New York Comic Con 2021 seemingly marked the triumphant return of comic conventions after the world collectively took a hiatus for reasons we need not discuss here. Now that comic cons are back, Ryan Stegman and Donny Cates are finding themselves back on the road and busier than ever before. Check out this mini installment of Ryan and Donny’s Half-Assed Substack Podcast to hear the boys’ thoughts and feelings about being back at shows!
Donny Cates: Hello, everyone. My name is Donny Cates, this is Ryan Stegman. This is one of those things that we do. I don't even know why I keep doing these intros, they show up in your email box, and they say what the fuck they are. But anyway, this is one of those Half-Assed Substack Podcast things that we do. And today we're talking about comic book cons. Man, they're back! And we are back at them. There's pros and cons, right? We are pros at cons.
Ryan Stegman: (Cut that. Cut that, guys.)
Donny: What are the pros and cons of a show for you, Ryan?
Ryan: The pros are just feeling like our work matters and that we're not creating stuff in a vacuum. I feel like I used to have that issue real strong, because I was doing smaller stuff. But, you know, now I always feel pretty loved. It's great to see other people that do the same job as you and you get to hang out, like in New York, we got to go to Scott Snyder's party, Scottoberfest. We got to see all those great creators there and talk to them. The bad is that I left there, and I felt off for a few days, and I ended up with bronchitis. We call it “con crud”. This last time, I got it bad. And I ended up having to be on antibiotics and steroids and all that good stuff. My doctor definitely thought I had COVID. He gave me a lecture when I went in, x-rayed me, still thought I had COVID. And then we found, through the PCR test, that I did not have it, and I only had bronchitis. I'm back at 100% now, but that was pretty shitty.
Donny: Yeah, I think my pros and cons are very much aligned with yours. Obviously, you know, being back with the fans is a huge thing. It's very easy to lose sight of why you do this. Well, why you do it, but also your place in the industry. It was very gratifying to go back to New York Comic Con, kind of not knowing what to expect. I'm not writing Venom anymore, I'm kind of in-between books, as Hulk isn't out yet. You always get that thing in your head, right? Are people Venom fans or are they Donny Cates fans? What's it gonna be like? It's very gratifying and very, very sweet. To see everybody and see if they were happy to see me and same back to them, right? I also kind of forgot how much this industry and the people in it are my family, my chosen family that I see more than my own parents. I used to see them like 20 times a year at shows. You can forget that and, like you were saying Ryan, going to Scott's party, the Comixology party, and just being around all of the people that do exactly what you do and can understand. You get a chance to complain about your job if you want to or be proud about your job if you want to and have other people who understand that same thing. You know?
Donny: The worst thing for me is...
Ryan: The fans.
Donny: Heh. No, I... blew my wrist out real hard, signing too many books. The travel really messes me up.
Ryan: Yeah, me too.
Donny: It puts me in such shitty moods. There's a point in a signing where you start to zone out and disassociate, but you have to remind yourself, "hey, just because you've been signing for 12 hours, that doesn't mean that [the fans] have. You need to make this moment for them as special as the first person”. It's hard work, it really is. People wouldn't think it is, doing what we do and going to shows, but it really is. It's exhausting.
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