On October 1, the Yukon Comic Culture Society will invite Yukoners of all ages and experience to leave their solitary art holes and create comics alongside one another for 12 straight hours.
If you’ve heard of the Nakai 24-Hour Playwriting Competition or the 48-Hour Film Challenge in Dawson City and Whitehorse, you’re familiar with the basic concept: participants challenge themselves to produce a finished original work, in a specified medium, within an insanely short timeframe.
What’s lesser known is that these types of pressure-cookers are actually spin-offs of an original challenge: the 24-Hour Comic. American cartoonist and comics theorist Scott McCloud invented the challenge in 1990 when he dared his friend, comic book artist Steve Bissette (DC Comics Swamp Thing) to create a complete 24-page comic in a single day. This is an endeavor that normally takes at least one month.
The phenomenon caught on, spawned similar challenges in other media, and in 2004 the first annual international 24-Hour Comics Day invited creators around the world to participate in the madcap comics dare.
The Yukon Comic Culture Society’s 12-hour challenge, produced in partnership with J. Prentice Illustration and Titan Gaming and Collectibles, brings the spirit of the 24-Hour Comics Day to Whitehorse as part of the Culture Days/Doors Open weekend.
Those taking the full challenge will stake out a spot at Titan from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, while younger participants can try a short version of the event from noon to 4 p.m.
Door prizes have been donated for the event by Klondike Cakes, Arts Underground’s Supply Cupboard, the Yukon Comic Culture Society, and Titan.
For the Yukon Comic Culture Society, the event is one way of reaching out to a community it first tapped with YukomiCon, the Yukon’s own comic convention. After successful cons in 2014 and 2015, the non-profit society is focusing on smaller, year-round events in 2016 to continue to foster geek culture in the North while they work on fundraising for future YukomiCon years.
And, the comic challenge will be the first of more small events, according to society president Paul Scholz. “The board is excited to bring this event to town,” he says.
Shawn Underhill, owner of Titan Gaming and Collectibles, looks forward to bringing together “the comic-loving community of Whitehorse,” and would like to see the 12-Hour Comic Book Challenge become a yearly event.
He’s moving Titan to a new location on Third Avenue beside the Java Connection in November, so it’s also an opportunity for one final, marathon hangout in Whitehorse’s “nerd hub” at its current spot.
As of Sept. 15, the 12-Hour Comic Book Challenge already had about a dozen creators signed up, ranging from 10-year-old artists eager to do the four hour version, to veteran professionals such as Yukon artist Chris Caldwell, who will step beyond her established oeuvre of fine art adventure paintings and pet portraits to work on original cartoons “without a Yukon theme or ‘G’ rating requirements,” she says.
Caldwell says she hopes to connect with other Yukon cartoonists while she works on a story for release at the next YukomiCon.
For more information go to the Yukon Comic Culture Society’s Facebook page, or e-mail 12hComicsWhitehorse@gmail.com to receive a prep package in advance. With enough interest, a full 24-Hour Comics Day event might be in store next year!