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24-Hour Comics Day Q&A with ComicsPRO executive director Amanda Emmert

by Matthew Price Published: September 22, 2011

24-Hour Comics Day is an annual challenge for cartoonists to produce a 24-page comic book written, drawn, and completed in 24 consecutive hours. ComicsPRO, the comic book specialty retailer trade group, organizes the day.  This year’s 24 Hour Comics Day, the 8th annual, is Oct. 1, and ComicsPRO invites comic book artists, whether professional or amateur, young or old, to check out a local venue or try the challenge on their own.

Host sites should register at www.24hourcomicsday.com, and those who wish to participate can go to www.24hourcomicsday.com and look for events in nearby.

I talked to ComicsPRO’s executive director Amanda Emmert about this year’s 24-Hour Comics Day.

NERDAGE: Tell me the basics of the event.

Amanda Emmert: The 24-Hour Comics Challenge is to create a 24-page comic book, from start to finish, in 24 consecutive hours. Each year, comic book stores, schools, libraries and art galleries around the world host event locations where comic creators can take the challenge–they offer a place that’s available for the full 24 hours where anyone can create their comics.

NERDAGE: How many locations are there, and in how many different places?

Amanda Emmert: There are about 150 official 24-Hour Comics Day event locations around the world. So far this year, venues have registered from about 20 different countries.

NERDAGE: And people can participate even if there isn’t a local venue, right? How does that work?

Amanda Emmert: Yes, we encourage people to take the challenge wherever they are! If you can’t participate in at an official event location, but still want to take the challenge and be recognized for it, you can register at www.24hourcomicsday.com as an Individual Online Participant. That means that you’re agreeing to post your pages online, as you go, so that you can show you’re creating the comic in 24 hours. You can blog or tweet your experience to keep in contact with other individual participants, too.

NERDAGE: What does ComicsPRO provide for the event?

Amanda Emmert: ComicsPRO runs the basic administration for the event, so we register host venues, work with national sponsors to advertise the event, and provide materials for host locations to help them run their own events. But the local details are all up to each host–the basic requirements to run an official event are pretty minimal. Host sites can each add their own promotions and details to fit their own locations.

Host sites in the U.S. who register early also receive a physical 24HCD Host Site Kit from ComicsPRO. It includes printed materials, like the tips for promoting and running an event, flyers, a customizable press release for hosts to use as well as some goodies like variant cover comics for the hosts to use as they see fit. Registration and all of the support materials are free.

ComicsPRO promotes 24-Hour Comics Day in the media around the U.S. with press releases and event notices. Retail stores who are members of ComicsPRO already get the benefit of press release support for their events, and 24-Hour Comics Day is included in that. It means that any press release that the national organization sends to a member’s local area will include their individual event information. So along with promoting the event nationally, we help promote individual, local 24-Hour Comics Day events.

NERDAGE: Can people follow along with the event online?

Amanda Emmert: Yes, there are many ways to follow 24-Hour Comics Day online! All host venues are invited to post updates to the main 24HCD blog at http://24hcd.blogspot.com and each year they post videos, pictures, and updates during the event itself. They also post flyers for their events ahead of time and wrap-up notes afterward. Last year, some venues had live coverage of their own events to different webTV stations!

This year we’re asking people to use the #24HCD hashtag when tweeting about the event so that we can all follow along on Twitter, too. It’s great because the tweets come from around the world and are in different languages. Many other volunteers aside from ComicsPRO get involved with the event, and it’s wonderful to see what they bring to the 24-Hour Comics Day idea.

This year, a team named Blitz Comics (

a 24-Hour Comics Day boot camp to prep for the event and they are tweeting random tips for creators with #24HCD. It’s a fun project!

NERDAGE: What kinds of things can people see at the venues?

Amanda Emmert: The event are varied and depend on the hosts! Some events are hosted by schools and libraries, some by artist studios, and many events happen in comic book stores. Common sights are people of all ages surrounded by paper, art materials, snacks, and large amounts of caffeine. Some events have 3 or 4 people taking the challenge, and some have dozens. I think the largest event held in the last few years had around 80 or 90 people participating at the same time.

NERDAGE: What are the rewards of putting on an event like this, both as an organization, as ComicsPRO, or as a member store?

Amanda Emmert: This really is a fun event to be involved with. It’s an all-volunteer project, completely free, and it takes place around the world. We get to work with creators from many different countries and the main thing they have in common is a love of comics. Many hosts use this event as an opportunity to teach their communities about comics and about how anyone can make them. And making comics, or comic strips, or mini-comics, or web comics, even at an amateur level, increases your understanding and appreciation of this amazing medium.

NERDAGE: What kind of stories have you heard from participating stores?

Amanda Emmert: The people who host 24-Hour Comics Day events are just as creative as the artists who are taking the challenge! Some put a lot into the events, organizing different activities at different times of the night. It’s difficult to keep up for the full 24 hours so we hear many stories of the valiant efforts made by creators to keep going. Some hosts suggest themes for all the participants. An event host in Seattle is pairing his event with a local museum during an exhibition on horror movies, so they are asking participants to use the horror theme for their comics and plan to publish a collection afterward. I’m always impressed by the people who host events each year.

NERDAGE: What’s been most rewarding about setting up this year’s event?

Amanda Emmert: Each year, the most rewarding part of being involved in this event is getting to work with comics enthusiasts from around the world. The great thing about this year, in particular, is that we’ve been handling administration of the overall event long enough that we have an opportunity to develop friendships because of it. You get to know wonderful, creative people from Greece or Finland and around the world, or people from across the United States who you’ve never met in person, but who put on fantastic events year after year. The most rewarding part of this and of any of ComicsPRO’s other projects is getting to work with people who love comics.

- Matt Price

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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