24 Hour Comic Book Day 2010

Tomorrow (maybe today by the time you read this) is this year’s 24 Hour Comic Book Day (shouldn’t that be hyphenated?), the artistic exercise that became a sponsorship event for ComicsPRO, the direct market comic book retailer trade organization.

24 Hour Comics Day

It appears that, now that it’s passed on from About Comics, a small publisher that put out several collections of comics created in this fashion, maybe it’s not getting as much attention as it used to. I say this based on two things: 1) the official press page, at the time of this writing, hasn’t been updated since 2009, and 2) I only found out about it this year by reading Thom Zahler’s blog. So my apologies for not posting this early enough for artists to decide to participate.

Zahler, artist of one of my favorite comic series, Love and Capes, is appearing on stage at a local mall:

On October 2nd, I’ll be at the Great Lakes Mall on a stage down by Macy’s and my mall-sponsor Comics and Friends. Wacom is generously loaning a Cintiq to me (that they’ll probably have to pry from my cold dead hands to get back). Mentor TV is providing the big screen. I’m going to start at Noon on Saturday, and draw all the way through Noon on Sunday. I’ll also be Twittering, Facebooking, and uStreaming throughout the whole process.

24x7 cover

That’s a very creative way to turn the artistic challenge of making a 24-page comic in 24 hours from internal experiment to external demonstration of how a comic is made.

Update: Thom posted his writeup of how the day went at his blog, as well as a link to his final comic.

If you’re not in the area, you can follow event reports from all over online at the official blog. Or see if any nearby locations are participating — stop by and support your local artists with good wishes if you can. (Unfortunately, in my home state of Virginia, there’s only one location, it’s two hours away, and it’s not even in a comic store.)

Here are a couple more clever approaches I found at this year’s Small Press Expo that I wanted to mention. First, Alec Longstreth, a Vermont cartoonist, has been creating 24-hour comics for a decade, and he’s collected six of the best in 24×7: A Decade of 24-Hour Comics. In fact, the book itself is a 24-hour project! As Alec says, the book also includes “24 pages of commentary comics, which were drawn, along with all of the endpapers and covers, in one 24-hour period on March 21st, 2010.” You can see samples of those comics, as well as his other work, at the book link. Although heavy on the autobio, a common choice in quick projects as artists stick with what they know best, the art appears strong and diverse, with good character work.

Or, going in another direction, Colleen Frakes was inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which happens in November, to create a 118-page often wordless minicomic called The Trials of Sir Christopher, about a knight questing to kill a dragon. It’s been well-reviewed by Kristy Valenti and Rob Clough. It’s sparse, as you come to expect from these kinds of projects, as niceties like shading or coloring or even backgrounds (although that’s not the case in Colleen’s comic) tend to go by the wayside as artists concentrate on the basics of art and story — but it’s entertaining. You can see the pages here.

If you’ve ever tried to make a 24-hour comic, or a related project, how’d it go? What’d you learn from it, and would you recommend others do it?

7 Responses to “24 Hour Comic Book Day 2010”

  1. Faith Says:

    I did a 24 Hour Comic back in 2005, and it was the very first thing I had published (in one of the About Comics anthologies). You can read it here: http://www.faitherinhicks.com/logic/1.html

    I really enjoyed the experience, even if I ended up doing it alone (tried to get some friends interested, but they weren’t game). I think you learn a lot by being fast, and being forced to just sit and draw… I see a lot of young artists who agonize over their comic work, trying to make it perfect and it can be very discouraging when you’re just starting out, because it feels like you’re not producing very much. I think sitting down and just churning out a story without focusing on how to make it perfect can be very liberating.

    I’d really like to do another 24 Hour Comic, but the official day always seems to fall on an inconvenient date…

  2. Albanymous Says:

    I’d actually put this on my calendar this year with the intention of doing it, but as it turned out, the Albany Vegetarian Network’s expo is also today and I don’t want to miss that…. Grrr. One of these years, I’ll try it.

  3. Bill Says:

    The very first comic I ever drew was a 24 Hour Comic, back in 2002. This was before it was an organized event – I just read about it on Scott McCloud’s site, and decided to give it a shot.

    The art was terrible (you can see it here: http://billroundy.com/comic1.html ), and my complete story was only 18 pages – but I loved making it so much that I’ve been drawing comics ever since. I highly recommend trying it out – it’s a real boost to your creativity, and finishing a project like this give you a real sense of accomplishment. The only down-side is you might find yourself on the path of becoming a poverty-stricken cartoonist…

  4. Bill Says:

    And while I’m linking, compare that artwork to my current project, 8 years later: http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/33/39/bp_roundy1.html?comm=1

  5. Emi Lenox Says:

    I did my first 24 hour comic last year and remember it was quite grueling. But as Erin said, there is something very liberating about completing a 24 page comic in less than a day. I remember my hand hurt for two weeks!

    I did it again this year and thought it would be just as grueling as last year but in fact it was a bit easier! I’m not sure what is, it could be a nunmber of reasons. The venue, my skill level a year later, etc.

    I do plan on doing it again next year as well!

    You can check out both here: http://www.gennyfaith.blogspot.com

  6. Johanna Says:

    Thanks for sharing your links! It is very cool to see how a creator tackles the project over a period of time.

  7. Some Good Hourly Comics » Comics Worth Reading Says:

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