I ran into familiar faces from ConCarolinas, such as the Carolina Ghostbusters and Comic Illustrator Tom Fleming. They must’ve been as tired as I was.
|Con or College class?|
Well, there were panels, of course, but they didn’t define define the overall experience. Alumni and staff from the Savannah College of Art and Design hosted this year’s educational workshops and drawing contest attended by writers, illustrators, as well as any young student who wanted to learn either. For anybody who is not sure where to take their career path, I surely recommend attending for the workshops.
The first workshop I attended covered the growing world of self-publishing. Indie comics and zines are a subcategory of comics that is still unknown by the greater population and may not be known to newbie artists only familiar with superheroes and newspaper syndicates. SCAD alumnus David Allen Duncan held a workshop on mini comics, showing attendees the variety of handmade comics and binding styles one can create. It’s very fascinating to see how professional one can make a handmade comic look with only 11 x 17 photocopied construction paper and access to a basic photocopier.
Later on, I joined several illustrators in one of their ongoing drawing contests. We drew whatever came to our minds for 20 minutes and submitted the work with our name and contact info. I sat there with with children as young as three to people old enough to be their great grandparents (I’m not kidding, there were people who had to be in their 70s in that room). I didn’t win, of course, but I was glad to get my talent out there to be seen while getting to see the talent of those around me. If the parents keep up the good work, will be a lot of future published illustrators coming out of that room.
Out of nowhere, my 17 year old personality took over from some dormant region in my brain, unleashing a giggling frenzy that made a situation more awkward than it already was. Thankfully I was able to redeem myself later when I sat in a panel he co-hosted discussing humor in comics.
|See Frank, I wasn’t lying!|
Comics Beat has a much better article on said panel so just read their’s:
Ducks, Detectives and Demographics
At a earlier panel, Don Rosa, Joe Stanton, the respective current artists for The life and Times of Scrooge McDuck and Dick Tracy respectively, and their moderator, Tom Hetjies, editor of the magazine Hogan’s Alley, provided a discussion on their respective comics and the diverged preference of genres between the US and International comic markets.
One detail that has contributed to this perception was the ever changing nature of comic availability. I remember going into a 7-Eleven and being able to grab an X-men or Sonic comic off the rack near the newspaper stand. Mr. Rosa sadly reminded us of Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown tried to grab a comic off the highest rack of a newsstand shelf. Rosa commented on how the joke was lost on young readers because they could not understand the concept of buying a comic at a newsstand.
As disappointing as it sounded, I was given a warning just before the panel began. I was outside the panel room brandishing my cell phone trying to get a signal on my phone when I heard someone behind me. It was Don Rosa.
“This is why I don’t do American Panels” he muttered to Hetjies as he entered the room.
It’s bad enough that Hollywood movies are becoming increasing inbred, featuring the same plots starring the same actors, but comics need the variety that helped it survive the comics code, and if that is whittled down to few options, then American pop culture is doomed.
I have a lot to say about this but I’ll continue in a later post.
As an artist myself, the still surviving popularity of comics like Uncle Scrooge and Dick Tracy remind me that my options are open when I explore my own career and the United States is not the end-all to a flourishing career. I don’t have to pigeonhole myself into narrow genres or interests to fit what these some hollow-minded corporation defines as “comics”. If the US ignores me and some other country loves my stuff, well, I’m getting on a plane and greeting my foreign fans. There is a saying that you’re never a hero in your own home town. Their loss.
….. And Diversity
Afua Richardson. The roster changes every year, so definitely check with the website every year.
Drink N Draw
|Original work from “zits” creator Jerry Scott|
|“Mutts” work signed by Patrick McDonnell|
Attendees also contributed their own pieces of artwork onto HeroesCon brand coasters, memo paper or their own sketchbook paper to donate as they enjoyed alcoholic drinks of their choice. My contribution to the auction received the attention of Terry Maltos (representing the work of late brazilian artist Al Rio) who invited me to a bigger auction the next night, and local Charlotte area Artist John Hairston Jr, who thought I had a table! A sign that I really need to get my “S” together and get back to work.
The following Saturday, Maltos invited me to a bigger auction were I got to see the results of artists who spent most of the previous convention days buried in their canvases, whipping up original pieces for purposes no one knew until we arrived to see the finished products all over to the Westin ballroom.
|Artists working on their auction pieces.|
One of the first items on the block was the complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes signed by Bill Watterson. As the haggler announced, this was the equivalent of getting “Catcher in the Rye” signed by J.D. salinger. It took some time, and $1,000 but someone did buy the collection. Smart man.
John Hairston Jr’s work was purchased for $250.
Check more about the auction at this link from Comic Art Community:
I moved to Charlotte just when HeroesCon 2012 was in full effect and promised myself to attend the following year. It was worth the wait. I met people I had not expected to, made connections I had not expected to. For the whole experience, the only thing I had to pay for was registration — $40. That pretty much beats tuition and two years of school work if you need to update your skills or simply want to explore uncharted territory. Any other expenses –food, paraphernalia, souvenirs –were up to me.
As of now, I’v been trying to fix what’s broken, and been working on whatever’s in development hell. By the time Heroes Con 2014 rolls by, I hope to at least join the ranks of the table set. Well see.
John Hairston Jr.—http://allcitystudios.com/home.html
Afua Richardson– http://www.afuarichardson.info/