As we move into the chill of December here in Toronto I thought I’d share some photos from our time in the sun this past month when I was able to represent Kill Shakespeare at the Miami Bookfair.
Miami is a special place for K.S. as, as a Bookfair, it represents a very different audience for us. When we first went down to the show four years ago we had one book and no sense of how “real” readers would respond. In addition we were sharing a booth with another comic creator and there were only four of us with tables at the show.
Would anyone notice us? (Yes) Would people be offended by our title? (Yes!) Would Conor get a crazy sunburn (Yes!!)
Now, four years later, we’ve seen our sales climb at each show and we’ve been invited to be part of an outreach program that sees the K.S. team go into schools across Miami-Dade and talk about art, writing and creative entrepreneurship.
Those school visits are always a highlight and this year Miami upped the ante by having me deliver one of the Fair’s “school keynotes” which saw me talk to 500 kids AT ONE TIME!
I was a little nervous to be facing that many students, but after getting them to chant “thank you Toronto” (for Chris Bosh, natch), and then sing the Canadian National Anthem (refreshingly they knew the tune and did not sing it to “O, Tannenbaum” as so many of my other American friends do), we got along fine.
Aside from all that this year was extra special for two reasons:
1) As many of you know we’re passionate about expanding the reach of comics to those who, right now, ignore the medium. We’ve been working with Miami to expand the comic footprint at the show. Lissette Mendez, who runs the author track at Miami, is a MASSIVE comic fan and has long wanted to create a “mini con” in Miami. Lissette and the incomparable Eric Hitchcock at Diamond helped to spearhead a program that would bring comic publishers into the show.
And lo’. Destination: Comics was born!
Oni, Dark Horse, Zenescope and NBM/Papercuts were some of the flagship publishers who supported this pilot program – we also saw tons of big name comic creators including Gene Yang, Nate Powell and Paul Pope come out and sign in the Comics Courtyard — which drew TONS of attention.
A huge thanks to them and also to the amazing Joan Hilty – comic editor, creator and consultant extraordinaire who helped organize the entire event.
And if that wasn’t enough…
2) We got to talk to an ENTIRE CLASS that was STUDYING Kill Shakespeare.
Words cannot express how amazing it was to face 40 students who has all READ THE BOOK! The kids were super-engaged and asked some incredibly perceptive questions (we got hammered again on the good girl/bad girl dynamic of Juliet and Lady M., but they all seemed super intrigued to see what we do with Lady M. in Tide of Blood), and generally had an amazing time. I spent about 20 minutes after the class just hanging out and posing for photos.
Below are a few more snaps from the trip — you can see the rest here.