Monday, August 29, 2005

The Brattleboro Museum's 24-Hour Comic creation marathon was amazing. The Museum opened all their galleries to the participants -- there were tables and seating in every available space -- and with the great weather that lasted through Sunday morning (when the rains came), many also worked outside. When I arrived at 11:30 Saturday to open the event, every table and chair was taken. Most were ready with their paper and drawing tools, but a few had desktop computers (an almost unthinkable potential when Scott McCloud invented this beast in 1990!).

There were almost 50 participants; I'll post a final head-count as soon as I can confirm the number with the Museum. With a couple of exceptions (reportedly one young participant wrapped up his comic in three or four hours; another gent arrived in the wee hours of the AM and completed a 24-pager in a similarly tight timeframe), all were done or wrapping up their labors at noon Sunday, when I announced the end of the event.

With a little waffling -- making it clear the facts would have to be checked -- I announced to the group that they'd made history: this was, to my knowledge, the largest community of 24-Hour Comics participants ever. Whether this was indeed the largest group to ever gather to create their own 24-Hour comics will have to be sorted out in the next couple of days, but it was a momentous event nonetheless.

I had prepared bags of goodies for each participant: working from the list Museum staffer Teta Hilsdon provided, I signed and personalized a couple comics (SPIDERBABY COMIX #2, which reprints my own 24-Hour comic, "A Life in Black and White", and TYRANT #4) and popped 'em in a red plastic bag with an issue of the CBLDF newsletter (BUSTED!, with a James Kochalka cover to tie-in with the Vermont cartoonists exhibit now at the Museum thru February). I then wrote the name of the person on the bag, and did a sketch 'portrait' of each of 'em as they now looked, "24 hour later..." (basically, puffy Big Daddy Roth-monster eyes and shit-eating grin mouth). Everyone got one, a commemorative gift for their marathon performance.

More after breakfast -- my stomach's growling, and the beast must be fed!

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