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It's Magic: Comic Release Parties

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Comic shops are making the extra effort to bring creators and fans together during comic release parties.

While struggling to drag myself out of bed isn’t an altogether unique experience, when I found myself in this predicament on a recent Sunday morning, it was the cause that was unusual. My two-year-old hadn’t had a particularly restless night. No, the night before had been the second of two comic store release parties I had gone to in the same week. What I was feeling were the ill effects of the unexpected return of some semblance of a social life.

And before you get on my case about considering two events at a comic book store a social life, let me remind you that my wife Wendy and I, since our baby came along two and a half years ago, haven’t had too many opportunities to paint the town red. So we appreciate the effort that two of our local comic shops make to host these gatherings, not just because we need an excuse to get out, but because they do a great job at bringing the local comic community together to celebrate the release off a worthwhile and often independent comic project.

So it was during this week that I first attended a Wednesday night party at Rocketship Comics in Brooklyn, NY for the release of the second Awesome Anthology: Awesomer. This is a collection of short comic stories told by some of the best indie creators in the field today and produced by the guys from the podcast, Indie Spinner Rack (their names are Charlito and Mr. Phil). But the really great thing about this anthology, without discounting the stories or the great cover by Jeff Smith of Bone, is that it was a project put together for the purpose of raising money for a student scholarship to the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Also at that party was Awesomer contributor Julie Wertz with her two volumes of Fart Party. I know the title is certainly catchy, but I never made the effort to find out more about it until I read Julie’s hilarious (this is not an overstatement) story in Awesomer. So I was pleased that she was there at the party for me to make the connection and pick up her book.

          

After the indie love-fest of the party at Rocketship, I only had three short days of recovery time until I hit the next event, the release party for Brian Azzarello’s graphic novel, Filthy Rich. In case anyone thought that the other party was too indie, this one had a nice mix of industry professionals who cash checks with the Superman logo on it. Besides Azzarello, there were a number of Vertigo creators, including Garth Ennis, and editors at the party.

Since I clearly don’t have much in common with those who know not the pains of having to produce and distribute a book yourself, I spent much of my time talking to indie artist and creator of Johnny Hiro, Fred Chao. See photo with me, Bergen Street Comics co-owner Amy Adams, and Fred.

I know that it requires a larger city like New York to pull off a gathering of creators, editors, retailers, and fans, and even then, it takes a lot of work on the comic shop owners’ part to coordinate the event. This is why I’d really like to express my gratitude to comic shops like Rocketship and Bergen Street for making the effort to show that a comic community can be more that a bunch of geeks on their computers in their basements. With all the forums and twittering that seems to dominate this industry’s social sphere, it’s really nice to have a place that’s established a physical location to bring people who care about comics together, face to face.

As long as comic shops are willing to provide these events, I’m willing to lose a little sleep to work on my social life.

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Tyler Chin-Tanner started his own publishing company, A Wave Blue World, and writes and draws layouts for Adrenaline, its flagship series.
© 2009 Tyler Chin-Tanner.  All rights reserved.
Email: tyler@awaveblueworld.com
www.awaveblueworld.com

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