24 Hour Comics Day gets its own Anthology

Official Press Release

On April 24th, hundreds of cartoonists will be celebrating 24 Hour Comics Day, as each of them try to write and draw a complete 24 page comic book in just 24 hours. And the folks at About Comics are going to take advantage of all those thousands of pages of fresh comics to create a thick, thrilling anthology.

24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2004 will contain 20 stories selected from the results of this big comics holiday. "One of the rules for making 24 hour comics has always been than you have to send inventor Scott McCloud a copy of the comic you draw," explains Nat Gertler, publisher of About Comics and founder of 24 Hour Comics Day. "Since we're collecting the comics on his behalf, we'll also have a chance to read them all and find the most interesting ones."

Forty-five stores across the U.S. and Canada have already signed up to host 24 Hour Comics Day events, bringing local pro and amateur cartoonists to work side by side in camaraderie. Each of the participating cartoonists will fill out a short form to use as a cover sheet when the comic is sent in, and on that form will be a place to sign to have the comic considered for inclusion in the book. Folks creating their comic away from one of the events can download a similar form from the 24HourComics.com website. "There are three things that I want to make clear," says Gertler, "and the first is that no one has to sign the form in order to participate in a 24 Hour Comics event. If people don't want their comic included in the book, that is absolutely their right.

"The second thing is that we're not ripping anyone off. Everyone whose story is included in 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2004 will get a royalty payment for every copy sold. In fact, they get the exact same royalty deal that folks like Neil Gaiman and Steve Bissette are getting for their stories in 24 Hour Comics, an anthology of earlier 24 hour comics that hits stores shortly before 24 Hour Comics Day.

"But the third thing is probably the most important, and that's that cartoonists should not view this as a contest. If you create your comic with inclusion in the book as a goal, you'll almost certainly fail. There will be hundreds of cartoonists working on this, and only room for about 20 comics in the book, picked through our own very subjective sense of what is 'interesting.' But if you go in trying to have a great creative experience, to learn what you're capable of, and to possibly end up with a new 24 page comic, then your odds of success are very good indeed."

The book is solicited in the May issue of Previews, and will also be available through FM International and Cold Cut Distribution. "We wanted to offer this book as soon after the event as possible. The problem is that we can't actually tell people at solicitation what creators are in the book, because the distributors' catalogs will be printed before 24 Hour Comics Day. Will the book have work by some well-known professional cartoonists? Probably. Will it have work by future comics superstars? Quite possibly. Will it be an interesting collection of energetic material? Absolutely!"

The names of the selected cartoonists will be announced during May, and the book will ship in July. "Just think of it ­ here's a book with nearly 500 pages of comics, none of were even begun on April 23rd, and all of which were finished by April 25th. A very, very thick book of comics going from non-existent to published in under three months," says Gertler with a mix of pride and fear in his eyes.

24 Hour Comics Day Highlights is a 496 page black-and-white paperback. 5.5" x 7.75". Published by About Comics at a price of $24.95 US, the book may (or may not) include harsh themes, explicit language, and artistic nudity, and is not recommended for those whom that would offend. The book will be released in July to the comic book specialty market through Diamond Comics Distributors, FM International, and Cold Cut Comics Distribution, and to the bookstore market at a yet-to-be-determined date through Diamond Book Distributors.

24 Hour Comics Day is an international celebration of comics creation. Comics fans are encouraged to participate either by creating a 24 hour comic on that day, or by visiting one of the many event sites that are open to the public to cheer on those working on comics. A growing list of event sites is at 24HourComics.com. Cartoonists interested in participating are urged to contact their local event host.now, as space at each site is limited and quickly filling up.

Found in 1997, About Comics is a small publisher whose select list of titles are not limited by the usual categorization of the comics field. Working with some of the most respected names in comics, About Comics publishes titles ranging from traditional superhero material to all-ages humorous graphic novels to sophisticated prose material aimed at comics fans. For more information, go to www.AboutComics.com

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