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24 Hour Comics Day

Comic fans, start your engines

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Ready, set, draw!

If you're a comic fan who's always wanted to get on the other side of the funny pages, or if you're an artist or writer maybe looking to give graphic storytelling a try, get ready for 24 Hour Comics Day. The event comes to Rochester Saturday, October 7, at RIT's Wallace Library.

Comic artist/theorist Scott McCloud --- who recently spoke at RIT on his ideas for revitalizing comics --- came up with the idea for the event a few years ago. In an attempt to loosen up the creative process and see what storytellers can really do, McCloud challenged some of his indie comic friends to produce an entire comic book, from story to completed art and lettering, in a mere 24 continuous hours. Given that some pro comic artists today can barely churn out 22 pages in three months (*cough* Bryan Hitch *cough*) it seems almost impossible. But over the past three years more than 1,000 aspiring artists have done just that. Among the big names who have tried their hands at the quick draw (and write) are Neil Gaiman (Sandman, American Gods) and Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon).

Matt Bernius is one of the organizers for the local 24 Hour Comics Day event. The visiting professor at RIT'sSchool of Print Media says that he advocated for the project because "it's a really interesting project, and an event that could pull together and draw from the talents of the students, faculty, and community."

That's right --- you needn't be an RIT student to participate. The event is free and open to "anyone who's up for the challenge," Bernius says. RIT provides a quiet space to work (the Idea Factory in Wallace Library), basic supplies like pencils, paper, and pens, and, of course, caffeine. You bring any specialized media you want to work with (computers, professional-grade boards) and your creativity. People looking to collaborate on a project should set up the team before hand, but note: it's against 24 Hour Comics Day rules to do any work whatsoever on the project before the clock starts. No sketches, no plot summaries, nothing.

Best of all, participants can get their worked published thanks to a deal the RIT Open Book Project has worked out with online publishing company Lulu.com. Folks who elect to this part of the project will receive a free copy of the book collecting all the Rochester-area 24 Hour Comics Day contributors' works.

24 Hour Comics Day officially starts Saturday, October 7, at 11 a.m.; however, registration for the overnight will continue at Wallace until 9 p.m. Participants can leave Wallace and work in private spaces but must return with their completed project by 11 a.m. the following day. For more information check out http://library.rit.edu/events/special/ or http://www.24hourcomics.com.

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