Thursday, December 3, 2009

Comics festival coming

By Aaron Short


The first-ever Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival is coming to Williamsburg, and its founders have no idea what to expect.

“I expect it to be extremely crowded, that’s because it’s free,” said Gabriel Fowler, owner of Desert Island Comics (540 Metropolitan Ave.) and founder of the festival. “Events like this are never free. We’re trying to reach out to non comics fans. It will be crowded with good people, and that’s what matters.”

Scores of comic book artists and authors are expected to set up exhibits and tables for eight hours on Saturday, December 5, at Our Lady of Consolation Church (184 Metropolitan Ave.), where over 50 exhibitors will be featuring their work for sale and display.

Secret Project Robot (210 Kent Avenue, Williamsburg) will also host guest panels and discussions on topics including animation, live comics drawing, a conversation between Gary Panter and Peter Saul, with a special performance by Death By Audio at 49 South 2nd Street. This is in addition to guest appearances by Ben Katchor, Dash Shaw, and Charles Burns, who designed the official flyer for the festival.

“(Charles Burns) was my absolute number one dream person to do this,” said Fowler. “I’ve never even met him. I can’t believe he said yes, it was a total score. Once he did this, people lined up to participate.”

Surprises will abound throughout the day, including an appearance by TV On the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, who will not be singing but signing a new comic book he wrote and is self-publishing.

The festival has been six months in the making and represents a culmination of Fowler’s work at Desert Island Comics, a graphics oasis in the middle of Williamsburg. The store has been open for a little under two years, but Fowler believes that interest from local residents and comic fans in the art form has grown to the point that a festival has become inevitable.

“It crystallizes a movement. Being in a room with all these people activates a scene and gets people talking with each other. Hopefully every single one of these people makes a new thing,” said Fowler.

Indeed, when he put feelers out through the community, he had several times as many applicants to be exhibitors and was forced to whittle down the number to make for a stronger curated event.

“The festival could be easily three times as big, and still be rock solid in terms of quality,” said Fowler. “We could do it next year and have it be in a bigger venue.”

The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival will occur December 5 at Our Lady of Consolation Church at 184 Metropolitan Ave, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Discussions will begin at Secret Project Robot, 210 Kent Ave,, at 1 p.m. Admission is free.


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