24 Hour write-up in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette!


Mirrored from Phinmagic.com.

From left to right, Loran Skinkis, 38, of White­hall, Nate McDo­nough, 21, of Mount Wash­ing­ton, and John Tow­ers, 35, of Belle­vue, begin the chal­lenge of com­plet­ing a 24-page comic in 24 hours at the Pitts­burgh 24-Hour Comics event Sat­ur­day at Time Tun­nel Comics and Col­lectibles in Cas­tle Shannon.

It was all fun and games until weari­ness set in. Then, despite the heroic strug­gles of a plucky band of comic book artists, every­one just threw in their ink-stained tow­els and went home.

In truth, the story line was this: seven self-published and/or ama­teur artists sat down around 3 Sat­ur­day after­noon to cre­ate their own graphic nov­els as part of an inter­na­tional “24-Hour Comics” day.

Patrick Don­ley, owner of Time Tun­nel Comics in Cas­tle Shan­non, orga­nized the event in the hope that shared inspi­ra­tion — not to men­tion pizza, beer and soda — would spark a kind of “Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” enthu­si­asm among local cre­ative types.

I’m hop­ing to take pic­tures and put them up every hour on my Face­book page,” Mr. Don­ley said. “Pic­tures of our grad­ual decline.”

The store owner would end up nap­ping on the couch, but for the most part, the artists kept going with the dogged reserve of Lois Lane in pur­suit of a story.

Artists through­out the world — and for some rea­son, a large num­ber in Fin­land — took up the chal­lenge. A stan­dard 24-page comic book might nor­mally take weeks or months to complete.

Accord­ing to Scott Hed­lund, a Belle­vue artist whose project con­sisted of cre­at­ing pan­els to doc­u­ment the Time Tun­nel event every 10 min­utes, most of his col­leagues left between 4:40 a.m. and 9 a.m. with almost all pages drawn but not inked.

A cou­ple — Dave Hobbs of Dor­mont and Nate McDo­nough, a recent Art Insti­tute of Pitts­burgh grad from Colum­bus, Ohio — fin­ished their projects.

I’m hav­ing fun,” Mr. Hobbs said around 11 p.m. Sat­ur­day, “although I haven’t actu­ally sat down to draw for more than an hour straight in years … my hand is killing me.”

His comic was a bizarre mix of “Mr. Men” char­ac­ters act­ing out the plot of the Bruce Willis thriller “Die Hard.”

Alan Rick­man was played by “Mr. Rude,” with “Lit­tle Miss Scary” as his hench­man, Karl. This is one comic that won’t be posted or pub­lished, alas, because the licenses belong to others.

I just wanted to do this for myself,” said Mr. Hobbs, who was treat­ing the event “as a min­i­mal­ist episode.”

Many of the artists have worked on the clas­sic super­hero graphic novel, but there was more of a sense of fun in these projects.

Barry Linck was a stu­dent at West Allegheny High School when he cre­ated “Phineus, Magi­cian for Hire.” Twenty-two years later, he has cre­ated 27 issues around the adven­tures of his para­nor­mal inves­ti­ga­tor, his wife and assorted mon­sters and vam­pires plagu­ing con­tem­po­rary Pittsburgh.

The print books are avail­able through his Web site (www.phinmagic.com), where online episodes are updated at least three times a week.

The youngest artist tak­ing the 24-hour chal­lenge was Mr. McDo­nough, 21, who pro­duced a black-and-white sec­ond issue of a self-published comic about a char­ac­ter named “Grixly.” Issue No. 1, which he had on hand, cost 99 cents and was labeled “Sug­gested for mature readers.”

That cover [mes­sage] has noth­ing to do with what’s inside of it, it’s only because there are imma­ture things con­tained within that I have to have a dis­claimer,” he said.

Work­ing in his stock­ing feet, he said, “I’m doing my best to make myself at home here.”

Casual was cer­tainly the mood, with mp3 play­ers knock­ing out tunes through portable speak­ers around the six tables set up in the back of the Time Tun­nel store. Scat­tered around the tables were 2-liter bot­tles of soda, numer­ous opened bags of chips and other snacks, cook­ies, left­over pizza and, near­ing the end of the day, three large stain­less steel urns of cof­fee were brought in from a shop in Mt. Lebanon.

There had been stag­ings of the 24-hour chal­lenge around Pitts­burgh before but this was a first for Mr. Don­ley, who said he was hope­ful of try­ing it again next year.

Besides bring­ing in food, drink and Sharpies, Mr. Don­ley had arranged some­thing even more valu­able. Larry Young, a San Francisco-based pub­lisher and a long­time friend, flew in to chat up the artists and cus­tomers, and was will­ing to take a look at portfolios.

You’re like the Lando Cal­riss­ian of this place; you’re the admin­is­tra­tor of this facil­ity,” Mr. Young said to the owner.

Mr. Young’s com­pany, AiT/Planet Lar, car­ries a lot of weight in the inde­pen­dent pub­lish­ing indus­try. He said a few artists brought their work into Time Tun­nel for a look-see, most notably one guy who had “maybe 80″ pages of a graphic novel retelling of Shakespeare’s “Mac­Beth” … done in pointillism.

This thing was com­pletely unabridged, and he decided at one point there had to be a bet­ter tran­si­tion between scenes, so he wrote one in.”

One of the 24-hour par­tic­i­pants had a more mod­ern take in cre­at­ing his comic. Dan Green­wald of Shaler works by day as an admin­is­tra­tor for Carnegie Mel­lon Uni­ver­sity. Three times a week, he works on his online vig­i­lante comic, “The Blue Wraith.” (www.bluewraith.com). For this event, how­ever, he was doing a very unheroic take on a slice-of-life story set in an office — “Just for some­thing dif­fer­ent, just to stretch myself,” said Mr. Greenwald.

His work was not done in pen and ink, but entirely on a lap­top com­puter. After scan­ning stan­dard comic-book frames squares into an Adobe Pho­to­shop pro­gram, he was draw­ing with a WACOM inter­ac­tive stylus.

It’s kind of a hybrid,” he said.

Some of the oth­ers, like Mr. Green­wald, had met dur­ing 2006 and 2007 24-hour chal­lenges. Although he was enjoy­ing the exer­cise, he said, “I’m at the hob­by­ist level with aspi­ra­tions to go fur­ther but have no real delu­sions that this will afford me a liv­ing at this point.”

Maria Sci­ullo can be reached at msciullo@post-gazette.com or 412–263-1478.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09278/1003079–44.stm#ixzz0T3zHdFGd

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