Lunch Break :: March 9, 2011

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2009-07-15_SelfPortrait

Jamie Schumacher is the founder of Altered Esthetics Gallery in Northeast Minneapolis. She works for Bicycle Theory as their Internet/Nonprofit Strategist and is the Executive Director of the Northeast CDC. She was on the planning committee of the Lutefisk Sushi C and D collaborations, helped produce Big Funny, and is now working on the Just Add Ink project for August. She’s super excited to be the Deputy Director for the MPLS Indie Xpo this year, and she also likes alpacas.

Would you like to guest edit Lunch Break? Send a short bio, a self portrait (drawing or photograph) plus five links to your favorite webcomics to Sarah Morean at smorean@gmail.com.

Lunch Break is a short round-up of favorite webcomics appearing here each weekday at noon. Here’s something for you to enjoy over your lunch break or whenever. The premise is simple: it’s another day on the internet. Here’s a new or forgotten comic that seems interesting. Have something to recommend? Email us: crosshatchdispatch@gmail.com.

  1. Cat Proximity from “xkcd” by Randall Munroe // date unknown
  2. Average Time Spent Composing One E-Mail from “PHD Comics” by Jorge Cham // July 25, 2008
  3. Jesus and Mo by anonymous // January 13, 2011
  4. Alberto Montt En Dosis Diarias by Alberto Montt // June 30, 2010*
  5. Make Something from “Introspective Comics” by Ryan Dow // March 6, 2011

*I’m a broccoli and I look like a tree! I am a nut and I look like a brain! I am a mushroom and I hate this game.

Sarah Morean

Comics: Read Them Out Loud

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readaloud

Jon Thompson tells the crowd about his favorite myths.

Some of the best mini-comics I own came from a friend of mine who no longer makes them.  It’s a sad truth for comics that when you’re good at art and good at writing and good at storytelling, you’re often good at many other things.  Anders Carlson was just a guy who moved on.

Still, before he exited the comics scene (that never even looked to recognize him — which is why you’ve never heard of him), he let me in on a little secret. “Read your comics aloud,” he said.  “Read them to your friends, like a bedtime story.  Then take their advice.”

It’s a program that really worked for him.  Somehow, it shaped his cartoonist’s voice in such a way that his comics always sounded smart and whole. The pacing perfectly broken up with expressive pencil-drawn imagery that told really excellent, interesting stories.

He was also the first person to tell me it was worth the extra money to get the edges of your books trimmed, so the pages don’t stick out beneath the cover.  More good advice.

At the 2009 Zinefest (I swear this will be the last time I bring it up), authors and artists were encouraged to get up in front of a crowd and read their books to each other.  It’s not quite like what Carlson imagined – there was no critical feedback – but it’ll do. And if you’re ever in the habit of writing comics, I recommend you do the same.

Below the cut, some examples of comics read – live! – without the use of imagery.

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Tricks and Swag: A MicoCon Round-Up

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skills4bills

Here’s the equation: Guy walks into a comic book convention. He pays $7 at the door and spends 6 hours at the event, stopping to talk with each dealer and exhibitor along the way. At the event, there are 80 exhibitors and 40 dealers. Assuming this man has no refined taste and will read any comic whatsoever, how many gimmicks does a cartoonist need to part him from his money?

It goes without saying that there are financial risks and rewards to exhibiting at any convention — even at St Paul’s one-day-wonder MicroCon, which charges creators absolutely nothing for their tables and even feeds them lunch. I benefit tremendously from the generous Midwest Comic Book Association and their two annual cons MicroCon and FallCon, particularly since last weekend I sold books for a mere 25 cents each and spent most of my time walking around to interview people. Even on a bad day at MicroCon, Sarah Morean still leaves with a profit. This would not happen at any other show. I know this, and I understand that until I really sell myself, I’m never going to make enough money from my books to cover the after-con meal and beers I both seek and require.

I’m fine with the struggle, it keeps me motivated, but maybe you’re different. Maybe you want repeat customers and money to burn. A harem of colorists offering shoulder rubs between sketches. Notoriety confirmed at bigger shows like APE and Wizard World, where fans will navigate a treasure map full of artists just to see in-person what you’re working on next. Sounds lofty, but it can happen to you!  And I’m learning that it’s more likely to happen if you spread (and spend) a little blam and glam to make your table memorable, if not recognizable, for con-goers.

I talked with some indie creators last weekend who splurged on big billboards and gimmicks to achieve their big dreams, and asked what works and what doesn’t when it comes to dealing like a pro at conventions.

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