Sleep Lost, Diets Ruined, Comics Perpetrated – 24 Hour Comics Day A Success

Tue, October 10th, 2006 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor

Official Press Release

Thousand Oaks, California- The third annual 24 Hour Comics Day is now over. While the final numbers are still being tallied, it is clear that over 1200 cartoonists working in almost ninety official event locations in 17 countries turned out well more than 10,000 pages of new, original comics in round-the-clock marathon comics creation sessions. Counting in people who celebrated at home or in private gatherings, it is likely that the total page count hits 20,000. Participants young and old, male and female, and ranged from those taking their first-ever stab at comics creation to well-established pros like The Crow's James O'Barr, Dead@17's Josh Howard, Birds of Prey's Phil Noto, Rumble Girls' Lea Hernandez, Gea', and PvP's Scott Kurtz. Most participants were seriously trying to complete a 24 page comic book story from scratch in 24 hours. Many failed, but from the numbers we have in so far, most succeeded. And it seems almost everyone had a good time, learned things about what they were capable of, and needed a lot of rest at the end of it.

Interesting notes:

· This year's 24 Hour Comics Day fell during Ramadan, which meant that observant Moslems at the three new sites in Indonesia were taking on this challenge while fasting during the daylight hours.

· Cerebus creator and key early 24 hour comics challenger Dave Sim called Night Flight Comics in Salt Lake City, Utah several hours into the challenge and asked to speak to whichever cartoonist had completed the most pages.

· The biggest single location to report in was the Graduates Association of Fine Arts School site in Athens, Greece. Hosted by the comic book shop Comicworld, this event drew in 46 participants, about seventy percent of whom completed the challenge.

· Educational institutions were out in force for this year's event. The biggest turnout reported so far for any single US location was Harvard University, with 38 participants. As an example of how the individual locations varied in style, while all those people did at least some cartooning at the event, none of them actually completed 24 pages (but they all contributed to celebrating cartooning!)

· The participants ranged in age from a 4 year old working at the Institut Teknologi Bandung in Bandung, Indonesia to a 62 year old at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Oregon, USA.

"It's easy to see the value in the event in terms of encouraging creativity," says Nat Gertler, who founded 24 Hour Comics Day in 2004. "What people overlook is the value in people spending 24 hours focused on any one project. In these days when our attention spans are supposedly shot and dedication is nil, the willingness of people to spend that long consecutive period qctively focused on one goal is a good thing."

24 Hour Comics Day is built around a the 24 hour comics challenge, a dare created by leading comics theoretician Scott McCloud. One of the requirements of the challenge is that a copy of the finished story must be sent to McCloud. As he's currently on tour promoting his new book Making Comics, About Comics is collecting the stories on his behalf. The decision of whether an anthology of highlights from this year's event has yet to be made. "I'm going to have to see what gets submitted," says Gertler, who has edited highlight anthologies for the past two years event. "It's not a question of whether there will be enough good material. That's never been a problem. But assembling that book is a very daunting, time-consuming task, and the more submitted stories that must be considered, the larger and more wearing it becomes.

"Turnout was about 50% higher than last year's, which was about 50% higher than the year before. And next year – and there will be a next year, although it will be a while before the date is announced – is likely to be bigger still. Word seems to spread. We saw that with first-time participating countries like Greece, Finland, Belgium, Indonesia, England, and especially Italy, each of which joined in with multiple event sites.

"There may be some bigger arts creation event in the world, but I can't think of it."

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