Food court manager discusses his writing and Planet Comicon

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Photo courtesy of Jason Arnett

Austin Lockwood

Sports Editor

alockwo6@jccc.edu

For any aspiring comic book writers or artists looking to get their work noticed, the college has somebody who knows a thing or two about working in the field. Food court manager Jason Arnett has spent almost 20 years writing while working at the college and has found something that lets him get his name out while also having a good time. That would be working a table at Planet Comicon, a convention covering almost every form of entertainment from comics to the latest video games and television shows.

Arnett has been attending conventions for more than a decade.

“I started out going to shows in around 2001, so a little bit before Planet Comicon,” Arnett said.

When Arnett runs a table, the chance to meet fans and talk with the occasional curious passerby is more than enough reason to attend.

“Talking to the people is great. It’s the best part of the job,” Arnett said. “What I do at my table is I have the few books I’ve written on display, but what I do is I have eight-and-a-half by five-and-a-half-inch cards where I will take prompts from the crowd and write a short prose with that idea.”

With this being the fourth year Arnett will be running a table at the convention, he has found a group of people he likes to visit every year.

“It’s always a fun show and I get to hang out with all my buddies, so, good times,” Arnett said.

While his focus will be on the prompt writing, his currently released books will also be on display. Arnett has written multiple stories with a focus on science fiction. His most notable works include several books written for Agent of D.A.N.G.E.R., a small group focused on junior novels.

Arnett is currently working on his next novel, titled “The Cold Distance.” He was initially hoping to release the book in August at the Kansas City Comic Con, but issues arose that required an overhaul of the story and the release date to be pushed back. Despite this, plans to release a novella in August are still on the table.

“I am a very slow writer. I have a full-time day job and obligations at home. I have to steal time to write. So I have gotten towards more outlining and plotting instead of just flying by the seat of my pants,” Arnett said.

Arnett’s table can be found in the Artist’s Alley section of the convention which is being held at Kansas City Convention Center from May 20–22. You can have a story written about your own prompt for $10. Passes for the entire three-day event can be purchased in advance online at planetcomicon.com/buy-passes for $57, but single-day passes can also be bought for each individual day, and children under the age of 10 are allowed in for free. Tickets will also be available at the gate.

The convention will be holding a range of events including celebrity panels, autograph signings and video game tournaments. Celebrities from a variety of fields will be attending as guests with the likes of comic legend Stan Lee and “Star Trek” actor George Takei.

While he has yet to find his big break as a writer, Arnett had some critical advice for anybody hoping to run their own table at a show like Planet Comicon.

“Don’t expect to make money for the first few years. Maybe you will, but don’t expect it and make friends with the people around you and in your aisle,” Arnett said. “Do your research. Make sure you know what it is you’re doing. Look up convention horror stories. … I can say unequivocally that both shows in Kansas City are very good shows and I’ve never had any bad experiences.”

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