Casablanca Comics hosts visiting artists

Posted on October 22, 2012 in Arts & Culture, Features
By Sam Hill

Casablanca Comics in Portland will host a collection of nationally renowned comic creators and artists over the next few weeks. These events will give fans of the genre a chance to meet with active artists in the field, getting an inside view of the business and a chance to chat with the creators of some of their favorite works.

“It’s important to create this connection between fans and artists,” said Rick Lowell owner of Casablanca Comics. “Some fans don’t realize that there are people behind these books and comics. They don’t just appear out of thin air. There are people working hard behind every piece.”

The series kicked off on Saturday, Oct. 20, when  emerging comic artists Ben Hatke and Zack Giallango came to town and dropped in to talk about their work and sign a few autographs. Hartke is the creator of the adventurous sci-fi graphic novel, Zita the Spacegirl and Giallango is the creator of the wildly entertaining fantasy graphic novel, Broxo. Both have been published by First Second Publishing within the past year.

“It’s great to get a chance to talk to people who are excited about the work,” said Giallango.

Throughout the day they were able to talk with fans not only about their specific works, but the art of creating graphic novels in general.
“We all draw. All of us as kids. We’re just the ones that didn’t quit,” said Giallango.

“Being a comics artist can be a lonely pursuit. We make these stories, put them on little rafts and send them out, hoping someone somewhere will care for them,” said Hatke. “It’s awesome to be able to get out here and talk one-on-one with the fans and let them know all that went into the novel.”

On Saturday, Oct. 27, #1 New York Times bestselling author and cartoonist Raina Telgemeier will be discussing comics and her newest book Drama, published by Graphix. Her critically acclaimed graphic novel and memoir, Smile, was last year’s winner of the Maine Student Book Award.  Her talk will include discussing the inspirations of her work and the process involved in creating comics. Her appearance at Casablanca Comics is part of her nationwide book tour.

The third event, taking place on Saturday, Nov. 3, features national cartoonist Lincoln Peirce, a New York Times bestselling author, cartoonist and writer living in Portland. Peirce is the creator of the popular comic and books series Big Nate.
“Not everyone has the money or time to go to a convention. This a great opportunity for fans to get to know some of the authors in the business and have some quality one-on-one time with these artists,” said Lowell.