Wow! It's October 1st already -- it seems like the heralding of 2014 is approaching with the subtlety of a freight train! But as fast as this year seems to be dwindling down, I'm quite proud what we've been accomplishing, especially in the month of September!
For whatever reason, the fates had aligned where I had an event EVERY WEEKEND last month and all of them were in the great state of Ohio -- the land of my birth and where I make my way as a self-publisher! Each event was quite varied, both in stature, longevity and style -- it made every experience there unique and insanely fun!
Creative Control Fest - We kicked things off in our hometown of Columbus, where at the historic Lincoln Theatre, co-creators Marshall Shorts and Corey Favor brought together a number of creative voices from the community to share their gifts. In only it's second year, this event is RIPE with potential to expand out and become something even more remarkable -- not limited by any one artistic discipline or style. In fact -- that's the whole point! With their quotable slogan of #ShutUpandCreate, CCF serves as the perfect platform for those already getting their hands dirty in the world of art, music, fashion and more.
I was invited to be a speaker, giving a peek into my process for production our growing library of comics. It was a lot of fun and the more I do it, the more I enjoy being in that role, sharing and offering the insights I've accrued over these last ten years or so. The response to me was QUITE positive, introducing me as a truly innovative (if not frank) voice on commercial creativity! I DEFINITELY hope to return next year.
Cincinnati Comic Expo - I've been attending this show for the last three of it's four years and each time I feel like it does something different for me in my standing as comic creator! Despite the challenge of a rival show only the weekend before, I think CCE did well -- maybe the traffic took a bit of hit, but I think not being the only game in town is going to force them to evolve into something even better! I'm kinda excited for what comes out of it! I do want to give a special shout out to Amanda Gilliam -- the HARDEST working woman in the convention market -- she aimed to take care of HER CCE guests to the utmost and it didn't even matter if we were at her show yet or not (she actually took a 4-mile walk to get McDonalds for my sons and I at Wizard World Chicago)!
This year, I was a featured guest, with a beautiful 10x10 booth just opposite of the GREAT Darryl Banks! We had THREE U Cre-8 Comics panels throughout the weekend -- sharing the power of IMAGINATION with quite a few young creators! Seeing people repeat was a tremendous highlight and certainly added credence to what the U Cre-8 line can inspire!
Wizard World Ohio - Mid-Ohio has been the biggest comic event in Central Ohio, reaching back more than 30yrs -- at the 2009 show, it was announced that Wizard World Ent. had purchased it -- adding it to the growing list of shows to their national roster. Needless to say, that was met with mixed reviews -- we knew pricing was going to go up, there would be more media stars to contend with, but it would also bring a bit more attention to our local comic scene. After 2yrs under their umbrella, things were looking a bit heady, but this year they totally KILLED IT! Sometimes, when new management takes over, it takes a few tries before they find their legs -- but seriously, they've definitely nailed it!
I certainly had a TREMENDOUS show -- that goes without saying, but the best part for me was in helping other local artist get a spot at the show. The irony is that just doing the show created a divide amongst myself and other local creators; ones who look at Wizard as this corporate entity, not truly supportive of small-press talents. Things got a bit prickly, considering there was a simultaneous event (Independents Day), that aimed to spotlight those artists -- it became a very Us vs. Them thing, which I think truly undermines the point that Columbus can support a WIDE-RANGE of comic book ideals. While not as dangerous as the rap wars of the 90's, things got a little heated with internet thug-speak! Lol!
2013 Mix Symposium - The Columbus College of Art Design hosted its 2nd annual, Mix Symposium, showcasing most of the Indie talent here in the city! That followed up last years event (which I heard was QUITE good!), with Jeff Smith -- famed creator of Bone and RASL as the keynote speaker! Robert Loss, the English professor at CCAD, did a FANTASTIC job of bringing in talent and panelists to discuss our ideas, processes and more.
Despite the hubbub from the week before, this really was a GREAT event (everyone genuinely put down their swords for the betterment of ALL comics)! For myself, it was a better than great -- first I got to start off Saturday's programming with my workshop The VIPs of Self-publishing (Tom Spurgeon, noted comic journalist, sat in on my workshop and wrote up about it on The Comic Reporter - look for Sept. 29th)! I had a nicely populated room of about 15-20 folks -- all of them eagerly scribbling down my insights and musings.
After a short break, we premiered White Scripts and Black Supermen -- the documentary from Dr. Jonathan Gayles, that takes a look at the ideas of black masculinity in characters from the 1960's/70's. It was awesome to finally watch it with a crowd (I had a screeners copy sent to me earlier this summer), and to hear their reactions. I had the distinct pleasure of being the moderator for the Q&A session that followed and it was BEYOND wonderful! Sharing the stage with Dr. Gayles and Tony Isabella (a creator noted for his attempts to showcase more diversity in comics), was truly a career highlight and I'd like to think I made a decent impression on them both!
All in all, September -- though EXTREMELY busy, was a sincerely rewarding display of comic booky awesome that I'm so glad I got to do! Now, let's see what October has in store for us…!
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