The growth and Success of local Comic artists
Comic books have come a long way from the drug store spinner rack of the early 20th century. Having inspired so many people to enjoy literature in a different way, comics stayed around and branched into themes and animation styles that are incredibly varied. Comics and graphic novels can be found around the world today, including in New Orleans, where you can visit our comic shops and maybe pick up a comic by a local writer or artist.
Traditional comic readers can find haven in the mainstream-oriented stores. BSI Comics on Severn Avenue handles many of the big name comics as well as gaming materials like card games and more. Media Underground located on West Napoleon Avenue has a plethora of “old school” comics, as well as toys and statues. Two uptown stores cater to varied tastes. More Fun Comics on Oak Street has been providing comic relief since 1991. “Comics have always shown the writer’s view of socio-politic issues. They’re basically telling the same stories, but they’re doing it more complexly, and there’s still a reflection of the writer’s view [of the world],” explains the animated staff member D.C. Harbold (no pun intended). Crescent City Comics on Freret Street has filled their walls with a variety of comics, including a section focused on local talent. The man behind the counter is Leo McGovern, whose Katrina story is illustrated in Josh Neufeld’s graphic novel, “A.D.:
New Orleans After the Deluge.”
“For us, non-superhero stuff sells better,” says McGovern. loCal CoMiCS are Seeing huge SuCCeSS, with SerieS Being PiCKed uP By MtV and ShowtiMe.
Included in the local rack is Where Y’at’s comic guru and native Caesar Meadows who has been drawing his strips for 20 years. Caesar explains, “I edited and published (with Leo McGovern’s help) the illustration and comix anthology ‘FEAST 2010’. We should have the second issue out on the streets this July. My goal is to establish ‘FEAST’ as an annual visual showcase for local cartoonists and illustrators.”
Comic culture is quickly becoming established in the state. “Louisiana is turning into a hotspot for comic creators. It seems like a year back, everyone realized that there were several writers and artists between Lafayette and New Orleans that were talented and genuinely interested in the comics medium. I never thought that we would have a ‘comics scene’ here, but do now,” claims writer Kurt Amacker, who is influenced by his native home. “I wrote my first miniseries, ‘Dead Souls’ [about Dracula and Elizabeth Bathory hunting in New Orleans], on a legal pad when I had a busted knee in 2003. My comics are available nationwide through a distributor called Haven and online at Amazon.com.” Two comic book conventions were held this year. Wizard World Comic Con held at the convention center in late January, and returning in 2012, was packed each day with fans and collectors from all over the south. Vendors and artists displaying their works were visited between the celebrity appearances, like former Superman Adam West, and panel discussions. The locally run convention NOLA Comic Con held in May also included vendors and artists along with people showcasing various mediums of comics and other art. Brad DuPont Blanchard displayed his digital book “Monsterboy and the Boocoo Man,” and promoted his other passion. “I traditionally go to music festivals. I’m a designer and inventor of musical instruments.”
Nine comic book creators discussed their views on the comic industry today at the Louisiana writer’s panel. Like many industries, the comic book world is centered in New York and Los Angeles. But with the advent of widely available technology, artists from anywhere can be in touch with publishers, distributors, and readers. Derec Donovan, artist of “Youngblood” and more, says, “It’s become