Double vision: Local artists have 24 hours to draw 24-page comics

Galen Lott/Sun Star Reporter
Oct. 4, 2011

Anon works diligently on a full-page frame at The 24-Hour Comics Day at the Comic Shop on Oct. 1, 2011. Galen Lott/Sun Star

Brianna Reagan works diligently on a full-page comic at The 24-Hour Comics Day at the Comic Shop on Oct. 1, 2011. Galen Lott/Sun Star

Artists, illustrators and comic enthusiasts gathered at the Comic Shop at noon on Saturday, Oct. 1 to begin 24 Hour Comics Day. It’s a challenge started by comic book author Scott McCloud in 1990 when he proved that it is possible to create a 24-page comic in 24 hours.

“Since then, the event has slowly caught on to where it is recreated by anyone crazy enough to attempt it. It has grown exponentially over the years; all across America and including I believe at least 16 other countries,” illustrator and graduate Lucas Elliot explained. This was the fifth year the event was held in Fairbanks. Local artist and UAF graduate Jamie Smith organized the first four comic days. This year was Elliot’s first time putting it together.

The rules of the challenge are simple: participants come unprepared and finish a 24-page comic with a complete storyline in 24 hours or less.

“You’re supposed to come with no script — no nothing. You have to just come with blank pages and your brain. That’s the true spirit of it,” Heidi Atkinson said. Atkinson, a Fairbanks North Star Borough School District art teacher, participated in four of the five 24-Hour Comic Days in Fairbanks and succeeded every time.

The time frame proves to be one of the most difficult aspects of the challenge, whether it’s too long or too short. Twelve to 15 participants usually show up, Elliot said. Although six participants showed up this year, only three were able to make it to the end. “Not last year, but the year before, I took a four-hour nap. I had to.” Atkinson said.

Most years it’s just the opposite and they end up running out of time, either not completing the 24-page comic or scrambling in the last few hours to complete it by any means necessary. This year, the final three participants ended up completing their comics early. The participants finished at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2, instead of the expected 12:00 p.m.

Elliot, Atkinson and Amy Hickman were the three finalists this year — all return competitors. Their completed comics will be on display downstairs in the UAF Wood Center from Oct. 3 to Oct. 17 to give people a chance to see their work.

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