End of '22 Part 1: INSYM Year In Review
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN. When looking back across our 2022, there are many elements that resemble the previous year - on the surface. When you dig deeper you can see that our year was far different in many aspects. The number of successes were many. Although there were numerous challenges throughout the year (increased cost of travel, changes in consumer spending habits, product delays) we felt like our ability to 'Pivot and Adjust' made it our most successful year to date.
Below we'll go through some of the most memorable moments and experiences we had throughout 2022, and at the bottom of the article we will give the numerical summary of our year- So let's get down to it. A MISCOMMUNICATED SHOW DATE PROVIDES MATT ONE LAST OPPORTUNITY TO SEE HIS TERMINALLY ILL BROTHER. It really REALLY sucks starting this article off with tragedy... AGAIN... but for the second year in a row an untimely death reframed the entirety of the year ahead. This time it was Matt's Brother Mark.
So how does this DIRECTLY relate to #TeamINSYM? Fate has a strange way of working things out. When we were asked to be guests at a show in ATLANTA, GA in FEB 2022 we agreed because it was NOT on Superbowl weekend (we are both big football fans). Six months after agreeing we realized that the dates given were incorrect, and that the ACTUAL date was over the big football day.
We decided to honor the booking (cuz we don't back out on show commitments) and simply stay an extra night in ATL (so we weren't driving during the game). We'd then head out Monday morning.
Fast forward to 5am. That dreaded 'call the kids in' message was sent. We knew what we had to do (go directly to Charlotte, NC, instead of heading back to FL), and that's exactly what we did. We'd figure all the other details out later (like how Steph was gonna get back to CA, etc...)
We got into town mid-day that Monday, and Matt was able to spend some final coherent moments with Mark, and was able to coordinate some video chats for him to have one final visit with their dad, Gunk, and sister, Vickie. He passed away the next day (Tuesday) at around 2pm. Would Matt have made it to NC prior to Mark's passing if we weren't already in Atlanta for a miscommunicated show date? Probably... but would he have gotten there in time to have impactful moments with Mark on Monday before his condition deteriorated? Probably not. SIDENOTE: Big shout out to the man of the year OTTO CASTANO JR that helped facilitate travel for so many. Didn't know him before this trip. Will never forget him after.
TRIPLE THREAT: Because of extreme paper shortages in the industry, alongside continued delays on the production of our collectible colored vinyl record, we ended up with THREE different projects that all dropped simultaneously in May/June of 2022. Because of this, we felt like the best thing to do was to schedule a mini-tour / series of comic store signings and promote them all at the same time. It was odd having basically a single release window in the year, but we made it work!
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION (REVISITED): For the second year in a row, Matt saw his time behind the mic on the panel stage increase. He was also given the opportunity to be the EMCEE at both iterations of the brand new smash hit show SPOOKALA, alongside some hosting at GEEK'D CON in Shreveport LA, and return trips to Ocala Comic Con and Collective Con (Jacksonville, FL). Some highlights include: * Being able to intro/announce performances by icons like COREY TAYLOR (Slipknot), JAMIE KENNEDY, and ICE NINE KILLS. * Being able to interview / host panels on stage with stars from TV, movies, and print media, such as: multiple stars from THE WALKING DEAD, LOCKE & KEY, THE MUNSTERS, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (Harvey Guillen's panel had over 1000 people at it whhhhhaaaaat), HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13th, POWER RANGERS (including an unexpectedly heartfelt panel with Austin St. John, the original Red Ranger), AMERICAN HORROR STORY, TERRIFIER 2, JEEPERS CREEPERS, STAR WARS, SCARY MOVIE, plus personal iconic favorites WEIRD SCIENCE and BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, and many more!
NYCC Experience: For creators from Florida and California, being accepted to be at New York Comic Con was a bucket list item for us both. Not only did we get to experience the insanity that was 100k people on the show floor each day, we also got to interact with many of our fans and supporters we'd otherwise never run across. Impromptu hallway meetings with Oriana from KICKSTARTER, being able to jump in on some off site WhatNot SCOUT COMICS live streams to help sell and promote our title Misfitz Clubhouse, and having people come to our booth repping our merch were highlights of the business side of this excursion. One the personal side - it was Steph's first trip to NYC so sightseeing was the name of the game. Despite our best efforts we got lost on foot multiple times (how were we supposed to know that WAZE and Googlemaps don't work all that well amidst the skyscrapers), and ended up inadvertently at many of the destinations we'd hoped to see intentionally. The main highlight was the WORLD TRADE CENTER MEMORIAL and being able to show respect for all those lost at the multiple tragedy sites. While the financial burden of making the trip to New York city is not for the faint of heart (and not one that we have the intention of replicating anytime soon), being able to participate in one of the largest conventions in the USA was an experience we'll never forget.
Some of our other personal memories from 2022 (Some are great - some are memorable for all the wrong reasons): * The closing of Kingdom Of Comics - Melbourne, FL: 'Can we please get kicks in the crotch with a side order of coal in our stockings?' This was how we felt when the news broke that one of the best comic and geek culture stores in the State of Florida, Kingdom Of Comics, announced it was closing its doors. Their time on the scene paralleled Insymmetry Creations existence as an entity, and truly they were one of a small handful of go-to stores for us when we needed a signing date that had substance behind it. We wish the best of luck to the owners, Jason and Paula Woulas, as well as the awesome community that they cultivated in that area. We're sure that the spirit will carry on, but it's gonna be odd travelling out that direction and not be welcomed inside their kingdom gates.
* The 'Dinner Journey from Hell' in Shreveport, LA: It's Sunday night and #ScoutTeamSix has just finished a successful event at Geek'd Con. All we (Richard Rivera, Andrea Molinari, Drew Ferguson, Matt & Steph) wanted was to get a nice, quick meal after the show. This is not what fate had in store for us. You know how in LORD OF THE RINGS the Hobbits walked and walked and it felt like it never stopped for all three movies... well that was us. SEVEN establishments and three hours later we were finally eating, saved by a downtown Little Caesars (seriously, it's the best we could do). Every previous stop either had a wait of inordinate length OR we were thwarted AFTER ordering. Literally had to leave two different places after post-ordering shenanigans. Not how we intended on spending our Sunday Night, but it provided us with this insane story to tell.
* You know it's not good when the WEATHER CHANNEL VAN rolls up! Let's head back to GEEK'D CON for a moment. Those that drove up from Florida to Louisiana (all but Steph) headed out on Monday morning. She had already seen her flight cancelled once (she was supposed to leave late Sunday night). Our reconfigured plan had her catch the shuttle from the hotel to the airport shortly after we left Monday morning... NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND. Because of generational flooding in the region, her flight was cancelled a second time, AFTER we had all checked out of the hotel. Luckily the GEEK'D CON crew was on top of it, rebooked her a room and she would try again for a third time the next day. While waiting for the airport shuttle in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, a DIFFERENT van rolled up - carrying the live remote crew for THE WEATHER CHANNEL, who was covering this weather event. After talking for a moment, they asked if she'd take part in the live remote, which she did. Who would've thought that a convention guest appearance would result in a Weather Channel live remote interview as well? (Note: The third time was the charm and she was able to catch that flight.) * PALMA PRODUCED A PLETHORA: We ramped up our video creation in 2022, partnering with MICHAEL PALMA at PALMA PRODUCTIONS for our 'official' content. We had FIVE in the year (a Geek'd Con trailer, one for each Kickstarter campaign plus blooper reels for both). There will be more to come in 2023! Here are the videos for HEIRS OF ISILDUR The Perilous Prospects BOOKS ONE and TWO:
Those came out really good, Riiiiiight? It takes a LOT of work to get these to the finished state - so here are the OUTTAKE / BLOOPER Reels for both of these!
MOVIE REVIEWS AND ARTICLES GALORE: Steph continued to make her name in 2022 when it came to movie reviews and retro articles. In this year she added 30 more bylines, for a grand total of 69 since starting in late 2020... but the deep dive into these we'll save for another day. Stay tuned, as we'll dedicate a whole article to her most memorable reviews and retros from 2022 soon!
BY THE NUMBERS: Here are the actual numbers / stats for us from 2022:
Number we had in 2022: 21 (up from 20 in 2021)
Number of states we had events in: 5 (Florida, Georgia, New York, Louisiana, California)
First time shows for us in 2022: 6 (SPOOKALA (FL), New York Comic Con (NY), GeekD Con (LA), Atlanta Steampunk Expo (GA), Clearwater Comic Con (FL), Sci-Fi Pop Fest (FL)
Story / Issue / Album Releases: 5
HEIRS OF ISILDUR 'The Perilous Prospects' Book ONE
(6 covers / variants)
HEIRS OF ISILDUR vs TALES FROM NOCTURNIA (Collectible Colored Vinyl ALBUM)
MISFITZ CLUBHOUSE #1 (Kickstarter Edition) MISFITZ CLUBHOUSE #1 (SCOUT Comics / Scoot! Edition) (NOTE: Both MC issues feature the story 'Pinball Madness'. The KS version contains 'Dress Up, Mess Up', while the SCOUT version contains 'Morty McFeathers is Missing' and 'I Don't Want Any Asparagus'
'TARTS!' (4 Page story in the CTHULHU INVADES WONDERLAND Anthology - Orange Cone Productions)
Total Campaigns in 2022: 2
Total Raised: Just under $17,000
* Heirs of Isildur 'The Perilous Prospects' Book ONE
* Heirs of Isildur 'The Perilous Prospects' Book TWO
NOTE: We also took part in the promotion and/or assisted in running THREE other campaigns: CTHULHU INVADES WONDERLAND Anthology (Orange Cone) STABBITY BUNNY VOLUMES ONE &TWO (Scout Comics) HOLIDAY SPIRITS 2 (Orange Cone) We hope you all have enjoyed our look back on 2022. Next we'll continue the series with our look at 'STEPH'S MOST MEMORABLE MOVIE REVIEW / RETRO ARTICLES of 2022".
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