Karim Flint & Sajan Rai | CON HOT

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

With Comic Conventions being all the rage in the UK, it was only a matter of time before some indie comic creators decided to run a Kickstarter campaign to produce a regular comic on the subject. We caught up with Karim Flint & Sajan Rai to find out all about their latest project, CON HOT.

STARBURST: What is CON HOT?

Sajan: Well it's an ongoing comic book series created by myself and Karim. CON HOT explores the weird and wonderful world of comic con, following the loves, loses and lives of cosplayers, comic book collectors and everyone in-between.
Karim: For us it's very much an homage to old school romance and fantasy comics from the ‘70s and ‘80s, but with a more modern, meta perspective. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll question the very foundations of reality. You know, the little things.

Have comic conventions changed in recent years?
Sajan: I've only been exhibiting at them in the past three years, but they're growing exponentially. The crowds are getting bigger and bigger, and there's a lot more mainstream appeal.
Karim: I've exhibited at a big con like the MCM, which I think had 120,000 visitors in May. And then you have smaller, indie events like CECAF. Each of them has their own appeal, and big or small there's no shortage of amazing things to do whatever your particular geek preferences happen to be.
Sajan: People are coming along just to see what it's all about. Which is great. And we're hoping CON HOT embodies that sense that anything can happen at a con.

Why do you think they are so popular now?
Sajan: I think a big part of it is that "nerd" or "geek" culture are part of the mainstream now. The first Spider-Man trilogy arguably created a snowball effect that's avalanched into these huge new film franchises and TV spin-offs. Previously, comics were most accessible over the counter or in the occasional video game. Now they've branched out, much like the gaming industry, and there's a much larger audience for all the things that you can find comic cons.
Karim: For me, part of the recent surge in popularity is because, despite the various freedoms we currently enjoy, we're still living in a very judgemental society. Comic con allows you to be whoever you want to be, without any kind of judgement because everyone there is part of this awesome geek friendly community. That's what we're trying to tap into with CON HOT, that sense of community and belonging.

Which conventions can we see you at?
Karim: Well if our Kickstarter campaign is successful, we're aiming to launch CON HOT at the London Film and Comic Con, so people should definitely come and find us there.
Sajan: I'm really busy this year, so I'll be at Manchester MCM, Helsinki and Thought Bubble. And hopefully, a few more if I can squeeze them in!

What tips do you have for those new to artists alley?
Sajan: Don't be afraid to be a salesman, which doesn't mean going for the hard-sell. Just talk to people! The crowds at conventions are really interesting and fun. Just have a good time and be constantly figuring out how to do better. If sales aren't going well, take it as a sign that there's always something you can do to improve your stall, technique or product.
And if that's the case, don't let it get you down! The feeling of constantly improving yourself, and what you're putting out in the world is a thrilling experience.
Karim: I agree. You're not just selling your work, you're selling yourself. The people who do really well at comic con are the ones who aren't afraid to reach out to people, talk to them, find out what they're looking for in comics and give it to them.

What challenges are you looking forward to taking on with this project?
Sajan: My two top priorities are drawing it all on time, and wanting the artwork look instantly appealing, which is a challenging combination. But not remotely undoable.
Karim: We're crowd-funding this project, which is always a risk. Because if you go on Kickstarter right now you'll find dozens of really incredible comic book projects. But I think we're doing something no one else, and hopefully that'll shine through.

Why Kickstarter?
Sajan: Kickstarter is the biggest name for crowd-funding, and it's served me and my friends' projects well in the past.
Karim: Crowd-funding a project allows to put out a really high-quality product, without having to worry if you're going to make rent or be able to eat this month.  

What’s next for CON HOT?
Sajan: After a successful campaign, our next goal would be expanding the franchise - finishing our 4-issue run and starting work on new titles that'll fall under the CON HOT banner.
Karim: Not many indie publishers want to take a risk an ongoing series. It's all anthologies and one-off volumes. We want CON HOT to be become and established franchise, something that we continue and develop as our readership grows.

You can find out more about CON HOT’s crowd-funding campaign here.


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