Recently I was at the Red & White Comic Expo, put on by Phoenix Comics. Named so for the event hall, called the Red & White club. It overlooks a football field, and this club is where the wealthier patrons will often dine.
It’s not lost on us that a gathering of nerdy pop-culture invades a sports-church. The demographics involved don’t often overlap.
I was selling copies of my books, FIGHT COMICS, sharing the area with friends and collaborators. It was a good day, but the best part was probably wandering to all the creators tables and buying their books. Not the prints, or comics from their own collections, but their own comics. The ones they made themselves.
I’m a sucker for indie comics. You can find some amazing stuff, and it’s so unfiltered. There’s no publishing wall to break through; if you’ve made the book and you’re at the table, you’ve broken in.
The voices of the stories can be amazing as well. Sometimes it’s an artist that has some amazing visuals in their head, and they’re building a story just so they can get it out in front of people. The dialogue might ring a little hollow, or the characterizations won’t make complete sense, but you don’t care because you can see that vision they’re trying to show you.
Other times, you’re holding in your hands a book that they have thought through extensively. Each page has been carefully considered and developed. Nothing is just thrown out for fun; in fact, the fun was in building the details and making sure everything held together flawlessly. Even if the story doesn’t work for me, I turn each page with deep respect.
There’s also many creators who having so much fun that you can’t help but smile as they turn out joke after joke in each story. I don’t write a lot of humor, so I’m pretty jealous…
I love a lot of comics, and I enjoy stuff published by the majors, don’t get me wrong. But nothing quite has the excitement of bringing home a stack of books that I have exactly zero preconceptions on. I have no idea what I’m in for.
So I buckle up, and turn the page.
Some personal favorites from the show are below. They’re both examples of the kind of work I wouldn’t find anywhere else, which proves the importance of these comic shows.
Emily Chu and Christian Frederiksen