So, back in January, I registered to participate in the worlds biggest comic book market; Tokyo's Comic Market 92 on the weekend of August 11th, 12th and 13th. I got help from a friend living in Tokyo and we set about applying for it and received the email saying our application was successfully received. This was a wonderfully exciting start to the year and the excitement grew as it got closer to August 12th when I would be arriving with suitcase in hand. This is where things take a downturn.
In preparation for this market, I had spent $400 for flight tickets for the weekend and around $500 reprinting t-shirts and pencil cases and printing a new version of my old Mont Blank books into 1 book which I made almost exclusively for this show. I'd sold really well in Seoul Comic World where the attendance is a fraction of what Tokyo's Comic Market is, so I had high hopes and was very confident that I'd do well in Japan.
My travel schedule was pretty nuts and resulted in me sleeping for an hour and a half on Tokyo Haneda airport floor and my suitcases were full to the weight limit, but I was crazy excited about what was coming next so I didn't mind. I arrived at the closest station and started trudging through the rain to find an informationman. Being Japan, the workers were incredibly helpful and took me to where I needed to be to be able to find my table since I didn't have a ticket and was told just to take my ID.
DUN DUN DDDDDDDUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNN!!!
The workers searched for my information.
Couldn't find it.
After 2 hours of trying to figure out what had happened, it turned out my application was refused months ago and I had no idea.
I'd spent all this time and money, had such high hopes and it all ended with a "sorry bruv der aint no table, mate". I felt devastated and defeated. Motivation has been pretty shot for a while, but I'm determined to get my new book finished and printed at some point. The rest of the weekend was considerably more enjoyable. I ended up having a nice izakaya drinking sesh with the Airbnb host, went to a lovely Onsen in the centre of Tokyo on the Saturday evening, went kawaii character shopping and managed to catch a local festival in the town I was staying in.
Here are some photos and videos of my later lovely weekend (please excuse the quality, I was blewdy exhausted):
1. The convention halls were massive. The photo doesn't do it justice, but the 2 (!!!!) halls were overwhelmingly huge. The biggest convention I had ever been to was MCM Comic-con and the halls there were big, but this took the biscuit. Proper Choccy digestive in a custard cream biscuit.
2. There were obviously plenty of cosplayers around, even some of the stalls dressed up as their characters or of other characters.
3. One thing that stood out for me was that around the entrance and in the hall were people holding up signs with stall numbers and names. Some of these people had long lines behind them. To make it easier for the visitors to find their favourite and popular stalls, these men and women would walk the big groups of visitors to the stalls. That's how big it was. They needed a guide to take them to certain stalls. Bloody nuts!
4. As you can see, it's pretty much like any standard comic convention, just with a ton more tables and people. Also, you may notice the football player's spread legs.... The amount of porn was incredible... some of it was fascinatingly unusual too.
5. This is the most floor I'd seen since I arrived. Defo busiest place I've ever been (excluding audiences at festivals, but that's a given, right?).
I stumbled upon this wonderful little temple/ shrine as I was walking around the town. IT WAS A FESTIVAL DAY SO IT HAD FUN STUFF. The places I feel most comfortable and content in the world are in Japanese shrine and temple grounds, so I always look out for them when I'm over there. I also managed to get lost after going to akihabara and stumbled upon the J-league headquarters on Football Avenue (actual street name) which had a big Japanese football museum. Was pretty cool.
So, if any of you other comic book makers/ artists are interested in how to sell at the Tokyo comiket, I can give you a few details and a few things to avoid, but.... I cannot guarantee that it won't fail too....