SDCC Skies of Fire Comic

Post-SDCC Wrap Up & Thoughts

It's the Monday after San Diego Comic-Con and I'm sitting back at home in 105F degree weather. I miss San Diego already! (editor's note: this post was written over the last two days :P)


Ray with our Spring/Summer 2018 intern, Ivy.


2018 was the best show I've had since our debut at NYCC 2014. There were so many parallels between that show and this one. I'm blessed to have experienced both. 

This year, the week leading up to the show was especially hectic for me as I rushed to not only prepare for the con, but this Kickstarter as well as the imminent arrival of 5,000 pounds of book at my office doorsteps. 
47 boxes, or about 1/4 of the North American order.

On Monday I finalized touches on my booth for this year. Tuesday, the books came on three massive pallets, and on Wednesday we were off the San Diego for preview night. I did final shipping calculations on Wednesday night and on Thursday we launched



Small Press: our corner of SDCC.


The response to the new booth and books has been overwhelming. Over the past year or so I've been feeling a bit of con-burnout. This show, I was determined to get our numbers back up and update our display for the first time in four years.


The mock up of the convention display at our office!



​Part of our wonderful updated display this year was a brand new customized Zephyr model made by Captain Nate Seekerman.


​I first met Captain Seekerman at Long Beach Comic Expo in 2015. He was in full costume and at that time did not have a muffler. He bought a copy of Skies of Fire and introduced himself with much gusto, though it was hard to understand him at the time because his costume didn't yet have a voicebox!


The Captain himself.


Since then I've seen Nate at various shows, sometimes in costume and sometimes out. This year at WonderCon this year he approached me with an interesting proposition. He wanted to make a to-scale model of the Zephyr.


This wasn't the first time someone has come up to us wanting to do a model. Everyone else who has asked over the years eventually flaked, so when Nathan approached me I was a bit reserved knowing that he had a challenging task ahead of him. 

Nate was a consummate professional. He kept us updated every step of the design process, showing us numerous work in progress shots to which we could only say "Awesome!" or give a thumbs up of approval.


Here's Nate's description of the Zephyr in his own words:

This project was based purely on the Steampunk aesthetic from the illustrations in "Skies of Fire" by Ray Chou and Vincenzo Ferriero. The Illustrations were incredibly detailed and they even had hand-drawn schematics of the Zephyr Airship in north/south/east/west. First step was to import those 2D images into Fusion 360, so the 3D blimp could be drawn exactly and scaled to 18 inches long. This process takes a few weeks, then it's onto breaking down all the drawn pieces into parts that can be printed with a 3D printer. 

In this case, we went another step and only printed the frame also called formers in PLA plastic, so Battens made of brass could be fit to create an inner frame. It took a week to print over 54 parts, so the skeleton could be assembled before applying Silk Paper, Dope Resin and Paint much like those balsa wood planes of the 1950's. And, before the Silk Tissue Paper is applied, the skeleton has to be wired for electronics which include 6 drone motors and 3 LED lights. Once the paper application and paint is complete, then the propeller engines can be soldered and glued into place. 

To finish, the rest of the small parts on the outside are now applied for a process that takes about a month. My favorite part is the electronics, because seeing a working airship is really great for the imagination. Of course assembly is always the most difficult, because you have to be so careful with the Silk Paper, until it's painted when the paint thickens the outer shell. In the future, I could see this printed at a higher resolution for garage kits that fans would like to build themselves!


Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with the way things have gone the last two weeks. It's been a rejuvenating series of events for me. Onwards and upwards!

​- Ray

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