Thursday, May 30, 2013

Recap: National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards Weekend 2013

This past weekend I attended my first National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards Weekend, held in Pittsburgh, PA at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Since February I've been co-chair of the Washington, DC chapter of NCS and I've been a member for over a year. Going in I knew this event as "The Oscars of Cartooning" and it certainly lived up to the hype.

Arriving mid-day Friday, the first stop I made was to Pierogies Plus in McKees Rocks, PA (as it is my mission to visit as many pierogie places as possible). I ordered a kielbasa sandwich, breakfast pierogies, and haluski (noodles and cabbage). After eating, I drove to the hotel and got situated with my wonderful roommate and chair of the DC chapter, Teresa Roberts Logan. There were panels to attend and lots of new people to meet. That evening the Toonseum hosted us to view the gallery opening featuring every Reuben Award winner for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year! In addition, the mayor of Pittsburgh declared that day "Cartoonist Day."

There was a reception across the street at the August Wilson Center and then karaoke afterwards and a nearby club. The reception had pierogies and amazing table centerpieces with newspaper comics folded into flowers. It was really well-done. We did not stay into the night for the karaoke and went back in the hotel to hang out in the Speakeasy, a chill lounge tucked beneath the hotel lobby. I admired the wallpaper for the velvet texture. 

One of the reasons I enjoyed attending the event was that cartooning is a very solitary profession and it was excellent to hang out with people who understand the life of creating and are super talented. Also a large majority of the people in NCS have been working for decades. They have seen the industry change several times with the rise of TV and now, the internet.

Saturday was the big day of the Reuben Awards, but before that we all attended panels and got to know each other more. There were also inspiring presentations by Mo Willems, Drew Friedman, and Brad Anderson.

Finally the moment arrived to get ready for the awards show (above is a photo of Amy Lago, Barbara Dale, myself, and Teresa). At first I didn't want to put too much emphasis on fashion, but a few days before I caved in and purchased a dress. Take my word for it, it was an affordable gold A-line style dress with mint accents. I also had a left-over can of spray glitter and Teresa was a good sport about trying some too. It came out pretty well as a nice shimmer. The evening was magical and fancy. We got to witness the second tie for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year - both Brian Crane and Rick Kirkman won. Congrats to all the winners and nominees! 

Sunday was the first Pittsburgh Comic Arts Festival and I signed in the morning. A lot of local comics enthusiasts arrived excited for the event. I did free sketches and the Toonseum supplied a donation jar, which many people contributed to for their fund for at-risk youth. I enjoyed meeting all the people there (above is a photo of Bill Janocha and I).

I also ran into Marcel Lamont Walker on the street at the festival. We had met before at Pittsburgh comics conventions we both exhibited at.

A highlight of the weekend was attending the women panel featuring Cathy Guisewite, Lynn Johnston, Terri Libenson, Hilary Price, and Jen Sorensen. What an amazing group of women with great stories to tell. I also liked the format in which Hilary Price moderated the panel because during the introduction of each panelist, they steped up to a projector and did live drawing. As an audience member it was special to see that - the pen strokes and decisions they made on the spot really helped literally paint a picture of their creations. 

Afterwards a group of us had a late lunch at Primanti Brothers, the sandwich place that is known for putting fries in the sandwich. I had the closest thing to a Reuben, which was their Pastrami and Cheese.

The weekend concluded with a Roaring 20's farewell party. Excellent food was served and a live band played the hits. I left as the sun began to set and took the 4-hour drive home. It was a great weekend and everyone was friendly and supportive. I thank the NCS for allowing me to be a part of their cartooning family. I also wish to thank all the people who helped plan the event and the time and energy Tom and Anna Richmond devote to NCS. Also thank you to Chris Sparks who continues to push Team Cul de Sac to greater levels.

Many more photos are up on the Curls Studio Facebook page. Check them out here and give us a "Like."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pittsburgh Comic Arts Festival 2013

I will be in Pittsburgh this weekend and participating in the Pittsburgh Comic Arts Festival from 11AM to Noon at August Wilson Center on Sunday, May 26, 2013. Hundreds of cartoonists will be in town for the National Cartoonists Society Reuben Awards. Below is a taste of what to expect. Hope to meet you there!

The First Annual Pittsburgh Comic Arts Festival
Sunday, May 26, 2013
10:00 AM-5:00 PM (street festival begins at Noon) 
Liberty Avenue between 9th & 10th

The ToonSeum will host the first ever exhibition of Reuben Award winners featuring a who’s who of comics and cartooning spanning over 60 years and rarely seen original art.

At the August Wilson Center there will be original art from the classic animated series Fat Albert on display in their gallery.

Admission to the street festival is free. $5 admission gets access to exhibitions at the ToonSeum and artists signing booths.

10:00 AM-11:00 AM at ToonSeum
Jan Eliot - Stone Soup
Patrick McDonnell - Mutts
Brian Walker - Hi & Lois

11:00 AM- Noon at August Wilson Center (980 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA)
Brian Crane - Pickles
Greg Evans - Luann
Rob Rogers - Pittsburgh Post Gazette
John Rose - Barney Google and Snuffy Smith 
John Stevens - Caricatoonist
Carolyn Belefski - Curls

Noon-1:00 PM at August Wilson Center
Paul Fell - Paul Fell Cartoons
Jeff Keane - Family Circus
Bunny Hoest - The Lockhorns, Laugh Parade, Howard Huge
Bill Morrison - Simpsons Comics
Laurie Triefeldt - World of Wonder
Sandra Bell-Lundy - Between Friends

1:00 PM-2:00 PM at August Wilson Center
Mark Tatulli - Lio 
Jerry Van Amerongen - Ballad Street
Greg Walker - Beetle Bailey
Tom Richmond - Mad Magazine

1:15 PM-2:15 PM at Bricolage 
Women in Cartooning Panel
Cathy Guisewite - Cathy 
Lynn Johnston - For Better or Worse
Terri Libenson - The Pajama Diaries
Hilary Price - Rhymes with Orange
Jen Sorensen - Slowpoke

2:00 PM-3:00 PM at August Wilson Center 
Jason Chatfield - Ginger Meggs
Barbara Dale - Dale Cards
Jeff Knurek - Jumble "That Scrambled Word Game"
Mo Willems - Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus 

3:00 PM-4:00 PM at August Wilson Center
Daryll Collins - Scholastic, Highlights and Boys Life
Paul Combs - Drawn by Fire
John Hambrock - The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee- King Features
Bill Holbrook - On the Fast Track 
Jim Horwitz - Watson
Rick Kirkman - Baby Blues

3:15 PM-4:15 PM at Bricolage
Dan Piraro - Bizarro Quick-Draw Jam Session! 

5:00 PM-6:00 PM at August Wilson Center 
Andrew Farago - Curator, Cartoon Art Museum
Michael Jantze - The Norm
Mahendra Shah - "I Said it Too"
Rick Stromoski - Soup to Nutz

Friday, May 17, 2013

Recap: ANS Sci-Fi & Comic Con 2013

Last Saturday, May 11 was Curls Studio's first appearance at ANS Sci-Fi & Comic Con, now in its second year. We were stationed next to Frank Cho, which was an honor because we enjoy his Liberty Meadows work very much. 

The best thing about this convention was meeting new people and other creators. Joe and I took part in a "Making Comics" panel with Liz & Jimmy Reed, Leanne & Rod Hannah, Sarah Hoppes, and Chris Rizzo. The location was a classroom setting, but the conversation quickly because informal.

After the convention we got to spend some quality time with our pal, Adam. We also loved the fact that Frank Cho was the guest of honor at a Catholic school.

Thanks to Tom for organizing the show and supporting Magic Bullet by placing an ad in Magic Bullet #6.

More photos can be found on the Curls Studio Facebook page here:

Monday, May 13, 2013

Recap: Free Comic Book Day 2013

Joe Carabeo 
This year's 10th anniversary of Free Comic Book Day was pretty exceptional for me. One, because every year since it's inception I've always wanted to take part in the celebration of Free Comic Book Day. And two, because Free Comic Book Day was the day that I found out about a book that would became super influential to me as a storyteller, that being the David Lapham self-published book, Stray Bullets. So for me this year to finally take part as a Free Comic Book Day guest at Laughing Ogre Comics in Fairfax, VA, and have my own stories for people discover was pretty amazing. I loved being able to tell casual people who would never go into a comic book store about our books, Black Magic Tales, Kid Roxy, and The Legettes. Some never even knew making your own books was even possible -- and now they know. The turn out was smashing, very few moments of down time and the layout that Laughing Ogre Comics had for their free books and us was perfect for our exposure, they did a great job and would love to continue to cross promote with them. A huge surprise to me was we even sold a whole bunch of books, and Magic Bullet #6 was flying into new hands. So, overall, I'd say it was a great day.

Carolyn Belefski
Free Comic Book Day is great because it marks the start of a warmer season. There's usually a comic book movie premiere that weekend (this year was Iron Man 3) and it's Kentucky Derby Day. This year was the first year I've made a FCBD appearance, but I have attended practically every year. Joe Carabeo and I were at Laughing Ogre Comics in Fairfax, VA to distribute Magic Bullet #6 for free and we also set up a table to sell our own comics. Laughing Ogre did a good job with the new layout of the free table and handling the crowds. There were a lot of cosplayers - kids and adults alike all enjoyed taking photos with the characters.We met a ton of people and stayed for 6 hours. I'll always have the memory of this girl who got very excited about my comic strip, Curls. She had the biggest smile on her face and was in a trance watching me sketch.

You can read about our fellow Magic Bullet #6 contributors and their FCBD experiences here:

Check out more of our photos from FCBD on the Curls Studio Facebook page:

Thanks to Laughing Ogre Comics for allowing us to have a table at their FCBD festivities.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

ANS Sci-Fi & Comic Con is May 11

Curls Studio will be exhibiting at ANS Sci-Fi & Comic Con this Saturday, May 11 from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Admission is $5 per person (go to their website for $1 off coupon), children under 10 are FREE. Joe and I will be taking part in the "How to Make Your Own Comic" at 12:15 PM.

There will be some familiar faces there including: Frank Cho, Laura Inglis, Cuddles and Rage, Dan Nokes, and more. Hope to see you there!

11:00 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer (unreleased pilot episode)
11:30 - Star Wars: The Magic of Myth (unreleased documentary)
12:15 - Short Films from the DAVE School
1:00 - Sneak Preview Footage from PLASTIC GALAXY, with director Brian Stillman
2:00 - Tales from the Crypt - From Comics to Television

Panels & Presentations: 
10:45 - Jay Shepard of the DCSWCC & - Collecting SW Comics 101 
11:30 - Conquest Tactics Game Demos 
12:15 - How to Make Your Own Comic - Moderated by Dark Ink Pictures' Chris Rizzo 
1:15 - Art Ways Alliance - How to Draw Comics 
2:00 - Conquest Tactics Game Demos

Archbishop Neale School is located near the intersection of Route 301 (Crain Highway) and Route 6 (Port Tobacco Road), just past the La Plata Shopping Center.

104 Port Tobacco Road
La Plata, Maryland 20646