Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Recap: Wall of Balloons + Doodles from Down East

A Used Cartoon Salesman (photo by Jen)

What an awesome trip back to the 'Banks: blitzed in & out with a 29-hour trip-time. A lot of thanks go out to my friends (hat-tip to Da-ka, Jeri and Steve) for their kind hospitality and some tech support too. The preliminary show & tell at the Literacy Council of Alaska was a great little gig to warm up with: an intimate assortment of folks hung out for the Doodles from Down East talk, and a few old friends showed up early during setup just to say hi. Got a lot of amazing feedback on the "Down East Dispatch" article in the newspaper, which I finally got to see a copy of after stopping in the News-Miner offices to reconnect. Met some new fans, caught up with a few former students, and the bonus couple individuals who learned about the work of the Literacy Council for the first time. Plus I sold out of Bad Clams, which meant the road-trip was funded and fueled.

Comics Reporter post

More pics after the jump...

Then on to the Wall of Balloons: extra-special thanks to Christopher for coming up with the idea, and also to all the volunteers that helped set up the event too. Nice turnout too, especially considering it was a holiday weekend, and despite UAF having torn up and blocked off access to campus in the same convoluted fashion as in downtown Fairbanks. Piles of comics were everywhere, from personal collections to representatives from comic shops and libraries.

Workshops - like the one featuring
Lucas Elliott - and speakers kept up a constant background of activities while people peddled their wares at some tables on the main floor of the Wood Center student center. Special guest Jeff Lewis showed up from NYC to sit on a panel with Layla Lawlor, Marta Chudolinska (I'll have a review of her work in an upcoming post) and myself. One interesting point raised during the talk in regards to a question about web-comics was how the event itself can be seen as a metaphor for the comics industry or scene in that it was a multi-media event: print, radio and internet all coalesced around promoting the event. Extended into the comics scene, web-based and print-based projects each have parts to play in the continually evolving and changing industry. And likewise back at the event, it was altogether a spiffy display of diversity and talent, and there was something for everyone to enjoy... which was the whole point of the event.

It being my first panel there were some moments in retrospect I wish I would have been a bit more eloquent and to the point - particularly the wrap-up question from the audience "what do you like best about comics?" I rambled about it being somewhat like food, in that many different needs were served, from cheap junk food, fast food, eating out, homemade, comfort, gourmet etc. Really I should've just simply said "This." As in the totality of the event, as represented by these snapshots - breadth and depth, full-spectrum... it's all good. From the solitary pleasure of drawing - and reading - all the way to the sense of community... that's the best thing about comics.

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