I recently appeared at Hal-Con, the biggest sci fi/fantasy conference in Eastern Canada, as a guest speaker and vendor and I had a ton of fun. I went all out and dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast on two separate days – I wore the famous yellow ball gown on Saturday and the blue peasant dress on Sunday – but I still didn’t hold a candle to some of the costumes I saw at the con.
I spoke on three panels about writing and self-publishing, and it was amazing to meet so many other talented authors and artists in the audience at each one. The amazing Maggie Stiefvater, author of The Raven Cycle series, was one of the major guests at the con and hearing her speak was definitely a highlight. It was also exciting to share microphone time with fellow local authors Bruce Delo, Christian DeWolf, Shawna Romkey, Julia Phillips-Smith, and Clare C. Marshall.
There were a bunch of crazy-talented comic book artists at the con as guests and I especially enjoyed meeting Mike Norton (the creator of Battlepug), Michel Lacombe (who has worked on pretty much every famous comic book ever), and Jenni Frison (cover artist extraordinaire) and Rossi Gifford (creator of critically acclaimed fantasy series “Spirit Leaves”).
One of the things I really appreciated about Hal-Con is that there seemed to be an equal balance of male and female guests/speakers. Most statistics I’ve read say that somewhere between 65-75% of traditionally published authors and reviewers are male, and from what I understand, the same problem persists in comics. (There’s an interesting Wikipedia article about the issue here).