quiet guy in the corner with a beer, looking longingly at Jeph Jacques the whole time.

      • Can't say I blame him. Must say I agree on the general awesomeness of Jon Rosenberg. I gave him a Rockstar at NYCC and he TALKED TO ME. I might have a teeny braincrush.
        Crazy disappointed that I couldn't go, but I will be there next year if it means car theft!

    • well if i went there, i would be the (case of Joel Watson, Randall Munroe or Gabe and Tycho) "omg! you make my favorite Webcomic! give me your autograph!" or in the case of scott rammsonnair "omg! you make one of my fave webcomics! give me a sample of your DNA so i can make 10 clones of you to make VGcats updated more frequently!"
      Seriously, that comic updates one a MONTH!

  2. I was editing most of the weekend, so I didn't get the full experience, but I had a fantastic time. Next year I'll have them finished ahead of time so I can meet everyone.

  3. Great post, glad to hear it was an awesome event, in all seriousness what would a reader like me gain from attending, or is it meant for artists themselves. I live in NY so it wouldnt be that far for me (hence my question)

    • It was supposed to be a cartoonist's party that quickly evolved into a con. A plus for any reader/fan that wants to hang out with and buy stuff from their favorite webcomic creators.

  4. It was an awesome time! So glad I got to meet you, even if it did require me stalking you through the crowd. 8)

  5. too bad you missed out on BSG. it is a epic ending to the series. very fitting, and very surprising last shot. no spoilers but, holy crap it was awesome

  6. Glad to hear you had such an awesome time, you certainly deserve it Joel. Can't wait to hear you talk all about it on the podcast!

    PS Man, you drew Josh pretty svelte in this comic! In my experience lab coats tend to exaggerate someone's body shape 😛

  7. It was totally excellent meeting you! Thank you SO much for the awesome sketch, for me it's a perfect reminder of the weekend.

    I had a blast talking to people while I was working registration all day Saturday, plus I got to go to the live draw, so that was pretty kickass.

    And it was pretty cool watching the finale of BSG with you and JonnyAce, even given the fact that I've never watched a single episode of the series before.

    I'm sorry about my rideshare giving you a noogie though.

    I shared this with you on Twitter, but for the rest of you FBs, here's an article I was interviewed for for Publishers Weekly, where I made sure to get my mention of HE in: http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6646261

  8. I wonder how well known Joel was at NEWW. He's a relatively smaller scale webcomic, I'd think. Not small in a bad way, but he's no Scott Kurtz or Jeph Jacques.

  9. "but he's no Scott Kurtz or Jeph Jacques" I dont think we really look at things in those terms. I dont want to be either of those dudes. Their audiences are there because of the comics they make. They probably wouldnt like my comic. Kurtz might need 150,000 readers to make a living and HE might only need 40,000. Its not apples to apples. Webcomics success is a VERY subjective thing.

  10. Ironically I love all three comics, but you have a point – you guys are so dissimilar in content and humor that I could see a lack of crossover. On the other hand, geek is geek so you never know. And of course, not so long ago Jeph Jacques wasn't Jeph Jacques either so you never know.

    Excellent point that success is a relative concept on the interwubs, whether it b comics or anything else. What might be right for you, might not be right for some….

  11. While I loved meeting the Halfpixel guys and of course Danielle, I was really looking forward to meeting you too. Hope to be able to stay in touch.

  12. Can't say that without starting me singing Rodgers & Hart:

    In our little den of iniquity
    For a girly and boy,

    We'll sit and let the hours pass;
    A canopy bed has so much class,

    And so's a ceiling made of glass-
    Oh, what joy!

    Love has been that way since antiquity,
    Down to you and me.

    The radio, I used to hate,
    But now when it is dark and late
    Tchaikovsky's "1812" sounds great-*
    That's for me,

    In our little den of iniquity.

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