Dashcon, and what you can do about it


So last night I was like “Wait, there’s going to be a Tumblr convention?  It’s in Schaumburg?  It’s happening this weekend?  I wonder how that’s going?”

What you mainly need to know about Dashcon is that it’s based around the Superwholock/Night Vale/Homestuck side of Tumblr, and it frantically raised $17,000 Friday night to avoid being shut down.  There’s more to come, I’m sure.

I’d rather reserve judgement until Monday, but I’ve read about this before.  It happened with Meeting of the Mines (2014), Las Pegasus Unicon (2013), WrestleFanFest (2007), Tentmoot (2003), Ultimate Fantasy (1982), and surely others I haven’t heard of.  The pattern is simple:

  1. Some people have an ambitious idea for a fan convention
  2. They expect a huge success and book beyond their budget
  3. The con starts and Friday ticket sales won’t cover booking costs
  4. Organizers scramble to keep the show running
  5. People speculate that the whole thing is a scam
  6. Everybody is assured ticket sales will be up for Saturday
  7. Guest are not paid, pay their own way, or don’t show up
  8. Attendance is way down on Sunday because everyone’s heard about the trainwreck
  9. The organizers either skip town or get cornered to pay what they can

So far Dashcon is somewhere in Stage 7.

I’ve seen people calling Dashcon a scam, but as with many of the cons I listed above, I don’t think so.  They certainly could be scams, but there have to be easier ways to swindle people.  To me the organizers always come across as sincere dreamers who overestimate fandom’s power and underestimate the difficulty of promoting a live show.  That’s what makes these fiascoes so unsettling—somebody is getting driven to financial ruin and having their wildest dreams crushed.

What’s far more troubling, though, is that each failed convention yields a group of gobsmacked fans, who believe they’ve witnessed an unprecedented, unrepeatable debacle.  Which makes sense, if you think about it.  The odds aren’t great that My Little Pony fans would know about WrestleFanFest.  Minecraft gamers aren’t likely to remember a Star Trek convention from over 30 years ago.  So fandom as a whole is never fully inoculated against this problem, and never evolves to guard against it.

Dashcon, more than any of these other cons, was clearly founded on a love of fandom for its own sake.  So here’s what I’d suggest to anyone who shares that love: Fandom doesn’t need another convention, it needs wisdom, shared by people who’ve researched and experienced these things across multiple communities.  Someone, somewhere, is going to try this again in 2015, and it’ll be a pity if they remain ignorant of the lessons of 2014.


Me onstage during Super Art Fight at ConnectiCon 2011.  This is my second Art Fight, and I participated in the first ever ROYAL RUMBLE with 12 other artists. Sadly, I only lasted one round. Next time, Gadget, next time.

I’m wearing Lane Bryant. :3

(Photo by Rick Mantell)


And now for my favorite Minecraft/My Little Pony crossover I have ever drawn (which is to say, the only one) we have My Little Creeper: Friendship is Tragic!

Chris and I came up with some alternate lyrics for the theme song (I used to wonder what friendship could be/Until you all made it tragic for me… …Explosions make it all complete!) but alas, we weren’t able to rewrite the whole thing.

Sold this for five dolla. :D


So, around two years ago, I made badges of the various village symbols from Naruto, in order to take money from teenagers, which is one of my favorite pastimes.  Well, naturally, the popularity of Naruto waned, and so I discontinued the buttons, and put whatever I had left into my clearance bowl for 25 cents apiece.

These damn Rock Village badges have followed me around ever since.  I still had a handful left, and, realizing I had a white Pentel paint pen with me, I decided to draw on them to make them into… a pair of shoes, a dog, a cow, a Christmas tree, and a turtle.  (The unaltered button is the one on the right.)  Aaaaand some people actually bought a couple of them after I did this.

Then again, a kid bought the last unaltered button and she was disappointed that I’d drawn on the rest of them.


I’m back from ConnectiCon!  Unfortunately, my camera died after Acen, so I wasn’t able to take my usual pictures of my table setup, but I did take a couple of amusing pictures with my camera phone.

Also, I found out that Virgin Mobile will put a watermark on any photos you send to someone via MyPix.  But luckily, MyPix is shutting down soon, so hopefully that wont be a thing.

Anyway, have a Jack Sparrow commission I did on Saturday.