Its time for cartoonists everywhere to start storing up sleep. They’re going to need it when October 20th rolls around, because that’s the date for this year’s 24 Hour Comics Day – the annual holiday where cartoonists worldwide each try to draw 24 pages of comics in 24 straight hours.
This will be the fourth year for this international celebration of cartoon creation. Built around the 24 hour comics challenge created by Scott McCloud (leading comics theoretician and author of Understanding Comics and Making Comics), the day encourages an outpouring of creativity and artists discovering just what they’re capable of.
To encourage creators to take part, official 24 Hour Comics Day events are hosted by comics shops, schools, libraries, comics clubs, and other businesses and organizations. They give cartoonists (pro and amateur alike) the chance to work side by side, sharing energy and snacks. In 2006, over 1200 cartoonists worked at about 80 event locations in 17 countries on five continents, producing around 20,000 pages of comics.
One difference from previous years is that About Comic is not planning a 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights book for this year. “Frankly, as the number of people participating in 24 Hour Comics Day has gone up, orders for the Highlights book has gone down. As such, the book has become unprofitable and the editing effort huge. So instead of having the one big central book, I’m encouraging the event sites to put together their own print-on-demand books from stories done at their events. That way, more of the 24 hour comics get published, and I have more time to put together books like Schulz’s Youth, the upcoming collection of Charles Schulz’s cartoons about teenagers.”
The book 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2006 will hit stores this month. This contains 10 stories from last year’s event, including ones by Frazer Irving (artist of Marvel’s Silent War, Steve Troop (featuring his Melonpool characters), and Rob Osborne (a story that serves as the base for an upcoming graphic novel.)
The list of participating event sites will be released this summer. “At this point,” explains Gertler, “we’re just starting to sign up the event sites. It looks like most of last year’s sites will return, and we’ve already heard from potential locations in countries that have not had 24 Hour Comics Day events in the past. I encourage not only comic book stores but also arts groups, comics clubs, schools, libraries, and just about any other business or organization to consider hosting an event. It can be a gas!”
More information, including details of the 24 hour comics challenge and on hosting a 24 Hour Comics Day event, can be found at 24HourComics.com.