The Grand Comic Con Experiment

January 23rd, 2015 | Posted in News

Comic ConThe Lovely Anna at NYCC, ready to help you!

I tried a bit of an experiment in 2014… doing a lot of comic book conventions. This is something I hadn’t ever done in the past because, well, MAD is sort of the red-headed stepchild of that kind of crowd. Yes, everyone’s heard of it and the magazine has a core group of devoted fans, but it isn’t the sort of thing that gets people to stand in line unless your name is Drucker, Jaffee, Aragonés or others of legendary stature. Still, in the last few years I did start to have something I did not have before… stuff to sell. I have my book, and the LE prints I have been doing. I also bring along original MAD art, which I only occasionally sell any of because I charge a lot for them as I’d rather keep it than sell it for cheap. It does give people something to look at, though. Of course I also do drawings, caricatures of people and commissions of celebrities or whatever. So, in the last year or so I’ve done conventions big and small. I did smaller cons in Dallas, Grand Rapids and Pittsburgh last year as well as big ones in Chicago, New York and San Diego.

What I discovered is that, while often more fun and interesting to be a part of, the smaller conventions don’t pay enough of the bills to make sense doing. It was great meeting people and the folks who run these conventions are very hospitable and take great care of their guests, but at the end of the day it’s time away from the studio and that only makes sense if the dollars roughly match up. Sad, but basic economics. In most cases I was a guest at these cons where they generously paid for my travel and lodging expenses, and even then sales at the end of the day just didn’t make sense. That is not their fault, it’s mine. I don’t have what their attendees are looking for. As much as I appreciated the invitation and the generosity, I won’t be doing many (or any) of these smaller cons anymore. I cancelled my appearance in Monterrey, Mexico next month and turned down a few offers to be a guest at other cons. I feel like I’m taking their money and not bringing any people in for them, besides not making enough myself for it to be financially viable.

That’s the bad news. The good news is several of the larger cons I did were terrific. I drew my ass off and we did great in book, print and even some original art sales. So here are a few comic cons you’ll see me at in 2015:

New York is not guaranteed because, unlike most comic cons, you are required to reapply and get approved for a space there every year. That is actually a really cool policy, because it means you don’t have “squatters” who keep taking up space and not giving anyone else a chance to get in. I gave up trying to get into conventions like Megacon or Emerald City Con because the waiting lists were ridiculous.

The even better news is I will have my own booth this year at San Diego. Look for me in space G-04! There will be more news about commissions and other new stuff when the new website debuts here in the next few weeks.

Hope to see you at one of these shows!


  1. I’ll be sure to visit you in May. I got a 3-day pass for wizard con for Christmas.

  2. Michael King says:

    Hmmmm why don’t you send one of the many closest mimics of your style in your name and keep the advertisement going and help them and you and the little guy?

  3. Don Vaughan says:

    Hope you’ll one day attend Heroes Comic Con in Charlotte, NC, Tom. It’s extremely well attended, and draws top creators. I think you’d enjoy it.

  4. I dropped by and bought one of your Avengers pages. So great to see you finally!

  5. […] cartoonist Tom Richmond is cutting back on some of smaller comic conventions this year, according to his blog, but you’ll still be able to find him at SDCC this […]

  6. Tots says:

    Arrgh Tom! I had NO IDEA you were in Dallas or I absolutely would have been there to hand over my cold, hard cash.

    I’ll keep a closer eye on the page so if you come back I can introduce myself. You’ve already autographed my book, but I would love a caricature of my fat, hairy self and a hearty handshake from a fan to a fellow artist. (Me being the fan. My art work is annoying potty humor, but it does amuse me from time to time. 😉 )

    • Tom says:

      There’s a chance I will be back to Dallas. The comic book show we did there was a gathering of MAD folks and I loved getting together with them. There’s talk of doing that again. Keep an eye out on the blog about that.


Sketch o'the Week- Natalia Dyer! @strangerthingstv #strangerthings #nataliadyer @mad.magazine

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