Oni Press’ The Long Con, written by Dylan Meconis and Ben Coleman, drawn by EA Denich, colored by Victoria Robado, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar, follows reporter Victor Lai as he returns to the site of the disaster he barely escaped five years ago. A cataclysmic event destroyed everything within a fifty mile radius of the Los Spinoza Convention Center, during Long Con, the world’s biggest pop culture convention. Victor discovers an incredible scoop — the convention attendees were shielded by the convention center, and the con is still going. He ends up reuniting with his friend indie comics publicist Dez Delaney, getting trapped inside, and butting up against the hierarchy of the world of the longest convention ever, full of D-list celebrities, cosplayers, and “The Special Guest.”
I had a quick Q&A with co-writer Dylan Meconis and artist EA Denich about their tips for survival and their collaboration process.
I’m fascinated by the idea of a never-ending convention — what’s the longest you think you could survive at a comic con?
Dylan: I’ve done five-day long conventions before, and I could definitely feel the cold hand of death on my shoulder by the time Sunday evening rolled around. I have a terrible immune system, so I’d either have to buy a gas mask from one of the cosplay booths or accept my place among the early casualties.
EA: I guess it depends on which con you’re asking about, but I think I might try my hand at surviving by allying with the teens, they seem like they’d be helpful in a sticky situation, be able to slip by unnoticed, etc.
Are there any survival tips you two have picked up in going to comic cons?
Dylan: Partner up. Nothing extends your lifespan at a convention like having somebody who can dash out for sandwiches, trade off waiting in line, cover you for bathroom breaks, split the hotel room, touch up the purple makeup on your back for your Saturday cosplay as Demona from Gargoyles, etc. Beyond that, you will never regret bringing snacks, comfortable shoes, and ibuprofen.
EA: I always bring my own filled water bottle and lunch, so I don’t have to stand in another line to eat! And yes, comfy shoes and clothes, along with a trusted buddy, are a must.
Which character in The Long Con would you most want by your side in case of dystopia?
Dylan: I think we’d all pick Dez, because she’s a longtime industry pro, a badass with great leadership skills and a loyal friend. When you’re first starting out as a published writer, you swiftly learn that a good publicist is all that really stands between you and the void. Clearly that applies after the Apocalypse as well.
EA: Oh yeah, it’s definitely Dez. You know by that eyepatch she’s been Through Some Stuff.
EA, I best know your work from Yes, Roya — can you talk about the difference between being the sole artist on a title and working with a colorist?
EA: This is actually my first time working with a colorist, so apologies to our wonderful colorists M. Victoria Robado and Fred C. Stresing for any pain I’ve inflicted on them! It’s been a really fun learning experience and I like seeing what other artists do with my work, what kind of decisions they’d make versus mine, stuff like that. I think with a comic like The Long Con the colors really complete the world and make it feel more real.
Dylan, I best know your work from projects where you’re both the artist and the illustrator — can you talk about the process of working with a co-writer and artist versus doing something as the sole creator?
Dylan: Solo projects feel like work about 95% of the time, but collaboration feels so much like play! Everybody generates ideas, and it’s so rewarding to scratch out a perfectly serviceable goof and then watch talented team members refine it into solid gold. Even disagreements end
up producing stronger results. And, while I appreciate not being on the receiving end of my own elaborate scripts for once, I like that it’s trained me to find narrative solutions that don’t involve the artist(s) destroying themselves on every panel.
What upcoming projects do you both have?
Dylan: My next big solo, standalone graphic novel, Queen of the Sea, comes out from Walker Books/Candlewick this June! It’s a middle-grade historical fantasy novel loosely based on the youth of Queen Elizabeth I, before she was crowned. It’s all rendered in watercolor, and
narrated by Margaret, a precocious eleven year-old girl raised in an isolated island convent. I’m honestly delighted to have two such different titles coming out at the same time.
EA: I am trying to get some real work done on some personal projects this year, but some exciting news is that I am working with Spike Trotman again as solo artist on another graphic novel. It’s similar to Yes, Roya, but with different characters and story. Look for it coming up
The Long Con vol. 1 collects issues #1-5, and is out digitally and in stores February 13, 2019.