Friday, October 11, 2013

24-Hour Comics Day 2013: Recap

WOW: Last weekend's 24-Hour Comics Day went awesome, with a record-breaking eighteen folks signing up to take on the challenge this year. Plus there were lots of other people who stopped by to say hi, sketch a bit and hang out - not to mention a few bonus deliveries of tasty victuals and creative juices. Traffic was steady (many thanks again go to the hospitality and accommodation from Kevin at The Comic Shop), with many people visiting the venue for the first time, and a lot of curious onlookers asking what was going on and vowing to take a stab at it next time. There was a Yu-Gi-Oh! and a Warhammer 40k campaign going on in the gaming room as a constant backdrop, but we pushed some display racks over and set up tables + chairs for a section in the back of the store to stay cloistered away in relative comfort and peace. Part of what makes this an interesting experience is the disconnect with external reality as one observes the ebb and flow of the outside world continue apace as one remains ensconced in a creative buffer zone. And I'm always reminded of the contrast between the glossy pages of the shelves of comics surrounding us and the reality of the raw material we are creating within such a context: this is where it happens. That to me is personally more inspiring than looking at the pretty pictures produced in a publication by a pro - I prefer seeing it happen live. In fact, the same correlation can be drawn between an analogous experience with listening to an mp3 with earplugs versus hearing an actual performance: there's simply no comparison.

The best part's always the basic camaraderie and there was some simply outstanding talent on display - especially from a handful of first-timers. A couple folks showed up from the Visual Art Academy  Cartooning class and the UAF Summer Sessions Cartoon & Comic Art course, a couple random drop-ins from campus who caught the fliers + posters, with some from the local high-schools too, along with some adventurous independents and a recent immigrant to Alaska: to all a warm welcome to the community of Interior cartoonists.

As the clock ticked onward to the second half some spiffy original art started getting racked up to dry on display. There was a range of tools employed from brushes to Microns, even an old-school lightbox made an appearance (no digital tablets this year, though many tablets were in use for reference). Some beautiful washes were made along with excellent linework, both contour and texture, nice use of spot blacks and even a couple bonus color pieces. Even the unfinished material I peeked at in a couple of sketchbooks was impressive: by no means whatsoever were the incomplete efforts any less in caliber than the work of those who managed to do a full set of twenty-four pages. In fact it's one of the side-effects of such an undertaking, to re-calibrate and tackle the challenge again... not to mention what to do with the wealth of ideas and inspiration left over afterwards.
Posted here are some snapshots - crappy ones from an iPhone, but take a minute to check out the links to better versions from a few of this year's participants: Lucas Cheek (website here), Grace Posserotti (website here), Maria Frantz (website here) and Eta Mu (website here). Also both the Aussie-Alaskan Animator and Russell Ryan Pierce returned to meet the challenge as two of the final four who finished all their pages - in color no less. Outstanding!

Artwork by Grace Passerotti
Artwork by Hannah Tallan
Artwork (L-R) by Hannah Foss, Lucas Cheek, Maria Frantz
Artwork by Ryan Russell Pierce

Meanwhile the two returning vets, me and Robin, relinquished the reins as far as leading the charge - at least across the finish line - for this year: despite panel frames + captions meticulously lettered on all twenty-four pages, I barely managed to complete fifteen before doing a face-plant on a table in the back room for an hour, after which I was pretty much useless for the remainder of the event. I think I farted around too long at the onset culling material & editing a script, plus it's harder to use a dip-pen as opposed to a Sharpie, and six-panel pages as opposed to (comparatively) less complicated layouts are always a good idea. This can be crucial when one's style doesn't lend itself to such an undertaking and keeping it simple = keeping pace with high output. Then again, excuses & whines aside ... maybe it could be I'm just be gettin' too damn old for this sorta gig? Nahh... next year I just gotta pack my own coffeepot and set up an IV drip. Regardless, learned firsthand for the first time that it ain't all about finishing - there sure aren't any losers. After recovering it was back in the cartoon saddle cranking out the work the very next day... and remembering what a great time this always is, with a group of good people all doing what we love to do best.

Respect your Elders... let them nap...


  1. Keep being awesome, mate, as always!

  2. Right back atcha: it's a whole team of awesome behind these sorts of things.