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HIL-GLE MIND ROT MODERN THRILLS QUALITY CREATIVE NEWSSTAND FICTION UNIT WONDERBLOG Shy people can contact us directly via email at Wunker2000 at Yahoo dot com.

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Friday, November 18, 2022

Life Lessons From Our Amazing Convention Tour of 2022


Convention Update:

The overall good news is that I have not gone broke. All things accounted for, my promotional efforts are at an overall break-even. And that’s with a few setbacks, most of which were extraneous to my campaign. Life happens and screws up plans. The open question is whether this is the most efficient method of promoting the game or making it viable as a business. Its alternative is using an advertising vehicle. My plan has always been to do both. I’m not sure that I am at the point where I can gauge how much of either I should do. My vending gig is still evolving, and I do not have good advertising leads as yet. My learning curve is damn steep.

Vending at conventions is just as glamorous as I imagined. It is somewhat akin to my previous career as a newsstand operator. The physical mechanics of it are similar. Although us dealers or vendors are similar, we are not all in the same game. Ultimately you want to sell stuff and make a profit. A number of dealers I’ve met are engaging at shows in an effort to drive web traffic. And I have met some vendors who operate at a structural loss, with no seeming profit motive. The good thing about the general fandom convention space is that it is clean of predators and scam merchants. Somethings may not be up to par, some efforts may be delusional, but there’s no one on the make to spring a swindle. And if you are going to deal with the public, fandom ain’t a bad branch to hang with.

My fellow vendors have been very helpful. It’s a happy little tramp village, all in all. Other than weather and locking my keys in the car, the worst thing to happen to me has been an occasional disappointment. When compared to my professional life, this is a vacation.

The following are our list of life lesson learned at each of the following stops:

Gencon: The nice folks at Gamebase7 got us a demo invite. I did four three-hour sessions right in a row. By the end of session four, my voice was shot. Thanks to some spot-on promo writing—which I had little to do with—all four sessions were sold out. Most folks seemed to have fun. And that’s the point. Next con we intend to have a sales venue available and perhaps be on the vending floor. Failing that, we may add Origins to our listing of cons to demo at.

Printer’s Row Lit Fest: Comic books sell to people when people can find them. I have been using a few baskets of the comics I have as a method of helping pay for the table. Although my aim is to sell games, that market is pretty narrow.

Our position was out on the sidewalk in front of a massage parlor, near the public reading of poetry event. To my left was a happy couple selling their line of children’s books. They’ve spent a small fortune on illustrations and printing and whatnot. The books looked nice. They seemed to do fairly well. To my left was Whisky Tit, an indy publisher out of New York. They had a line of paperbacks in various fiction genres and were having quite the social event. In the middle of the road were various tents, denoting the monied players in this parade. Some of these people were flat out delusional--buying two tables to promote one book.

Quick: How can you tell the difference between a best-selling Amazon author and a homeless person?

Answer: You can’t.

Printer’s Row Lit Fest is coming back from the dead, so I cut them some slack. Their security people were johnny on the spot and all knowing. The volunteer staff were… Let’s say they there were issues. I was given every direction to my spot except for the correct one. Luckily, I showed up early so the only additional expense was to my sanity. They didn’t have that much of a turnout. (The claim was half a million. In a pig’s eye. Total foot traffic for all three days was about 60K.) A lot of people walking through the fest were residents walking their dogs.

I talked to a lot of nice people and that’s worth something. If I did not break even, I came close. This was my most expensive venture. I might have done better but… on the third day the Lord said let there be rain.

Unless I can cop some canopy space next time, I am going to give this a pass.

Southside Comic Book Convention: Rockyfest! Rocky rules! Rocky was set up next to me at Windy City Pulp and Paper and invited me to this one day convention in Palos Heights. It set up in a high school gym. Nice, steady flow of traffic. Nice vendors. Sold a few games. My salvation was bringing some collector’s comics with me. People would look at my little display case and they stopped. And some of them pulled out money and bought. A few comics got a new happy home and my tour got a little shot in the arm.

Stranger Con: I have never seen the Stranger Things show, nor have I dealt with the promoter Creation Entertainment before. I did not know what to expect. Media fandom is an odd bunch. Creation stratifies its crowds—the more you pay, the more you get. The promoter monopolizes the concert shirt trade, but you are otherwise free to sell whatever you want. Most of the vendors were what I would call crafters.

Sold a load of comics. Best game sales ever. I am going to look into other Creation cons. I’m still mystified by their approach, but whatever they are doing seems to work. At last, a productive use for tech theater majors!

Windycon: I don’t suppose the gangland shooting in the parking lot on Saturday helped much. Or the Covid surge or the RSV surge or coming off of a similar con which also didn’t draw much. A few of my pals from COD CON and Stranger Con were there. Lots of crafters, some way off topic but there didn’t seem to be a litmus test. We had a smattering of self-published authors (which would include me) and then packs of people selling pots and whips and jewelry and space music. (I bought me some space music.) And old books and movies. And I wasn’t the only game publisher there.

They fed us. The food was good. The programming seemed first rate. Just not enough folks. If this con comes back, I will come back.

Due to sickness in my household, I have had to neglect this blog as well as some of my promotional efforts.  I am hoping to start my tour anew in February. We will have announcements of our next shows and whatnot here in the Wonderblog.

Friday, September 30, 2022

I have noted the possible end of the world. Just in case.


Russian state television political editor Maxim Yusin warned that Putin intended to push the button on a nuclear attack in the “coming days or weeks,” adding that people should “have fun because it would be a shame to live out the remaining time with pessimism.”

How thoughtful.  As a blogger I am inclined to immortalize such words, just on the off chance that this might be the start of something. One hopes this is not the case. I had hoped to report on our convention experience instead.

We here at HIL-GLE have spent the last month or so in the shadow of COVID. I was hospitalized for it earlier this month, as was another member of my household, and all three of us have tested positive at one time or another. We are now all free of the malady, although one of us is still not anywhere near 100% right now.

Sort of puts things in perspective.

My stocks have taken a header. This has been going on for a few months. The national cable stock channel that I watch is now wall to wall gloom and doom, trotting out prognosticators who beat up the present like a dead horse. With the exception of the Gold Bugs and those rare everything-is-always-bad types, none of the Market Gurus can claim to have seen any of this coming. And their current predictions are nothing more than readings of the present and immediate past. Yep, Russia is screwing everything up and this COVID stuff isn’t helping, either. Our latest spate of weird and deadly weather is just piling on. It looks like a long, cold winter ahead.

Despite this, life moves on. The NFL season got back underway earlier this month. I note that their endzone and helmet messages are back again for another year. Each message is a knife in the face to the Republican Party. It’s odd how a plutocratic bunch of monopolists would turn and turn so strongly against their ideological brethren. The Republicans earned this, though. Like all bad things, this started with Trump’s complaints about the league’s tolerance of player opinions. He then launched into a campaign against player safety. At some point messages started appearing, first on shoes, then on the backs of helmets and now in the end zones. Most of them literally say “End Racism” but the true message isn’t lost. The NFL has deplatformed Republicans and all of their mantras.

The NFL has a hard time forming an opinion on much. It took them a while to be sure that the term Redskin was somehow derogatory. Suddenly they are lockstep entirely against one of our two institutional political entities. And college football is following them.

I know Republicans hate lamestream anything, but I have never witnessed anything like the alignment of all Normal American Entities against one political flavor before. One wonders who is left in the GOP? Fox News? The Fox News that started the drumbeat FOR the Russians AGAINST Ukraine. That won them sooo many converts. The National Review? I still read it. It is worse than the stock market gurus, now prone to dig into the recent past and whitewash the incomprehensible into a dialog with a beginning, middle and end. Making it make sense is a bit beyond them, but they are dealing with the second draft of history. The history they’ve been writing makes the DC Universe look Homeric. The whole Earth One, Earth Two analogy has now been imparted to the public.

We have a number of tour dates to announce, starting with Stranger Con on October 8th here in Chicago. I am hoping to do a convention recap this weekend. If there is a this weekend.




Thursday, September 22, 2022

Replated Edition in the offing

 We will have an update on our conventions in a few days.  Sadly we have had a spate of illness over the past few weeks which has had our fundies in a bunch.  Hopefully I can catch up shortly. 

While I am generally satisfied with the retail edition of Weird Detective Mystery Adventures, there are two sections which I have felt the need to revise.  The revision is more in the realm of presentation than content.  My issues are with the SUPERCAR section and the section on FANTASTIC SUBSTANCES. 

The SUPERCAR section lacked visuals, which I have manufactured over time.  Now that I have a critical mass of suck, I was able to replate  the pages.  We will publish all of the changed pages here, in case anyone wants to update their edition.  

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Print Ad Reveal

 I am not entirely happy with it. But this is largely how it will appear.

More on our time at Gencon coming soon!

I'm a little more happy with this. 

I think this is my winner. Now I have to do a color version of it. 

I'm not sure if I am letting my poor interaction with the artist get the better of me. (Not my cover artist Mike Taylor. He's a saint. The guy who did the Wally Wood imitation gave me the run around.) I may use this also. But I am not capable of coloring it. 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

HIL-GLE Marches on GENCON!


It is my sad duty to inform you that I did not win the billion-dollar Mega Ball Plus lottery held this past Saturday, although I did used to live in Des Plaines where the life-changing ticket was purchased.  Neither did Brave Sam, who still lives in Des Plaines. I’m thinking that living in Des Plaines is a lot less intolerable when one has a billion dollars.  But I will never know. (It could be worse. I could live in Oildale.)

I am sad to say this, but this last lottery loss is part of a very bad and very long string of defeats I have suffered in my gambling history. To wit, I have never won. I have never won anything. This strangely makes me believe that I am due and thus feeds my sporadic occasional petty wagering frenzy. At this juncture it seems that I should plan to content myself with an economic fate predicated upon the sweat of my own brow. Shameful as it may be, it seems my only doable option.

I will be at GENCON this coming weekend, running four SOLD OUT demos of our fine Weird Detective Mystery Adventures role-playing game. For a time, I will be sharing the sacred astroturf where greats such as Barney Rubble/Andrew Luck once tread. (You will note that Andrew Luck and Barney Rubble have never appeared anywhere together. Although this may not utterly sell my contention that they are in fact one-and-the-same person, it is incredibly suspicious—if you exclude the assertions that Barney Rubble is a cartoon character from the 1960s and that Andrew Luck was born in 1989 and is already retired. I swear they are the same person.) I intend to honor this sacred playing surface by giving the utmost to my preparation, which has included a previous scrimmage of my game plan at DIECON last month. I intend to be in mid-season form by my kick-off at 8:00 AM on Saturday.

Behold, our latest promo thingy…

Our other promo thingy, Weird Detective Mystery Adventures (the movie) TM, is currently still in post-production.  I am in the process of obtaining a new score or going with Flight of the Bumblebee and calling it a day. Its majestic opening is planned for my web pages and perhaps YouTube once this amazing feat has been accomplished.

A print Ad or two may also be in the offing once I can come up with one. (Still getting over my billion-dollar lottery loss, so this may take a little time.)

If you are not one of the perhaps 30 people slated to join us at GenCon, we will be at Printer’s Row Lit Fest and the Southside Comic Book Convention in September. After that, our tour is going on hiatus until probably February. We intend to have a strong Spring and Summer schedule next year. We may even play the Colts! (Not as a group, inasmuch as WDMA is really only suited for 5 to 7 players.)

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Another Outstanding Promotional Ad

 I never tire. I just wish I had some talent to go with my artistic ambitions. Yet another attempt at a promo ad, this one more outright copying than collage.  

Friday, July 1, 2022

HIL-GLE Welcomes GraphicNewsstand.com to its Family of Websites

 Our Convention Report:

We are on tour hiatus for this month and are taking inventory of our learning experiences thus far. Planet Funk was a lot of fun and Davenport is a fine place to visit. As I discovered, there are several used bookstores still in operation in downtown Davenport. The next time I am in town I will make it a point to check a few of them out.

Iowa is its own universe.  I knew this from my last visit, way back when during my sophomore summer in High School, where I attended debate camp at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Rapids.  After that trip, I wanted attend college there, but it wasn’t in the cards. Iowa isn’t flush or lush and seems to be keeping its own time. It’s a well-maintained, out-of-date place. The people are Midwesterners with a slant towards the polite, charming, blunt, and vulgar in a seamless mix. Sentences can be separated by two ticks of silence without things seeming awkward. Give yourself to it and you get used to it. The whole place marches to its own beat.

Planet Funk, like CODCOM and  Windy City Pulp and Paper has become a general Fandom convention. They all are taking their cues from the big convention in San Diego. The focus shifts a bit but they are all doing a little anime, a little cos play, a little comic book culture, a little TV and movie fantastic.  The latest trend is in crafting—folks making stuffed animals, face painting, t-shirt vending, dice bags and cross-stitching.  Its also a forum for authors and a source of pin money for actors and retired athletes.

Programming at Planet Funk centered mostly on cos play and costume contests, which is very accessible. It’s fun to watch and I would estimate that about one fifth of the attendees were participating in some degree or another. A panel on “What is new in Cos Play—Foam!” was announced, causing Brian in the booth next to me to wonder aloud about the content.

My focus has been coming up with a method of promoting my game without going broke doing it.  To do this, I have to create a table that sells.  I have a nice inventory of comic books which helped make Windy City and Planet Funk less expensive. But I am a few moves away from being able to make this venture worthwhile.  What I have seen selling best are toys and (sometimes pirated) art. If I can produce a few 10 bucks a throw art works and obtain a toy or two no one else is hawking, I believe my venture will flourish.  I am using my off time this month to seek things out.

My fly animation is still in the edit stage. We would like to introduce the following website to the HIL-Gle family. GraphicNewsstand.com will eventually become my electromagnetic comic book shop and source for all things neo-pulp. Right now it’s a space holder. I will also be working on Vortex of Cute during the next few weeks.

This is the new ad for Weird Detective Mystery Adventures.  I am thinking of placing another ad in a few weeks and will announce it here. We will have a less hype-intense Internet Outbin in under a week.

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