For several years, those who feel that the San Diego Comic-Con has lost the comics part of the equation (even though it isn’t true at all ) have been wondering if an alternative event — a “Slamdance*” to CCI:SD’s Sundance — would spring up. And artist/animators Scott Morse and Ted Mathot (who both have Pixar as a day job) are making this “Slamcomic” come true with TR!CKSTER, an alternative venue for comics events that will be open to the public and located right across the tracks from the SD Convention Center.
TR!CKSTER is a retail space: specializing in CREATOR-OWNED wares including small run and limited edition books, fine art prints, toys, clothing, and more.
TR!CKSTER is a fine art gallery space: featuring the CREATOR-OWNED work of some of today’s most influential artists and designers.
TR!CKSTER is a series of Symposia: focused, CREATOR-DRIVEN demonstrations and discussions of method, process, and theory concerning the act of creating new, uniquely-voiced works of art.
We at TR!CKSTER create and control our own work, our own visions, and our own destinies. We do these things to share them with the world. We’d love to make your acquaintance.
Tr!ckster will run from Tuesday to Sunday of Con week, spotlighting creator owned comics with exhibits, a store, ticketed-symposium, and plenty of drinks — including the specially-designed High Five — at night — the 4,500 sq. ft. venue, the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center, that mysterious big building that looms right across the tracks and next to the Gaslamp Hilton and that patch of grass where movie companies usually set up a carnival. Creators involved are the top of the line:
Mike Mignola, Craig Thompson, Mike and Laura Allred, Paul Pope, Bernie Wrightson, Steve Niles, Greg Rucka, Jill Thompson, Skottie Young, Jim Mahfood, Mike Huddleston, Marc Andreyko, Fabio Moon, Andy Kuhn, Steve Purcell, Doug TenNapel, David Mack, Greg Ruth and many many more.
The website already has a boatload of information. The public will need to buy tickets to the symposia which will focus on process, technique, history and other process-related topics — profits will go to the participants.
Morse told The Beat:
The goal is to create a comforting, classy atmosphere where fans and creators can find a haven for art and comics storytelling. Creators might sign books or do drawings on a schedule, but not be expected to sign stacks of books or the like if they don’t want to. NO BOOTHS. It’ll be like a *hopefully* well-designed retail store that you can navigate leisurely mixed with an art gallery vibe of cocktail hour ALL WEEK. We’ll do a soft opening on Tuesday night, and then it’s full-speed ahead.
Morse and Mathot are paying for this themselves, but will have animation screenings from Cartoon Brew, art collective The Brothers Ink, and exhibitors Global PSD, the Chinese printer, and WHAMIX! iPad comics promoter.
Tr!ckster also aims to become the perfect alternative to the Hyatt with a bar (no food) and a large outdoor patio. We can already see the fun and drama unfolding in our mind’s eye. Comic book bands THE GEAR featuring Mike Allred and nerd-core king KIRBY KRACKLE will supply the entertainment.
Tr!ckster has already put together an all-star anthology which will be on sale at the event.
“We’re not making a “small press” show like APE or a glorified artist’s alley,” Morse continued. “We’re making something incredibly new…and creator-owned.”
Our take? This was an inevitable evolution away from the scrum and filmed-entertainment-oriented focus of so much of the Comic-Con energy. We’ve been saying for years that comics should fight back to get their share of the spotlight in their signature event, but for whatever reason — fatigue, etc. — it hasn’t happened. However, this should become a huge nightlife congregation for the comics people of Comic-con and a real rallying point for how the comics world
is evolving has evolved into a part of the larger cultural landscape.
It’s also part of the Angoulême-ization of Comic-Con, with comics gradually taking over the whole town for the whole week.
It’s going to be fun.
* Slamdance is the indie/experimental film event that runs alongside the more mainstream-y Sundance, which itself started as an indie alternative to the Cannes Film festival and the American FIlm mMarket.
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.