Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Can You Take the 24 Hour Comics Challenge?

On October 7, hundreds of cartoonists will gather at different venues around the world to participate in the 24 Hour Comics Day challenge. The aim? To create a complete 24 page comic book in 24 continuous hours. That means everything: Story, finished art, lettering, colors (if you want 'em), paste-up, everything! No sketches, designs, plot summaries or any other kind of direct preparation can precede the 24 hour period though indirect preparation such as assembling tools, reference materials, food, music etc. is fine. Once pen hits paper, the clock starts ticking. 24 hours later, the pen lifts off the paper, never to descend again. Even proofreading has to occur in the 24 hour period. Computer-generated comics are fine of course, same principles applying.

The 24 hour comics challenge was created in 1990 by Scott McCloud, leading comics theoretician and author of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics. Between 1990 and 2004, people were doing 24 hour comics on their own or in small gatherings for more than a decade. However, we estimated that the number of people who have done them roughly doubled on 2004's inaugural 24 Hour Comics Day, and added a greater number to the list in 2005, with 2006 looking to be bigger still. In 2004, over 500 cartoonists were at work in 57 event locations while in 2005 the event had grown to encompass over 800 cartoonists were at work in 70 event locations. Many more participated from home. This year, official events are planned in 91 locations in 16 countries aropund the world.

While most participants are amateurs, many pro cartoonists take part as well. Past years have seen participation from such big-name artists as former X-Men artist Paul Smith, popular online cartoonist Scott Kurtz (pvponline.com), and Tone Rodriguez (currently working on Conan). While some participants may harbour ambitions of a career as a professional cartoonist, many others are just having fun by trying it.

If any cartoonists in Kenya are interested in participating, please send me an email and we can see how we can organise a venue. For more information on the event, please click here.

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