Thursday, September 8, 2011

CALL TO ARTISTS: 24-Hour Comic challenge in Montpelier

Montpelier will again host a 24-Hour Comic challenge on Saturday, Oct. 1st, following up from last year’s successful event. This year, the challenge moves from the local library to Montpelier City Hall, where participants will create a 24-page comic book – story, art and lettering – in a consecutive 24 -hour period.

The event – which occurs on International 24-Hour Comics Day – begins at 10am on Saturday, Oct. 1 and continues for the next 24 hours, concluding early Sunday morning, Oct. 2.

“It may sound hard, but completing a comic book in 24 hours is an amazing and rewarding experience,” said Daniel Barlow, the co-founder of Trees & Hills and one of the organizers of the event. “We're really looking forward to seeing City Hall filled with cartoonists engaged in a creative marathon.”

The 24-Hour Comic challenge has a unique connection to Vermont: It was created two decades ago by cartoonist Scott McCloud (“Understanding Comics”) as a creative challenge for artist Stephen R. Bissette, a Vermont artist who teaches at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, Vt.

“Scott invented the 24 Hour Comic as a challenge, a way of breaking logjams and freeing constrained energy by completing, sans preparation, an entire 24-page comic in a mere 24 hours, start to finish,” Bissette explained. “Whatever we did during that 24 hour stretch -- including distractions like eating, using the bathroom, napping, walking, whatever (in my case, it included making my two kids lunch and picking them up from school ), the clock was still ticking.”

McCloud drew the first 24-Hour comic on Aug. 31, 1990 and Bissette created his days later on Sept. 5. Since then, tens of thousands of others have taken on the challenge. Montpelier Alive, the city’s downtown organization, is one of the organizers of this year’s event. The program is also supported in part by the City of Montpelier Community Arts Fund, the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. It is sponsored by The Drawing Board, and supported with donations from Bagitos, Cabot Cheese, Capitol Grounds, Julio’s and Positive Pie 2.

The event is free and open to cartoonists and artists who are at least 16 years old. Anyone interested in participating is asked to preregister by e-mailing their name, address and telephone number to

For younger cartoonists, Vermont cartoonist Denis St. John will lead a three-hour interactive teaching session on comic storytelling that same morning at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier. That session begins at 10am and concludes at 1pm. To register for that event, please call 802-223-4665. St. John is a 2008 graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction and the popular creator of the “Monsters and Girls” comics. Participants will conclude that session with a complete mini-comic to show off.

Image: Penny watches Marek draw comics, courtesy of Marek Bennett, from Phayvanh Luekhamhan’s website