by Dan Nadel
Monday, December 7, 2009
I wanted to note a few things, partly in response to Heidi’s posts on the event.
According to very unscientific polling, sales were very strong, with as least one publisher saying it was his best sales day ever. My own sales were extremely strong. People seemed to be there to find and buy things. We do hope to move it somewhere next year that would allow us to have programming and exhibitors in a single space.
I think in many ways the most successful aspect was the community feeling. Now, I don’t know at least two-thirds of the exhibitors socially, and I don’t necessarily think a lot of us have much in common artistically. It’s not a scene or some kinda exclusionary clique. The shared thread, I think, is a sense of wanting to represent ourselves without having an artificial frame imposed on us. That, and, of course, mine and Gabe’s taste in comics.
I also want to note that it was/is both of our wishes to make this as aesthetically diverse an experience as possible, and we contacted numerous Marvel/DC/Dark Horse artists, as well as local back issue dealers, but with no success. And I can understand why — it’s a bit out of left field for those outside of whatever we’re calling our sphere. We sincerely hope that next year’s festival will feature certain cartoonists whose work has helped shape superhero and fantasy art, as well as some grand comic strip artists. This goes to our goal of bridging the gaps between (as Santoro might say) the various branches of comics.
And this relates to Heidi’s astute mention that Gary Panter in Brooklyn was like Jack Kirby in San Diego — a kind of spiritual godfather. That is true, but it’s also true that Kirby exerts a huge influence over many of the cartoonists in that room, as does Chaykin, Simonson, and many other “mainstream” (increasingly non-mainstream, really) artists. I guess what I’m saying is that Jack Kirby is our Jack Kirby. After all, one of the busiest tables was Frank Santoro’s back issue bins, in which he highlights such gems as Larry Hama’s brilliant G.I. Joe # 21 (my own “book of the show”) and selections by Michael Golden, Trevor Von Eeden, Carl Barks, Steranko, Kevin Nowlan, et al. Frank’s careful selection is a kind of mini history of comics unto itself. And to me, that’s the crux of it: This generation is looking far and wide for inspiration and finding it in unlikely places. That may be partly why the crowd seemed so jolly and generous: It was a limited selection, but anyone curious enough to come could find something to their liking without having to wade through too much “other stuff”.
Anyhow, the day was great fun and even thought provoking. A couple bits of business: We will be posting the Saul/Panter talk here in a couple days, and by the end of the week PictureBox will have a bunch of new products online, including the new Jimbo mini, CF’s new zine, and Leif Goldberg’s 2010 calendar.