double release party
Could indie comics be Austin's next burgeoning "it" scene?
Okay, I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that future chroniclers of Austin’s incipient (we hope!) indie comics boom will look back at the Double-Comic Release Party by William Cardini and Melinda Tracy Boyce Wednesday night at Domy Books as one of the events that got the ball rolling.
Austin’s always had a number of cartoonists toiling away, but until recently, there hasn’t been the feeling of a burgeoning scene around them in the same way, say, the local art, food and comedy scenes have exploded.
And by scene, I mean not just a number of individual practitioners, but a sense that even the most disparate voices are contributing to some cultural force larger than any one person of which even the most inattentive citizen has at least some inkling.
Domy’s event has all the hallmarks of something big bubbling just out of sight. We’d be hard pressed to find to more dissimilar cartoonists than Boyce and Cardnini.
Boyce, a fairly recent transplant from Portland (where the local comics community is a lot more, well, scene-y) makes hand-painted autobiographical comics. For those familiar with the work of Vanessa Davis, Boyce’s comics are in the same ballpark.
Long-time Austin presence William Cardini draws psychedelic sci-fi comics peopled with a recurring cast of wizards and lumpen aliens — think the black and white work of Fort Thunder’s Mat Brinkman squashed by MS Paint (I mean that in the best way!). That these two have joined forces for a book release bodes well for the community-mindedness of Austin’s comic purveyors.
Boyce and Cardini have also done well recently in attracting attention from outside of Austin. Boyce will be releasing the first issue of her quarterly publication, The Melindery, funded through a successful campaign on Kickstarter.
Cardini’s work has cropped up with increasing frequency in prominent, nationally distributed indie comics anthologies like Smoke Signal, Secret Prison, and the spoof on/homage to 90s-era comics stalwart Rob Liefield, RUB THE BLOOD. His mini-comic, Vortex 2, is the second installment of self-published segments from his graphic novel in progress.
So, will Wednesday's event be the inauguration of something big or just a fun event where you can grab some beers and watch a couple of local cartoonists read from their work? Only the future will tell, but I suspect with Domy Books serving as an anchor for local creators, and comics festival STAPLE! growing each year, I’d wager on the former.
Why not come out and tell your kids you were there before Austin became Comics City?