It's only Day 2, and Brandon Montclare has already torn a hole in his shoe.
His collaborator, Amy Reeder, is telling him he should get shoes like hers, because of "diamond technology." I show her my TOMS, and she makes fun of me. Well played, Amy, well played.
We've just found a quiet place near the conference rooms, away from the chaos of the exhibit hall, to discuss their latest project, Rocket Girl.
Last we spoke the two were in the midst of their Kickstarter campaign for the comic with an unannounced publisher, days away from their deadline.
The two received over $38,000 from the Kickstarter (with a $20,000 goal). Shortly after, at Image Expo, Rocket Girl was announced to have a publisher.
Coming in October, the duo are riding high and working hard on the series.
"I'm really happy with how [the Kickstarter] finished," Reeder said. "I didn't realize that it would just keep growing."
"It ended much stronger than Halloween Eve did," Montclare added. "To make 40 Grand is great because it's validation and everything else, but we did it with a huge amount of [Kickstarter] backers."
With 1,600 backers already, the buzz around the book is growing. But with that many backers comes a plethora of rewards, an area where many Kickstarter campaigns fall flat.
"Last year [with Halloween Eve], Brandon pretty much predicted it almost exactly as far as where we'd end up," Reeder said. "He's got a lot of good business sense."
"I've always been interested in the business of comics," Montclare said. "We came pretty much within our marks, but it is a huge percentage of — the Kickstarter goes toward fulfilling rewards…. It's kind of familiar territory."
They are finished with issue one, released in October, and are hard at work on issue two. Retailers can order the book next month, but the buzz is growing.
"People are just super excited about it," Reeder said. "As soon as we mentioned that we were with Image, people were super overjoyed. I don't know if it's because of all the great announcements Image has been making lately."
"In a way, you kind of get overshadowed by it," Montclare said, "but at the end of the day that's good for you because there's so many eyes on Image now."
Whether or not the series becomes an ongoing is dependent on how retailers receive the book, though they are going at least five issues.
"It's super important that it does well in the stores, because Kickstarter is just a piece of it," Montclare said.
This is the pair's second collaboration with Image, though they did explore other options before returning to the Indie Giant.
"I think you have to be practical," Montclare said. "We had a great relationship with Image on Halloween Eve… But it's so hard to do creator-owned stuff so you really have to field all offers."
Having a publisher like Image allows the two to make the comic and have fun doing it.
"I really like drawing the characters," Reeder said. "It's nice to promote the book and talk to people to get their reactions, because it's been a long time in the making."
"Now it's going to be cool to share some stuff," Montclare said, "We hope to get more people excited."
For more information about Rocket Girl, or if you want to hear the two talk about comics, Reeder and Montclare have a weekly podcast called Podcorn.
Also, those attending San Diego Comic-Con can get an exclusive Rocket Girl print signed by both creators at the Image booth Friday 5pm-6pm and Saturday from 10am-12pm.