Comics Festival, version 2.0

12 Dec
By Darryl Ayo

I don’t feel comfortable with the culture of comics festivals and I am advocating for a culture of true arts festivals. I would like to visit a comics festival that is not only free to attend but also largely void of direct sales on the show floor. The average comic show is something along the lines of a craft sale. There is no tradition in our culture for a festival of comics in which exhibitors are not trying to pitch their wares at passers-by.

I want to go to a comics festival in which the show floor is comprised of various booths which can act as miniature galleries, small viewing areas, small reading areas, entertainment spaces and so on. I would like to visit a comics festival in which there are activities such as panel discussions, artist Q&As, documentary screenings, reading spaces and presentations…all without any cartoonists actually sitting behind a table, smiling nervously and hoping that enough people buy their book that they might afford their plane ticket home.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a comics festival didn’t have that awkward pressure of introverts trying to sell their heart’s work to strangers? Wouldn’t it be pleasant if we could all speak with one another without the sad ritual of buying each other’s work, sending that poor, single twenty-dollar-bill traveling around the room and back?

If you’ve chatted with me about comics between MoCCA 2011 and BCGF 2011, you may have already heard my rough drafts for this before. We will surely speak of it again if you let me.

5 Responses to “Comics Festival, version 2.0”

  1. Mickey Quinn December 12, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Yeah, the whole sales-table aspect really freaks me out, I’d be much happier just chatting about comics from an craft perspective with fellow cartoonists!

  2. Jason Strutz December 12, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    While I actually do like the selling aspect, its does get tiring. A shop talk gathering/art show science fair would be cool, and I would feel free to explore the show myself without the fear that I am losing sales.
    I do think the pay to attend standard is a bit killer on crowds of people who may not feel the need to buy tickets to something they only have a passing interest in.

    • darrylayo, eternal antagonist December 19, 2011 at 5:51 am #

      Also I don’t understand the logic in buying tickets for a glorified shopping mall.

      Paying for the privilege to buy more stuff?

  3. jdalton December 13, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    I like conventions where I can sell stuff.

    But I will say this for the idea. As someone who has tried (and failed) to get government arts grants to pay for a convention, it would probably be easier to get that capitol-A Arts money if your convention paid artists to show up as pure exhibitors rather than making them pay for the opportunity to sell books to attendees.

  4. ross December 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    i’d love a show like that. ahh, so little pressure. but on the other hand i’m not sure where actual printed comics (or webcomics) would come into play, would artists bring a bunch of their comics for people to read in the reading area for free? as much as i like seeing original artwork (except in that one photo in this post, how are you supposed to see the pages so high up on the wall?!), the comics themselves are the real finished piece, the pages are just incidental, but how would they come into play?

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