The 2008 New York Comic Con was my best convention appearance to date. I sold out of most of my merchandise, I met some amazingly nice people, I got back in touch with many good friends, and I generally enjoyed New York city. All in all, it was a tremendous convention.

Which is about 180-degrees from how I felt when I first entered the convention. I won’t go into detail here because I discuss it pretty thoroughly in an upcoming edition of the Webcomics Weekly podcast, but suffice it to say that getting a booth without a table and chairs was a bit of a surprise to me. Especially since this hadn’t been a problem in the previous two years I exhibited with NYCC.

And finding out that a table was going to run me $200 and chairs were $85 a pop was more than a little off-putting.

To their credit, though Reed Exhibitions made everything good, and a little after 1 p.m., I was set up and ready to go.

Actually, seeing uber-henchman Adam was the turning point in the whole ordeal. He walked up as I was pacing in my empty booth space, offering to get me any refreshments I might need. (Y’know, a few of you guys made that offer last weekend. I can’t tell you how nice that is! You guys are the best!) After I explained my situation, he told me he had actually run across the cell-phone number of one of the guys in charge of the convention. After a few clicks on his mobile device, he had procured the number of the man who actually finally wound up approving my request for furniture.

Before too long, Ryan Sohmer came over to the booth and hung out for a while. He actually came over a few times. He said he liked my booth because it was a nice, quiet place he could get away from all of the fans for a while. ๐Ÿ™‚ Ryan is really fun to talk to. There are few creators out there with his intelligence. And the guy is bracingly honest. Not necessarily in a mean or cruel way — he’s just direct. We had a couple fascinating conversations. I always find myself trying to learn as much as I can from his rapid-fire torrents.

After a kind-of-slow Friday, I was invited out to eat with Jonathan Rosenberg and a bunch of the Dumbrella guys. I like Jon and his work an awful lot. He’s one of those few people whose work just keeps getting better and better. I hate to list people because I know I’m going to miss someone, but the group included Phillip Karlsson, Gary Tyrell, Steven Cloud, his wife Ellie Jostad, Chris Hastings, his phenomenally talented girlfriend Carly Monardo, Ryan Sias and Jeffrey Rowland.

What was really cool was that I don’t get a chance to hang out with many of these guys a whole lot. What? Maybe once or twice before. When I sat down, it was like being among a bunch of old friends. It was simply comfortable.We all talked and laughed well into the night. Evenings like that are among the main reasons I look forward to a comic convention the way a kid looks forward to Christmas.

We went to The Telephone Bar & Grill where I got an excellent rack of lamb. I sat down on one end of the table next to Hasting’s girlfriend, Carly, and Jeffrey Rowland (who is not Hasting’s girlfriend). Carly was showing off a tremendous postcard print of one of her illustrations. Go to her site and click the second link under “Illustrations” to see it for yourself. She is a wicked-talented illustrator, and she’s starting to accept more freelance work for magazines. I fully expect to see her byline all over the freaking place.

After dinner, a bunch of us followed Rosenberg to the Peculier Pub on the lower east side, where we threw back a couple beers before heading to our respective beds. I had a very good beer called Hop Devil. Goats fans know the Peculiar Pub as an integral part of Goats history. Being there was really an amazing experience for me.