Nijicon 2015 was a 2-day event focused on bridging the gap between fans of boy’s love and the LGBTQ community. I think they did very well in following through on that and I’ll give more info about that in Part 2. I vaguely remember hearing something about Nijicon for it’s inaugural convention in 2014, but as I was still in the early stages of recovering from a broken (destroyed) ankle, there was no way I was going to be attending anything, so like everything else going on last year, I ignored it. This year, I am still in recovery, but much further along, so I thought I’d try attending my first convention of any kind in at least a decade.
Hands down, the best thing about Nijicon is that the venue was only twenty minutes away from me. This was perfect because I haven’t really worked my way up to driving long distances and since I started driving again, driving at night makes me anxious, so the shorter the route, the better. This was also perfect because it meant that I could go home for a bit and return, which is what I did. Though, on my way back to the con, as soon as I turned off my block, my ankle quietly, but persistently asked me if it was absolutely necessary to go back. I kept driving. The second best thing was that there were not a lot of people. I think, with each year, attendance will continue to grow–it was a pretty nice atmosphere–but it was a decent amount for me as I’m still sporting public gathering training wheels. I don’t know how many people were in attendance, but if I had to guess, I’d say 100 or so? I’m not good with that kind of thing, so don’t hold me to it.
The vendors were friendly, the panels were interesting, and the events seemed entertaining (I didn’t go to any of these, so I can’t say for sure). Of course, no event is perfect, and I’m so particular about so many things, that there’s usually a list of things I could complain about, but thankfully there’s only two. The venue’s chairs suck and made my lower back hurt. For the most part, I prefer a sitting up straight; I certainly do not like sitting hunched over, but sometimes that was the only way to find relief. The second thing was the WiFi; three or four feet in one direction or another and the signal was no more. The venue had several networks, but they weren’t laid out to make up for the weak signal areas of the others. And that’s that. While these were definitely inconveniences, they didn’t have that much impact on my opinion of the event as a whole. Now, onto the greater experience.
I’ve never been entirely comfortable with being in public spaces amongst strangers, but it’s been so long since I’ve allowed myself to endure such things, that I forgot how and now I’m completely awkward with it. Even though I pretty much drew a blank the entire convention, I somehow managed to talk to a few vendors.
Kori Michele: Kori was great and I totally dug their 15+ pieces of flair. In addition to Prince of Cats—a good story, by the way–they have a story in the Beyond Anthology (which I’ll be picking up in digital format) and have another completed comic that features a trans male on Filthy Figments called Portal.
Arbitrary Muse Comics: I believe that’s Emily. I’ve never heard of this publisher until now, though I am familiar with one of their releases, Tripping Over You; I follow the artist, Suzana, on Tumblr. Since all of the titles I was interested in were available to purchase as digital downloads, I didn’t buy anything, but I really liked the artwork for If the Shoe Fits. There, in the background, you can see Luffy, the phantom member of the Iwatobi High School Swim Club.
Yaoi/Yuri North: This is an example of how things that should occur to me don’t. I talked with the staff from Yaoi/Yuri North, but I did not take a picture of them. Anyway, I’ve never heard of this event and there isn’t much chance of me attending it, but two of my friends live in Canada and I don’t remember either of them mentioning it, so Lucy and Trenna, this for you. They were offering a seek-and-find and a crossword puzzle. One of the seek-and-find phrases was “impossible positions.” When I read that out loud, they told me that they have a competition that con-goers practice for all year that requires them to physically copy an impossible position. When I asked if it was an image or text they were copying from, some how the words just didn’t connect and they thought I was asking if they were naked and yeah… Anyway, I suggested that, for even more of a challenge, they should have contestants try to demonstrate a position from a written passage, as in from some BL novel or fic, because I swear sometimes those things are only for contortionists or physically impossible for a human. There was another slight misunderstanding, but the results would be the same.
JustYaoi.com: The writer (left) and artist (right) of RomeoXJulien were all polka dots and smiles. I’m sure I ran across this recently, but I don’t think I was interested or in the mood to be interested. However, I will be giving it a go. I was tentatively invited to the the Dirty Old Ladies League as they weren’t quite sure how old I was.
Mischief Corner Books: They were a pretty nice bunch. I was most interested in their anthology, Hot Off the Range. Cowboys–an extremely longstanding interest of mine. Though not just cowboys; there was a time I wanted to move away from everyone and everything and the Midwest US seemed like the perfect place for that–I was concerned about their internet service, so it never happened. The best thing is that all of their books are available digitally. I wish more publishers made a commitment to digital distribution like this. I’d be broke, but I’d be happy. Also, they made the decision to cap all of their digital releases at $6.99, even for anthologies, no matter how long they are, they’ll never go over that price.
E.K. Weaver: I backed the TJ and Amal Ominbus on Kickstarter and just received mine last week, so there was nothing I needed to purchase, but I did. That’ll be in another post. E.K.’s booth looked so bare, I wanted to build a banner for it. But the lack of accouterments didn’t stop her from selling out; for the remainder of the con, she did commissions when she wasn’t in a panel. She was cool.
HamletMachine: HamletMachine was all smiles and giggles throughout the con. I asked if Starfighter would be available digitally–they didn’t seem to be in complete agreement with the answer to that. Since it’s available for free online, it wasn’t really at the top of their list, but there’s a possibility. I suppose online reading works for some people, and I’ve read up to the current pages that way, but the site is not responsive or mobile friendly, so the page image comes nowhere close to filling the screen of my tablet which makes it not fun to read. I really hope they, at the very least, will release a digital for the collected volumes.
Alex Woolfson: You ever see someone who looks just like their picture? And not just looks like, but even the vibe they give off in the picture and in real life is the same? I don’t think I have until now. There are a number of pictures of him around the internet and in all of the ones I’ve seen, he looks like an Off-Broadway actor–the consummate performer and orator, less the smugness of Broadway–who’s holding back a witty line. And that’s exactly how he was. His smile is full of wit and passion and that was very nice to see. Artifice is available digitally, but it’s only on Kindle. The Young Protectors V02 looks to be coming out in the autumn of 2016.
Yaoi Revolution: I spent the most time talking to them. I felt like I really had to–I don’t see a whole lot of me in the faces of BL fans, but not that we talked about that. Also, I have an affinity for this publisher, so I ended up chatting with them twice. That’s EAB, the co-publisher (I believe) and the author of The Straight Line and Adonis (which are still waiting to be reviewed). The editor that was also on staff was at Kori Michele’s booth when I took this picture, which is not the first one I took and was taken on the second day because I didn’t like the first one. They were great to talk to, though it wasn’t any less awkward than talking to any of the other vendors. I was hoping for a bit of news about The GMO Project, specifically if there were plans on the horizon to release the original stories (it’s too much French for me), but it seems that there probably won’t be any more releases from that collective through YR. Oh well.
Dreamspinner Press: It was a total impulse when I signed up for their site and pre-ordered Stygian some weeks ago. I think that was the first time I encountered this publisher. They were awesome and took time to go through their available anthologies with me–87, if I recall. Yay for them having all of their titles available digitally and if you order the print release from their site, you automatically get the digital as well. Titles I’ll be looking into: Bad Magic (novel), Don’t Try This at Home (an anthology about sex mishaps), Not Quite Shakespeare (anthology), and The Three Fates (anthology).
Of course there were more vendors, but I didn’t visit their booths. I was too nervous to have fun, but, in a way, I still managed to. I intended to include the panels in this post as well, but it was getting really long. So look for those in a later post.