On Saturday, September 9th, acclaimed comics creator and theorist Scott McCloud arrived at Rocketship. McCloud chose the year old Brooklyn comic and cartoon art store as the site for the release party of his new book, “Making Comics,” and simultaneously as the launch of his entire family’s nationwide tour promoting the book and comics in general. Ten minutes after the party began, guests were enjoying their wine and beer while they perused the selection in the front room and enjoyed the company in the back room. Co-owners Mary Gibbons and Alex Cox showed no great concern even though the McCloud family was not yet there.
And, sure enough, the Clan McCloud piled out of their transportation and entered the shop happily. Fans and well-wishers purchased copies of the new book for signing, talked to the author (and his charming wife and kids), and interacted with each other in the now-traditional Rocketship manner: free drinks, great talent, and love of comics adding up to an evening of fun for everyone.
To some, it wasn’t just fun, it was artistic therapy. “The night itself meant talking with others who are having similar problems with the look and feel of their own work,” said Jeff Brady, one aspiring maker of comics. “There’s something…well, not ‘satisfying,’ but…comforting, I suppose, about other creative people hitting stumbling blocks.”
Mr. Brady was but one example of the theme that ran throughout the night, a theme not coincidentally taken from McCloud’s latest book. All night, people were talking about making comics. And the people talking ranged from seasoned professionals to teenagers with photocopied mini-comics. And there was a real sense of enthusiasm from all involved, helped in no small part both by the atmosphere of Rocketship and by the work of the guest of honor. “What’s inspiring is that Scott was able to take the time to figure out, and write about the problems he had, and come up with solutions for everyone to experiment with,” added Brady.
Discussion topics ranged from the technical (panel transitions, use of narration) to the serious (choice of subject matter, distancing oneself from the work) to the trivial or silly (in particular, an extended discussion on whether to make yourself look better or worse in autobiographical comics). The open theme of the night, less focused than single-creator events at Rocketship, seemed to inspire patrons and guests alike to go home and make better comics. In other words, it seems like it all worked.
For more with the McCloud family, don’t miss the McCloud Family Podcast right here on CBR.