Comicopolis and Minneapolis

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Like Timmy Williams, I’m from South Dakota. It’s the kind of state where, if a comics event gets billed anywhere within driving distance, you’re obliged to show up because it might be the last one you’ll ever see. Right now, the biggest thing SD has going for it is Chris Browne (Hagar the Horrible). When Mr. Browne RSVPs for an event in Sioux Falls, you show up. When a high school has its own comic book convention, you go and buy every bad manga-inspired mini. When Scott McCloud makes a 50 state tour, you thank the lord.

This was my upbringing. So when I moved to the comparatively exciting metropolis of Minneapolis two years ago, I did so with the understanding that my new community of cartoonists might supply me with a wider range of slightly less pathetic comics-centric events to attend.  I was thrilled.

Yes, I knew my schedule would fill up a bit more than usual, but lately I can’t get a break from it all.  When one comics show closes (Big Funny), another one opens (Comicopolis), and while a big anthology project is taking off (Lutefisk Sushi), another one is winding down (The City Pages Comix Issue). These cartoonists are keeping me on my feet, and really, I’m tired of it. I don’t know how New York copes.  When do those people see their families?

David Lloyd sketching in the Big Time Attic studio.

David Lloyd sketching in the Big Time Attic studio.

Last night, when I went to my first International Cartoonist Conspiracy meeting in two years, I ran into V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd who just happened to stop by because he was in the area. This event clarified the root of my scheduling problem. Minneapolis has a thriving indie comics scene. It’s not limping, it’s not waning. It’s strong and snowballing. Could it be, it’s magnetic?

Anyway, there is no denying it now. The flat, frigid Midwest has sequestered the Twin Cities and made it one of indie comics’ best kept secrets, but now I want you in on it.

Minneapolis is home to King Mini, Zak Sally, Tom Kaczynski, JP Coovert, Kevin Cannon, Tyler Page, Tim Sievert, Sam Hiti, Will Dinski, etc., the MCAD comics program, the International Cartoonist Conspiracy, Big Brain Comics, the Source, Dreamhaven, Arise! Bookstore, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, the Twin Cities Zinefest, FallCon, MicroCon, Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Book Festival, Wet Paint, and the list goes on.

Minneapolis cartoonists (left to right): Tim Sievert, Kevin Cannon, Danno Klonowski, Brett Von Schlosser.

Minneapolis cartoonists (left to right): Tim Sievert, Kevin Cannon, Danno Klonowski, Brett Von Schlosser.

Talented, friendly Twin Cities cartoonists have a lot of exhibition time, book consignment options, access to rare supplies, institutions that bring in killer guest speakers, very hospitable conventions, not to mention comics-loving press by the boatload (me, Jay Gabler, Dylan Thomas, Tom Horgen, Britt Aamodt, etc.).  There.  I said it.  Accept it.

Maybe you’re used to this kind of environment, or maybe comics where you live are simply overlooked. I’d just like to recommend that – whatever your comics community has to offer – that you not take it for granted.  If you’ve got a good thing going for you, like a well-stocked shop or a small town celebrity, I hope you’re out there supporting it.  If by surprise someday the fandom starts wearing you out, just consider yourself lucky.

Sarah Morean

International Cartoonist Conspiracy founder Steve Stwalley and child at the Comicopolis opening last week.

International Cartoonist Conspiracy founder Steve Stwalley and child.

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6 Comments to “Comicopolis and Minneapolis”

  1. Daniel J. Olson | September 5th, 2009 at 8:09 am

    Great article Sarah! It was great to see you on Thursday. Hopefully you will be able to make it to more jams/meetings! Who knows, maybe next time Neil Gaiman will show up!?

  2. Lupi | September 5th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Great article. I can barely keep up with everything that’s been going on!
    Nice meeting you Thursday!

  3. Sarah Morean | September 5th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Likewise, Lupi! See you at FallCon.

  4. Jon Sloan | September 6th, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I was nice to see you come out for the jam! Hope to run into you at FallCon next month!

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