24 Hour Comics Day 2015

10.13.2015

24 Hour Comics Day is an international festival of comic creation. What began as a dare in 1990, when Steven Bisette challenged Scott McCloud to complete a 24-page comic in a day, has now become an international excuse to ditch sleep, in favour of creating comics. The challenge is simple: create 24 pages in 24 hours.

Students from all parts of Animation College entered the challenge: 2D and 3D students from both the 1st year and 2nd year Diplomas, and the 1st year Bachelors; 14 students in total, with one streaming live on a projector through Picarto.tv.

24 Hour Comics Day isn't just about completing 24 pages. Many of the students, and myself included here, saw it as a chance to get a draft down on paper. I had been particularly haunted by a TV show pilot I had written years ago that never became anything. I had my usual excuses: "I have to finish the character designs first, I have to do market research first, I have to finish the last script first." That sort of thinking can be paralysing. The thought of using the 24 Hour Comics Day to somehow vomit my story carefree on the page happened to break my mental shackles. I dusted the script, removed the cobwebs, and got drawing.

Meanwhile...a few industrious students crossed the finish line with a complete 24 page comic. Their comics were later viewed by comic creators from the industry and the students were deservingly awarded for their ingenuity. The prizes were comics, of course.

Teahi Maiau wins The New Warriors, Jerwin Lucinario wins Transformers Windblade, Lauren McKenna wins Zombies vs Robots).

Lauren had a vague plan on how to complete the 24 pages: caffeine and no sleep. She wanted to use the 24 hours to force herself to do a comic idea she had, and do it in a distraction free environment. She finished her comic hours ahead of schedule and she learned a valuable lesson: "if you draw for 24 hours solid, your hand cramps up."

According to Jerwin, he joined the challenge because his friends convinced him to. He blitzed through the storyboarding phase and improvised from there, powering through to finish his comic in the last hour. His undertaking wasn't without some cost to his sanity...there were some floating rumours involving tribal dancing.

Teahi was in it for the experience, "just the idea of staying at school for 24 hours which didn't happen, but that was mainly the fun of it." She says she felt lucky to finish the 24 pages since she had no strategy or any idea what to do until five minutes before it started. She was happy to learn that she could make a comic in that short a period of time, "I'm not going to have any second thoughts about what I'm going to do anymore, I'm just going to do it."

Perhaps ultimately that's what 24 Hour Comics Day is all about, putting a shining light on the shackles that creators put on themselves. Given the right circumstance and the right atmosphere, and when expectation is thrown out the window, the pure act of creation can be rewarding in surprising ways. Maybe it's best summed up by a student who sent in a letter of gratitude after the event, declaring, "the experience was prize enough."

By Thaw Naing, Vis Com Lecturer.
Specials thanks goes out to: Craig and Gene for their support, Alina for being the firestarter, and Michel from Arkham City Comics for helping me choose the prizes


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