by Pamela Auditore
By the time some of you read this, weary artists across the country will be putting down their pencil’s as time is called on 24-Hour Comic Day.
Could you make a Comic in 24 hours?
That’s the challenge artists took up at local Comic Shops like Galaxy of Comics in Van Nuys,CA, Saturday through Sunday morning.
Beginning at 8am artists were busily drawing, inking, writing, painting, and eating boxes of pizza in an effort to complete a 24 page story in 24 hours. Forcing themselves to stretch the limit of their stamina, hoping to string comic panels into a coherent narrative without the benefit of preparation, pre-planning or a script.
If the artists complete their projects, they’ll earn the satisfaction of achieving something neither Neil Gaiman or Kevin Eastman (Teen-Age Mutant Ninja Turtles) could in the 24 hour continuous time frame. Additionally, if they finish, they are given cover letters and invited to send a copy of their comic to the national 24-Hour Comic Book Day archive, which is hosted by the Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.
The 24-Hour Comic Day event began simply as an exercise in 1990 by Understanding Comics cartoonist, Scott McCloud, to challenge himself and his friend Stephen R. Bissette. With comic industry big names taking part and spreading the word, metamorphosising into an annual event in 2004. (You can read the history here). Meant to help artists shake off cob-webs, push through blocks, limber up their story telling abilities and push creativity. Examples Scott McCloud and friend’s own attempts at a 24-Hour Comics (including Eastman’s and Gaiman’s) are archived here.
But what’s in it for the Comic Shop Retailer who hosts the event? I asked Warren Jaycox, owner of Galaxy of Comics.
“We’ve been doing it for a few years now. Its a great event to do, getting very artistic people in to do a 24 page comic is really cool. It’s an event and I can run a sale, make a big t0-doo of it and eat pizza!”
Why put yourself through a sleepless 24-Hours when you don’t have to? (Participants are allowed naps.)
I asked one artist, Andrew, while applying red marker to his sketchpad,”To see if I can make a comic in 24 hours. Normally, I do collage and other artwork. This is my first attempt at doing a comic.”
Another artist, Daphne, told me while taking a break and bite of dessert, “I work in a creative field. sI always need to be doing something creative. Normally, its being creative for other people and I enjoy that. But sometimes its nice to be pushed to be creative entirely for you.”
In addition, to Galaxy of Comics, two other Comic Shops hosted 24-hour Comic Events in Southern California: The Comic Bug in Torrance https://www.facebook.com/thecomicbug and Four Color Fantasy in Rancho Cucamonga https://www.facebook.com/4cfrancho
Also, if you go to Twitter and look at #24CD, you will see more examples of artwork.
For those interested in participating next year, it will be on the First Saturday in October, regardless of date. For more information and resources http://www.24hourcomicsday.com.