Sydney Supanova goes supernova!

Wednesday, 26 June, 2013

Time for a detailed Supanova recap! (It's becoming a tradition! Also, I found my blog posts from 2006 and 2007 and now I feel old. But it's strange: rereading them makes me remember so much!)

Friday 21st June

It was my day to sleep in a little, so Ben handled the breakfast shift. The weather wasn't great so Astrid and I just hung out at home—playing with Duplo and stuff like that. I should have booked a childcare session for that afternoon because my mum was away, but I failed to read my calendar correctly and missed out on a spot because I tried to book too late. Ah well. Ben very generously offered to come home early from work. So I fed Astrid lunch, put her down for her nap, wrote a blog post, and then she woke up just before Ben got home, which was good timing. Most of my stuff was already in the car because I'd taken it down the night before, so I was good to go.

Traffic out to Sydney Olympic Park was a bit ridiculous, but I expected that, given it was Friday afternoon between 4 and 5. I got an excellent parking spot in P1 and walked over to The Dome where a queue had already formed for the evening's program. I also saw the Channel 7 truck; it was probably there to film the stars.

I needed to pick up parking passes so walked around to the office, which was shut despite the fact it wasn't 5:30pm yet (which had been the advertised closing time). There was someone in it, however, and she let me in through the side, and then the lady who was supposed to be on reception and who had just stepped out for a moment came back and gave me all my parking passes with much pleasantness and efficiency. (I only mention it because last year security had no idea where they were and I hadn't realised I had to pick them up by a certain time.)

Then I tried to find the way in and was told by security that I had to go around the back to the loading dock, which meant I walked back and forth across the same space several times in my boots that I should have worn thick socks with, so I developed a mild blister on the ball of one foot. The gate to the loading dock was locked and there was no one to let us in, but I and another girl who was exhibiting attracted the attention of a security guard who let us in. I picked up my Artists Alley exhibitor pack at the desk near the loading dock and went to find my table, which I was sharing with the lovely Nathan Seabolt, whom I had met through the Sydney Comics Guild. (Nathan, unfortunately, had accidentally left his mobile at home and so messaged me through Facebook to meet him outside at a certain time as he couldn't notify me that he'd arrived.)

Set up didn't take very long—10 minutes, tops. I think I've got it down to a fine art! My side of the table looked like this:


I'd asked to be next to the Sydney Comics Guild and Paul Caggegi (creator of Pandeia and my table mate at the MCA Zine Fair). (Oh, good one, Karen! I never blogged about that, did I … Later.) I think it worked well to be surrounded by comics people because it meant that people who were interested in comics would linger around us, moving slowly from table to table. An unexpected side effect was that I was asked about Sydney Comics Guild stuff (which I was happy to talk about, since I know stuff and am involved with the guild, and as they ran out of flyers, I found myself writing their web address on our postcards to give to people) and sometimes people wanted to purchase SCG merchandise from me and I would have to direct them to the people actually looking after that table.

Then I settled in, expecting just to kill time until I would have to go meet Nathan. But then I got introduced to Bruce Mutard, who is a legend in the Australian comics scene, and I spent a significant chunk of time in conversation with him as he gave me pointers about where to promote Kinds of Blue. And also Paul Caggegi was around so I got to say hi to him briefly before he went off to the Aussie Creators Catch Up, hosted by Geek Speak.

While this was all happening, forklifts carrying pallets were going back and forth down our aisle because we were on the first aisle of Artists Alley facing the booths. It meant that we all had to wear our safety vests, and also the SCG people were getting told off for standing in the aisles (which they kind of had to do as there were nine of them trying to set up their stuff on the one table). Also, the Batmobile was doing a very slow three-point turn in a very squashy part of the con floor, and of course, everyone gathered around to take photos.


I went out to meet Nathan, who happened to find Alex (founder of the SCG) outside. I don't know how he managed to bring everything in, given he was taking public transport, but he did an admirable job! I helped him set up as there were a few things that still needed cutting up (signs and the like). But I was also hungry and conscious of the fact that the Aussie Creator Catch Up had already started. Nathan said he wasn't feeling well and wouldn't make it after all, so I said goodbye to him and walked with a few of the SCG people over to Ribs and Rumps, where everyone else had already gathered and were already eating. Most of the seats were already taken, so we started a new table, but most of the others wanted to meet people so managed to squeeze onto existing tables. I ended up spending most of the dinner talking to Alan, which was totally fine with me as I am not good in group social situations and I was really tired by that stage. It did mean, however, that I didn't end up meeting some of the other creators, but hopefully I'll be able to do that another time.

After dinner, Alex, Yonas and Alan took me up on my offer of lifts, so we headed back to my car, I removed the carseat (but forgot about the childlock) and I drove them all home since they weren't that far away from my place anyway. (I remember what it was like to not be able to drive or not have a car or both. I was always very grateful to those kind people who gave me lifts. So this is a way of paying it forward.) I also arranged to pick them all up again (plus Hilary) in the morning.

Then I went home, took out the carseat and all extraneous materials, brought my suitcase upstairs, filled it again with books (as I hadn't brought the books because the other stuff took up all the room), took it back to the car along with the vacuum cleaner, then vacuumed the entire car because it's been a long while since the carseat was out and there was a lot of dirt/twigs/leaves/crumbs all over that portion of the back seat. Ben and Leigh were watching movies in the lounge room. I planned my clothes for the following day (which is a little tricky because Supanova in winter rules out a lot of things. I had decided not to cosplay, but I did want to wear some of the things I don't normally get to wear because they're a bit too unusual for the everyday). Then I had a shower so I wouldn't have to have one in the morning and went to bed at around 1.

Saturday 22nd June

I was up just before 7. I made lunch, ate a quick breakfast and was out the door by 7:30. I picked up Yonas, then Alan, then Hilary, then Alex. It was raining cats and dogs and it was bitterly cold, so I was glad that I could be of service to everyone in that way. We drove out to Sydney Olympic Park and I got an excellent spot close to where I had been the night before. Then we all walked over to The Dome, where a large queue had already started forming, and onto the floor.

Nathan had already arrived, soldiering on, despite being sick. I set up the books and my float, then did a quick dash around to buy things before they opened the floor because I knew that if I tried to do so later, the crush of people would make it near impossible. Here's a pic of my final con haul:


I got most of those signed too (though Tom Taylor took some tracking down!)


We had been told that the doors would be open to the public at 9 am, even though that had not been advertised. However, things didn't quite go to plan, and the doors opened a bit later than that. Here's Nathan at our table:


Around 10 I went out to meet Bec, who was helping me for the day. And then we spent the rest of the time tag-teaming—handing out postcards, selling books (we ended up selling out of every copy I had brought with me, plus a few more when I said I'd ship it to the reader for free), Bec occasionally dashing off to a panel, me dashing off to find people, and so on.

Oh, and of course, photographing the cosplayers: My Little Ponies


Jarreth from The Labyrinth (who I think was my favourite):


The queen from Snow White and the Huntsman:


Garth from Wayne's World, and No Face and Chihiro from Spirited Away:


Bane (from the Batman books):


Ramona Flowers (from the Scott Pilgrrim books):




Babydoll from Suckerpunch:


Mr and Mrs Incredible from The Incredibles:


Link from The Legend of Zelda:


Death, from The Sandman series:


And I managed to get a photo of the Tardis from Dr Who as well (which I must confess I have never seen … oh the shame!)


The rumour is that this day had the highest attendance of any Supanova ever. It certainly felt like that sometimes!

Bec left at 5 and I handled the last hour by myself (though I wasn't by myself since Nathan was still around). When the con finally closed to the day, I was pretty shattered. I dropped Yonas home (the others had already gone, I think), then came home, lugged my suitcase up the stairs, filled it again with more books and postcards, lugged it back down the stairs again and put it in the car, and spent the rest of the evening with Ben, hanging out and watching Miranda, knitting and going to bed too late.

Sunday 23rd June

I was only picking up Alex and Hilary this morning, so I was up a little later this morning. I wore more sensible clothes (i.e. no velvet!) and my favourite coat Tree of Life coat. We parked in the same place as before, then headed over to The Dome. Again, people were already lining up. Again, Nathan had beaten me there, but he had gone off to explore before the doors opened. I thought that was a good idea, so did that too. Here are more photos: a statue of Gollum at the WETA Workshop booth:




A giant mechanical Predator:


Iron Man mark 1 (the top half):


Weapons at Global Gear:


R2 Units and K9:


It was nice to walk around and see everything before it got busy. The con floor opened close to 10 am and Fiona, my helper for the day, arrived. I actually hadn't seen her since the Kinds of Blue launch, and we had a bit of trouble spotting each other in the crowd. Also, I should have brought an umbrella. Anyways, I finally found her and got her inside, then sent her off to explore before she took the next shift.

Once again, it was pretty much constant, handing out postcards and selling books all day. But I did manage to attend the Zack Snyder panel (director of Man of Steel, the new Superman movie. Just trying to explain things for my friends who aren't into pop culture). I loved the advice he gave to an aspiring director/camera operator—which was basically shoot stuff (on film!), make stuff, work on other people's projects, get as much experience as possible and develop your own voice or style. (Very similar to what other creative people say, which gives me hope for my graphic novel.)


I also made it to the “Local Heroes” panel, where Tristan Jones, Paul Bedford and Ryan K Lindsay talked about comics and how they got their start in the business. Unfortunately Tristan had to leave part-way through the panel, but it was nice to hear him banter with the other guys about the industry and ways of working. Both Paul and Ryan said they have full-time jobs, but whereas Paul is expecting his first child this year, Ryan already has two rugrats who are under three, and it was hilarious watching Paul's face as Ryan described his work routine (which consists of getting up when his kids get up—around 4 or 5 am—getting ready and getting breakfast for the entire family [his wife gets breakfast in bed every morning], then going to work as a primary school teacher, coming home and doing dinner, bath and bedtime routine, spending some quality time with his wife, then knuckling down to work for a few hours in the evening before bed) and all the things he's given up to maintain his current work habits and lifestyle. It was a great panel and it was a shame there weren't more people there to hear it.


Here are more of my photos of cosplayers: a yip yip from Sesame Street:


Roxie Richter and Ramona Flowers from the Scott Pilgrim series:


The black knight from Monty Python's Holy Grail:


The Mad Hatter from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland:


(Interesting that that particularly character has gained something of an iconic status now rather than John Tenniel's hatter. Or even Disney's, for that matter.)

Kiki from Kik's Delivery Service (I loved how much Studio Ghibli cosplay there was this year):


And finally the only Slave Leia at the convention (probably because it was too cold! But because she was the only one, she and the 501st Legion got to lead Carrie Fisher into the auditorium together):


These lovely ladies weren't cosplaying, but still looked fabulous anyway:


(The one on the right is Jemima Trappel, artist on “A friend in need”.)

Here's also a shot of Nathan drawing a commission:


At the end of the con, we'd sold a whopping 41 books and given out close to 2000 postcards. In fact, we ended up running out of postcards and had to resort to my business cards instead. That blew me away: tabling at the previous Supanovas hadn't been like that! (Location probably had a lot to do with it, I think.)

We packed up pretty quick, but I had to wait around for the SCG people to finish up because I was giving them lifts (and Fiona generously offered to give people lifts too since they were in her area). I ended up helping them count money and tidy, but it did mean that we were there for heaps longer than I had expected. Then I dropped both Alex and Hilary off, drove home, tried to reinstall the carseat (and gave up because I was hungry and tired, so I asked Ben to have a look and he had a go, but couldn't fix it, though he did end up being able to fix it the following day, thank goodness), went upstairs to say hello to my family and eat something, did the dishes and pretty much collapsed and slept for nine hours, having contracted a cold over the weekend.

Anyways, despite getting sick, it was a brilliant weekend! Here's a few links I will leave you with: Nathan's post on how it all went and Bec's glorious photos (here's one of hers of our table):


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