Danno Klonowski on the Rain Taxi Book Fest

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Minneapolis is a great place for comics. Have I said that enough?

Last weekend, two of our best festivals fell on the same date.  For one day only you could attend either the Rain Taxi Book Festival or FallCon.  Pretty good for the people of Minneapolis.  Pretty tough for cartoonists wanting to exhibit at both shows.

The exodus from FallCon this year was substantial — at least ten indie cartoonists went to the Book Festival instead of FallCon.  By all accounts, this year’s FallCon was the best yet.  It’s still a great show, but decidedly more mainstream, which is why more cartoonists are spending money for space at Book Fest instead of enjoying the free tables and wonderful hospitality at FallCon.

No hard feelings, FallCon.  Sometimes a cartoonist just needs to get out and try new things.  Experiment a little.  Test a new market.  And they did.  So how was it?

Danno Klonowski, Minneapolis cartoonist and prominent International Cartoonist Conspiracy member, was kind enough to write us a little something about his experience exhibiting for the first time at the Rain Taxi Book Festival.  Full particulars after the cut.

– SM

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Return to ComicSpace.com

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Somewhere in the back of my hipster brain an alarm went off.  Seemed like ComicSpace.com (someone’s answer to MySpace.com back in its heyday) had been silent too long.  It was due for a comeback.  Or something.

Checked the site today and look what I found:

comicspace

ComicSpace.com as it appears today

What could this mean? And do you care?

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Indie Comics Costume Contest : IT’S ON!

Categories:  Contests
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I’m back from APE and have collected an impressive batch of minis for you to win!  I hope some of you have good costumes planned for this weekend, because it’s anyone’s game! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

FIVE LUCKY COSTUME CONTEST WINNERS WILL RECEIVE THE FOLLOWING:

  1. Hand-made silk-screened mini pouch
  2. L.A. Diary by Gabrielle Bell The limited edition release from Uncivilized Books featuring a rare glimpse into Bell’s own sketch book!
  3. Milky Way Shuffle by Elio One to look out for!
  4. Sour Leaves #3 by Brendan Monroe The world’s last known copies of Monroe’s beautiful 2006 mini!
  5. Covered in Confusion by Will Dinski Winner of the 2009 Isotope Award!
  6. Prologue by Kenan The book you unfold to read!
  7. One of the following:

- Sarah Morean

APE 2009

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Isotope Award 2009 from Sarah Morean on Vimeo.

I’ve often thought of independent comics as the great social equalizer. By this I mean that no indie cartoonist or fan walking alone into a room full of similar stock should be able to leave without a friend. My estimation of indie comics, it seems, was too naive. See, until last weekend, I’d never been further west than Denver. The indie shows I’d seen were packed with internet acquaintances, kind artists recalling my fan letters, and other Midwesterners. In other words, people that I already knew. I’d been biased, for sure.

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Fallcon 2009 Walkabout + Round Up

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fallcon2009postcardThe Midwest Comic Book Association throws a big event each year called Fallcon.  In most ways it’s a con like any other con.  Costumes, long boxes, xeroxed minis that don’t sell well, and a lot of dudes wearing black coats.

To me, the identity of Fallcon was apparent long ago: it’s just your average hero-worshiping local comic convention.  Make of it what you will, but in the end, creators go because their friends go and the more they go the more friends they know.  It’s fun, but even if you come out a few books light, you’re not leaving with a book deal and you’re rarely getting out with a date.

Fallcon is a hospitality show that fosters comics love in the Twin Cities.  It works that way because it’s basically the pet project of a very successful local comic book shop owner.  Comics love = comics business.  Our good fortune comes as easy as that but it’s not a formula that could work everywhere.  Luckily, this show is very good at achieving it’s mission, but it’s also been decidedly predictable.  Until this year.

I recently noted a change of tone in MCBA’s marketing strategy.  At least, it seemed new to me.  I perceived this year, for the first time, that the identity of Fallcon is slowly attempting to morph.  Into what, I don’t know.  But while Fallcon certainly appears to be just another fanboy-centric con to you — look again.  Look at that postcard!  This year the MCBA slogan for this show was realized by me for the first time.  Suddenly I couldn’t think of Fallcon as “just a con” anymore because, as the postcard notes, it is “A Comic Book Celebration.”

Wait.  “Celebration.” That’s like a party!  Huh-freaking-zah.  We’re all friends here.  It’s about time we got down.

That word “celebration” got me totally psyched to attend Fallcon this weekend, but looking back on things, I think I took it the wrong way.  All weekend long I sought evidence that Fallcon was much more than a sales floor, but was in fact one big swinging bash the likes of which Saint Paul, Minnnesota, would not see again until its next annual, epic appearance in 2010.  We were gonna tear down the rafters and spike the cola and open a kissing booth and gamble on real life Superman vs. Batman combat bouts in the adjacent conference room.

I took my camera and snapped what I could, but found none of this highly anticipated debauchery.  When I finally discovered the source of Fallcon’s celebration mojo, however, I was pleasantly surprised.  And while I’m sure that the celebration aspect of Fallcon takes on different forms for different people, to me it has become something very specific.

I’m taking you now on a photographic tour of the 2009 Fallcon.  Maybe the fruits of my walkabout will prove “celebration” enough to you, but it wasn’t until I reached the final piece of evidence that I really knew what it meant to have a comic book party.

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Guest Strip: Will Dinski, Jesse Reklaw

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SPX isn’t so far away. In fact, it’s coming up this weekend. However, it’s an out-of-the-way affair for most of its participants – so I asked the artists, “How are you getting to SPX?” You can expect to read their responses here daily on the Cross Hatch until the big day arrives.

Today’s participant: Will Dinski! Jesse Reklaw!

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20th Anniversary of FallCon

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This weekend marks the 20th Anniversary of the Twin Cities’ premiere comic book convention FallCon! What began in 1989 as a small hotel convention has fully blossomed into a stalwart chunk of the Midwest’s comic culture. I’ve known people to come in from as far as Iowa just to visit. Iowa, I say!

Featuring panels, local indie and mainstream creators, dealers and reliably the Justice League, the event has yet to outgrow its highly unique sense of hospitality. All creator tables are free, and the event is even catered. Soda, tacos, sloppy joes, chips, cake and other delicious foods are available to creators over the two-day event, plus on Saturday night a special dinner is also offered, giving guests an opportunity to unwind and meet. Do other conventions offer their guests steak dinner? I don’t think so. As volunteer Nick Post would say, “We’ll not have any starving artists on our watch!”

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Beautiful, Cool, and Irreplaceable by Will Dinski

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Beautiful, Cool, and Irreplaceable
By Will Dinski
Self-Published

Among the lessons that can still be learned from the works F. Scott Fitzgerald is the fact that melodrama and literature need not be mutually exclusive forces, a concept sometimes overlooked in this age of daytime soaps and Danielle Steel paperbacks. In the proper hands, hyperbolic characters and plot points can be an effective tools in spinning a story, without edging too far into the world of self-parody.

Will Dinski has seemingly learned a lot from his fellow Minnesotan, taking a page or two out of Fitzgerald’s character playbook in the crafting of Beautiful, Cool, and Irreplaceable’s cast. They’re rich, they’re troubled, and they possess a propensity for passionate embraces. On a surface level, the character interaction that comprises the majority of the book unfolds like standard soap opera fair. In fact, early on the book, it’s difficult to gauge just how seriously Dinski expects us to take their problems. Surely the average reader of a self-published indie comic must have some difficulty conjuring up the proper empathy for the shallow relationship problems befalling successful movie stars.

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