Notes from Comic Con
Last weekend I tabled at New York Comic Con for the first time. I've been attending NYCC and Special Edition (RIP) since 2014, and my fondest memories are meeting artists and writers in Artist Alley. So when I heard I'd landed a table I was excited... and a little terrified. Did I have enough books? Would anyone stop by? Were my prices alright? Would anyone be there, even?
Happily, everything went pretty darn well! I was able to table with my friend J.L., which was a hugely positive learning experience for me. We were able to collaborate on getting the table together (banners! mailing lists! ahh!), and I was able to watch and learn from him and our neighbor Stephen how to be friendly and inviting to the folks passing by. And I finally got to meet a bunch of people I had only talked to online, like Jon here!
So Comic Con was a ton of fun. It also turned out to be a pretty wonderful forum for me to push myself a little and (gasp) promote my books. Self-promotion online is difficult for me, but what I do love is talking to people. At NYCC I could finally have conversations about rats and Roman occupation! I could see half of everyone's face as we talked! I think I met more people who know who Boudicca was than I have cumulatively up to this point! So if you stopped by the table, thank you so much for saying hello and letting me tell you about my books, and welcome to the newsletter.
Now that the New Rat City Kickstarter is winding down (3 days left! Ends Monday night! We're really close to those Unsung Beast trading cards!), I'm going to scuttle back into my hermit hole and focus on writing and craft. That'll mean writing more of these letters and more on my blog, so you'll start hearing from me slightly more frequently than once per quarter.
But before I go, capybaras. There are usually more historical anecdotes and tidbits from my research in these letters, so in that spirit:
Depending on where you live, your idea of cute animal vs. pest is very different. In England it's a fox knocking over your trash cans rather than a raccoon. A beloved owl that gets its own funeral in one city is an invasive jerk in the next.
This question of where the lines are between 'invasive' species, wildlife bit player, and pest fascinates me, and it's one of the places New Rat City came from. It's also why I very much love hearing about weird pests from all over the world. Someone I met at Comic Con very kindly sent me a link about marauding capybaras in a fancy gated community Argentina. Many Argentinians are Team Capybara (or Carpinchos), because they're not in fact invading anything. The gated community in question, Nordelta, was built in a delicate wetland that is the home of these and many other animals. But the animals were gauche enough not to leave when the condos showed up! How dare.
As ecologist Enrique Viale put it:
“It’s the other way round: Nordelta invaded the ecosystem of the carpinchos (capybara),” said Viale, who has been campaigning with many others for 10 years now for congress to pass a law to defend the wetlands from development.
“Wealthy real-estate developers with government backing have to destroy nature in order to sell clients the dream of living in the wild – because the people who buy those homes want nature, but without the mosquitoes, snakes or carpinchos,” he said.
If you've never seen a capybara, I leave you with this gif. Keep in mind that they are not only incredibly poised, they are 3 feet tall, and up to 100 pounds. I love them.