It’s almost time for 24-Hour Comics Day.
Which is jarring, largely because I’m not really sure where all the time since April has gone. I feel like I sort of…lost summer. But, regardless, the day is nearly upon us.
If you’ve not familiar with the event, you can get the whole story (and lots of helpful tips) on the 24-Hour Comics Day website. Short version: the first Saturday in October, artists all over the world try to make a 24 page comic in 24 hours. You start with nothing but and idea and create a finished comic in a day. Which is a very hard thing to do.
I’ve only attempted it once, in 2013. Which was also the first time I made a comic at all. I decided that January that I was going teach myself to draw, and then I was participating in 24HCD. The teaching myself part fell apart pretty quickly -without structure or and end goal, I can fall into just sort of putzing about – but the plan to participate stayed. I’d tried to rope friends into joining me but I ended up by myself. Terrified. Feeling like literally everyone else there knew each other, and furtively texting people to distract myself from anxiety between pages.
Eventually I was able to calm myself. Everyone there was friendly and fun, and loopy from exhaustion will beat out deeply socially anxious basically every time. There was food and coffee – that always helps. I made it to twelve pages, I think, before slapping some nonsense on page 13 and completely crapping out a page 14. I spent the better part of Sunday nosing through everyone else’s pages. I’m not going to pretend that I made some beautifully amazing comic – what I got done was by any metric pretty rough. But I went in and I Made a Thing. And I kept making things. And I joined the Indy Webcomics Group. And made a bunch of completely amazing new friends. And…
Look, I’m veering uncomfortably close to some pretty maudlin sentimentality here, and I’m uneasy with that. The point is that I have a lot of sunshine in my heart for 24HCD and for comics because just about every cool thing that’s happened to me in the last two years can be traced back to walking into that event, and to making comics.
I sort of took the “leap off the high dive, hope you learn to swim on the way down” approach to comics when I started. I know that’s not everyone’s deal. Often, it’s not even mine. When I’m not diving into new things, I’m a gold-medal fretter. But I will say, there can be a benefit to just giving something a shot. My usual approach is to ask myself what happens if it all goes wrong. If there’s nothing to be lost by trying and failing…why not try?
So if you’re intrigued and want to participate, you can use the event locator on the 24HCD website to see if there’s one near you, or you can lone wolf it at home and participate online. I can’t promise it’ll be a major life-changing experience. I didn’t know that’s what it would be for me. I tried a lot of other random stuff that year that didn’t adjust my entire life path at all. I did a mud run and all I got out of it was the realization that I definitely don’t enjoy running, a picture of me looking like I was about to black out (…because I was), and a medal.
And the t-shirt I’m wearing while I’m writing this. That’s a weird piece of happenstance.
To anyone rocking it out 24HCD-style this weekend, good luck! Stay fed. Stay hydrated. Know I’m totally cheering for you.
Except for the chunk of time when you’re drawing and at home asleep.
Books I’m Picking Up This Week:
Jem & The Holograms Annual #1
X-Men ’92 #4