There are two regional small-press comics gatherings this weekend that should be well worth a visit, if you’re in driving distance to either.
There’s the Fluke Mini-Comics and Zine Festival in downtown Athens, Georgia this Saturday, and there’s also the long-lived Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo in my former home-town of Columbus, Ohio on both Saturday and Sunday.
Such shows often provide handy goals or deadlines for self-published creators, giving them a place to debut new work to an audience primed to receive it and thus incentive to get something written, drawn and printed in time to have it there.
Here are two such examples, one from each show.
This marks the third year I have covered FLUKE for Robot 6. In past years, I was pressed for time and was unable to stay long. This year, my 11-year-old son was able to join me. As a Georgia native, I am embarrassed to say FLUKE 2011 was the first time I ever set foot in the legendary 40 Watt Club. I promised myself that unlike last year, I would not leave FLUKE without seeing Joey Weiser. It helped that the main reason my son wanted to attend FLUKE was to get an autograph from Weiser, the creator of one of his favorite comics, Mermin.
Here’s the challenge for someone like me–I stink at being a networking journalist and a parent at the same time–my ability to focus as a journalist falls by the wayside. Case in point: In my search for Weiser, I asked friend of the blog/SCAD professor/Crogan Adventures creator Chris Schweizer–as he stood in front of Dustin Harbin’s table, if he knew where Weiser had a table. Imagine my mortification when Schewizer pointed out I was literally standing next to Weiser. Really. So, at that point I realized, if my son and I were going to have fun at this year’s FLUKE I was going to have to focus on that and be a journalist later. (Did I mention we could only stay two hours? I swear one of these year’s I will have my entire Saturday free for FLUKE promise, just not yet…)
So this year, rather than giving a play-by-play of my walk-around of the FLUKE floor, I am letting folks that had tables at FLUKE 2011 share their perspective.
There was no way I could include everyone, so if you attended or participated in some fashion (or have any kind of opinion), by all means chime in, in the comments section.
This past HeroesCon, I briefly met writer/artist Jason Horn. Stemming from that brief encounter, I learned about his webcomic Ninjasaur ["about a dinosaur who is also a ninja (not the other way around)"]. During this email interview we also briefly dug into another project of his–a continuation of a Norwegian folk tale–Gruff, as well as drawing superheroes for children in the streets of Guatemala (and juxtaposing that with his experience at SDCC). My thanks to Horn for his time and for the opportunity to discuss ninjas and David Lynch in the same sentence.
Tim O’Shea: How did you first come up with the idea of making a dinosaur into a ninja?
Jason Horn: I was at my second FLUKE, a small press convention in Athens Georgia, and I’d had the word Ninjasaur in my head for a few days. I was with my friend, Dean Trippe, who I’d met at FLUKE the previous year, and I told him that I had this word but I didn’t know what it would be. He quickly convinced me to convert that ridiculous word into an awesome webcomic. And, with his help, that’s what I did. Ninjasaur is pretty much just what it sounds like, an absurd comic about a dinosaur ninja that fights people/things while saying something sarcastic.
Joey Weiser is giving readers a variety of choices in order to read his latest work. In catching up on Weiser’s work, you currently have three choices: Cavemen in Space (distributed by AdHouse [PDF preview here]), Mermin (his mini-comic series with two issues released so far about an adorable fish-boy); or Monster Isle (his weekly webcomic, which he told me, was “inspired by Japanese Kaiju monsters, and it’s a lot of fun to make”). The bulk of our interview focuses upon Cavemen in Space (“A caveman named Washington and his prehistoric tribe have been torn from their era and placed aboard ‘The Wheel,’ a futuristic space laboratory…”)–but we also touch briefly upon the initial response to Mermin. My thanks to Weiser for taking the time to discuss his work.
Tim O’Shea: The main appeal to Cavemen in Space (for me) is that many of the Cavemen–transported to a future time, become accustomed to the new world/dynamics to varying degrees. Had you always intended to have that juxtaposition–or was that a nuance to the characters that evolved as the story developed? I was really pleased with the character arcs for Madison and Jefferson.
Joey Weiser: In this case, I came up with the characters first, and the story just formed around them. I wanted to work with a large cast and give them all stories that intertwined. The goofy concept of Cavemen in Space is obviously playing with opposites, so that was a core part of the characters and from that I realized how they would interact with each other and what developments I would want them to have by the end of the book.
OK, I suck. Let me count the ways. Well let me count the ways, when it comes to FLUKE 2010, the ninth annual mini-comics and zine festival held in Athens, Georgia on Saturday (April 17).
Last year when I covered FLUKE 2009, I committed to staying longer than 45 minutes this year. And I did–but I really planned on staying longer than 90 minutes (which is how long I stayed this year).
While the inaugural C2E2 is getting the lion’s share of the attention, it certainly won’t be the only comics convention going on this weekend:
• The Anaheim Convention Center, one of the venues vying for Comic-Con International, will play host to the first Wizard World Anaheim Comic-Con Friday through Sunday.
Comics guests include Simon Bisley, Tim Bradstreet, J.M. DeMatteis, Glenn Fabry, Ale Garza, Phil Jimenez, Drew Johnson, Stan Lee, Rob Liefeld, Mike Mayhew, Arthur Suydam and Bernie Wrightson. Media guests include LeVar Burton, Yvonne Craig, Michael Dorn, Richard Hatch, Kato Kaelin, Juliet Landau, Lee Meriwether, Julie Newmar, Nichelle Nichols, William Shatner, Helen Slater, Brent Spiner, Lindsay Wagner, Billy Dee Williams and the kid who played Young Ben Linus on Lost. Doors open at 3 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
• Denver ComicFest kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn Tech Center in Denver, Colorado, and continues through Sunday. Guests include Dan Brereton, Amy Reeder Hadley, Zach Howard, Jon Boy Meyers, John Porcellino, Whilce Portacio, Fiona Staples, Matt Sturges and Noah Van Sciver.
• The ninth FLUKE mini-comics festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Ciné, 234 W. Hancock Ave., Athens, Georgia. Flagpole has a preview of the event, which will feature such cartoonists as David Mack, Eleanor Davis and Devlin Thompson.