There's a pretty cool event comic up here in Lubbock, Texas. We have our very own comic book convention, and while not San Diego or ECCC yet, it's growing every year. In a two-part series, I've conducted short email interviews with two of the men responsible for getting this event started in the first place. You'll get to see some insight into how a comics community operates in a city separated from major metropolitan areas, and hopefully if you live around here, you'll be enticed to attend! So without further ado, here's the first part:
The interviewee for this section is Robert Mora, owner and proprietor of Star Books and Comics in Lubbock:
Sam: First off, what was your inspiration to help start something like the Lubbock Comic Book Expo? When and where in Lubbock was the first one held?
Robert Mora: My initial inspiration for the Lubbock Comic Book Expo was Will Terrell. He conceived the idea as a way to introduce the Lubbock community to comics and comic book creators. The transition from idea to an actual event changed over the course of several months. Finally the first Lubbock Comic Book Expo occurred on May 3rd, 2008 at the Lubbock Science Spectrum.
S: What are some of the challenges you've run in to trying to plan and hold a convention in an area like Lubbock, TX? What would you consider the most difficult challenge you've had to work through to either get the convention started or keep it going these past few years?
RM: The main challenge is finding the time to organize and put together a show of any significant size. It requires meeting, phone calls, rejections, emails, nail biting, etc... We have always had a wonderful group of individuals willing to step in and assist. There could always be more.
S: Has the convention been growing in size and attendance according to any projections you might have had from the initial planning?
RM: The first Expo that we held blew away my expectations. The only problem with planning for larger numbers, is it requires more hours and more money to make it happen. We are getting there, but it will just take time and experience.
S: Has the city management been supportive in your efforts to hold a convention of this nature in Lubbock, TX?
RM: The city has been great. We couldn't be more pleased with our relationship with the Lubbock Arts Alliance and the Lubbock Arts Festival. The Arts Alliance has been very accommodating. We are hyper aware that we are creating an all ages and educational experience with the Lubbock Comic Book Expo. That was our decision from the beginning. If you look at other conventions that revolve around comics, they are not always made with all audiences in mind. That is not a negative thing by any stretch. They are planning for a particular audience. That is what we are doing as well.
S: OK, last two questions: What is your hands down favorite memory or experience you've had at the Lubbock Comic Book Expo? When and where is this year's Expo being held, and what can attendees expect when they arrive?
RM: My favorite memory of the Lubbock Comic Book Expo would have to be from May 2009. That was our first Expo with the Lubbock Arts Festival. Preparation for that show was exhausting. Our scope almost doubled in size from the year before and it felt like we bit off a little more than we could chew. We arrived early at the Civic Center on Saturday morning to get set up. As I was going back and forth between the parking lot and the building to bring merchandise inside, there was a small group forming at the door. As we were bringing the last cart of books inside the building, the group started cheering for us. The thing was, they weren't cheering for us as people. They were cheering for the comics on the cart. It was a little tongue in cheek fun, but they did show up early, and were willing to stand in line just see a local comic book show. The line grew to about 50 or more people before the event started. It may not sound like a lot, but it was a visual reminder that there was an audience for what we were working so hard for.
This year's show is April 9th & 10th at the Lubbock Civic Center 2nd Floor Mezzanine.
Saturday show time is 10am - 7pm
Sunday show time is 12 noon - 5pm
We will have artists and vendors from Lubbock, Austin, Dallas, & more. Ben Dunn (Ninja High School) will be our special guest.
Kid's sketch area sponsored by the Lubbock Sketch Club
Members of the 501st will be in attendance and in uniform
Panel of events:
10:30 am - Rob Weiner: Sequential Art, Comics, and the Long Road to Respect
11:30 am - Creator Panel, featuring artists attending the expo moderated by Will Terrell
1:00 pm - Costume Contest w/ Prizes
2:30 pm - Kevin Jones: Introduction to 3D animation
4:00 pm - Iron Artist Competition
5:30pm - Daniel Ballard presents an original short film "Alike in Dignity" (24 minutes) w/ discussion and Q&A
1:00 pm - Rob Weiner: Superheroes on Film and TV- Historical Survey
2:00 pm - Ben Dunn Q&A
3:30 pm - Lubbock Comics Panel: Building the Local Scene
There you have it, part one with some great info on where this event is being held, and why you definitely need to check it out. I'd like to thank Rob for agreeing to take time out of his schedule to answer these questions for me, especially since I had the immaculate timing to ask them while he's helping with this year's convention! Some helpful sites for info on this include: