Meanwhile, in Chicago it was the all-time greatest cartoonist confab, the Comics: Philosophy and Practice event, which was overshadowed a bit by the presence of a NATO summit in Chicago at the very same time—apparently traffic and security were taxing.
Christopher Borelli’s report is written contrasting the two summits, while noting the enormity of the attendees:
In the hall where most of the conference took place, at the quiet parties afterward and at the dinners, the visiting dignitaries were a heady, legendary bunch: R. Crumb sitting next to Ware, who sat next to Daniel Clowes. Gary Panter and Joe Sacco huddling behind them; Lynda Barry napping; Phoebe Gloeckner sketching. Art Spiegelman, smoke curling around the hands bunched at his face, sat with wife Francoise Mouly, art director of the New Yorker — themselves editors of a magazine, RAW (“The Graphix Magazine Of Postponed Suicides”), that made a few careers in the room.
Borelli’s account is full of lots of anecdotes—from fans talking to R. Crumb to Seth and Aline Kominsky-Crumb kibitzing on a panel. It seems to have been a kibitzing kind of weekend. Although there were no tickets left for the event, it seems that some people didn’t show up or had difficulty getting through the police lines, so those who got to see the panels were even more special than you thought already. One of them was cartoonist Jessica Abel, whose tweets are probably the best account of the weekend—hopefully she’ll write them up into a more quotable form. The panel with Charles Burns, Seth, Dan Clowes, and Chris Ware (!) seems to have been a treasure trove of great lines about making comics, along with a bit of the loneliness of the long-distance cartoonist thrown in:
Seth: to make book, have to have high confidence balanced with self loathing. Burns: self loathing v important. #comicscon
— Jessica Abel (@jccabel) May 19, 2012
Elsewhere, someone quoted Ivan Brunetti:
“Everyone who draws suffers a bit.”
We’re always amazed (and sad) to hear of the self-loathing of the world’s greatest cartoonists, but hey, as long as they keep drawing.
For visuals, Scott Roberts has some sketches and Ryan Standfest has a Facebook albm from which we’ve taken these photos. These images of great cartoonists seated in comfy chairs before giant blow-ups of their art provide a great view of just how it should be more often.
And for those of us who missed it? The event website offers this tantalizing promise: The multimedia for this event will be added to the website soon.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.