As the comics live event business diverges into Cons and CAFs (comic arts festivals), both seem to be thriving. In 2013 Fort Wayne got its own CAF, Appleseed, and the 2014 edition is ramping up with a Kickstarter. Showrunner Zack Kruse, has got some strong guests planned including Peter Bagge, and it sounds like yet another promising stop on the indie comics circuit:
The Appleseed Comics & Art Convention is gearing up for it’s 2014 outing, and is drumming up early support through Kickstarter. Next May might seem like a long way off, but for convention runner Zack Kruse, “Now is the time for the show to start building momentum.” The event will be held May 17 and 18 next year in Fort Wayne at the Grand Wayne Center. In the past , Fort Wayne comic book conventions have hosted hundreds of comic book artists and writers, and the 2014 Appleseed show has a guest list that will reach over one hundred creators.
The very early announcements for the 2014 guest list boast creators like Peter Bagge (HATE, Neat Stuff), Tom Scioli (Captain America: Hail Hydra, Godland, American Barbarian), Dave Wachter (Godzilla, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Guns of Shadow Valley), Ryan Browne (God Hates Astronauts, Manhattan Projects, Bedlam), Ed Piskor (Wizzywig, American Splendor, The Beats), Action Lab Entertainment (Princeless, Ghost Town, Fracture, Vamplets). “I’ve been running shows for five years and, the level of talent that we are able to get for Appleseed never ceases to amaze me,” say Kruse. “Even running the show, I get really pumped up about who’s going to be here. I can’t wait to meet them or hang out or buy a bunch of books and art from them.” Kruse went on to say that it is the personal nature of the show that makes it so much fun to attend. “One of the other things that I love about this show is that it is purely comics and art—everything from the most independently minded work to the very mainstream. We have artists and writers from just about every level of the industry. We have creators who are doing work at Marvel and DC, independent creators, creators who work on licensed properties [such as Star Wars and Disney characters], and Eisner Award winners and nominees. It’s so rewarding to have all these creators here.”
If successful, the Appleseed will use the Kickstarter funds to enhance its guest list even further, develop great panels and workshops for the weekend, and perhaps most ambitiously, it will also sponsor community events that will engage and excite new and existing comics fans. According to Kruse, these events will include bi-weekly meet ups for area comic creators and fans, a mini film festival, involvement in existing community arts events, and bringing comic creators to speak at local universities and libraries.
“Comics are my passion,” Kruse continues. “This convention was born out of not just a love for the medium, but for the community that has arisen from it. I want people to come out and experience what I love about comics and what has made them so important to me and countless other fans. If people come to Appleseed and leave feeling even a little bit of the excitement I have, then the show was a success.”
“Fort Wayne is a great city,” Kruse concludes. “There are a lot of young people here that are doing some very exciting things, and I’m just glad to be a part of it. We’re lucky to have the youthful entrepreneurs that we do, and we’re lucky to have such an amazing arts and geek community.”
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.