With Open Book Comics Fest winding down, and our major part in it over, we feel the need to gush a bit about how awesome it was.
The venue this year was the District 6 Homecoming Centre, a lovely space connected to the popular Fugard Theatre in Cape Town. This was already a vast improvement from last year, where the venue was small and quite hidden away. It also meant that we had a lot of incidental traffic thanks to the theatre’s patrons. The venue also had an upstairs area where talks and panels could be held without having to compete with the noisy marketplace to be heard. There were some big names in the mix, including Lauren Beukes (Moxyland, Zoo City, Shining Girls, Fairest), Rico Schacherl (Madam & Eve), art writer Sean O’Toole, and acclaimed political cartoonist Zapiro.
There is also an exhibition on the process of making comics, curated by the CCIBA. Our work is on there too, along with Mr. Vuis Visagie by Heineche Smith, and it even got a little feature in a local newspaper! See photos below:
Moray snapped this pic of the sales area while I was away from our booth and Gibbo had stolen Danelle’s seat…
We had an absolute blast. We had awesome neighbours at our booth too – the lovely Shân Fischer from Shân Fisher Illustration, Gavin Thomson from Trek Net/Mama Taxi, Ben Winfield from Lobe Kid (who presented the webcomics workshop with us), and Su Opperman who was manning the CCIBA Graflit booth, an anthology well worth picking up. It’s only R100 and contains some really good art by local illustrators.
Some (of the very many) things we were really excited about:
The launch of Daniël Hugo‘s Oneironaut & Other Tales – this man is a veteran of South African comics, and has been producing high quality work for many years. Oneironaut & Other Tales is his long-overdue first anthology. The art and stories are excellent.
Joe Daly was there doing signings. We managed to get our 10 year old copy of Red Monkey signed, and Joe even drew a cool picture for us!
Lauren Beukes was also there and signed Danelle’s copy of The Shining Girls. Yay!
We presented a workshop on webcomics with Ben Winfield and Moray Rhoda. The venue was small (a conference room at the Central Library) but we filled all the seats, plus two or three extra! That was pretty awesome. The workshop was 2 hours long, and somehow we managed to fill it all up, including some Q & A time. Unfortunately we didn’t take photos while the session was in full swing. The light was really awful and all we had were cellphone cameras. Ben Winfield did snap two pics while we were waiting to start though. In the panoramic shot you can see the entire venue.
Financially, we broke even (sorta, as far as we can count, our buying ALL the things made keeping track of the cashbox difficult) – which is a pleasant surprise as we had considered the event to be more of a networking and promotional event than one which would make us some money. And network, we did! Wow, we cannot even tell you how cool all the people there were. We finally met some people that we’ve only ever spoken to online, and reconnected with some others that we’ve met but rarely ever see, and were honoured enough to meet and chat to people whose work we admire. The crowd was great, we hardly had any rude people, and the vibe among all the artists was pretty awesome. Above and beyond all that great stuff, we were so pleased to see the quality and quantity of work being produced by our peers. A few new comics were launched and they were all pretty awesome! So well done to everyone involved, you did really good work.
Another fun part of the event was that we got to do some work for charity. There were lots of blank tote bags that were given to artists to draw on. We were provided with some markers and things, and we could draw whatever we liked. In Danelle’s case, it was butts and dachshunds. In Ben’s, it was Noah. These bags were then put on display and sold for R80, with all the proceeds going towards a fund to build a library in an underprivileged area (I think it’s Kayalitsha, unless I heard incorrectly?). All of Danelle’s bags sold on the day, but Ben still has a Noah bag which is on display at the Book Lounge. Last we heard it was still available for purchase, so go and grab it if you’re keen.
Lastly, we have very limited stock of Chapter 2 available. I think around 10 or so, at last count. We still have plenty of Chapter 1, and almost all our posters. A lot of our peers also still have lots of stock left over. Many of them stock online at Readers Den, but if there are any particular works you know about and wish to purchase, send us an email and we’ll direct you to the right places.
A HUGE THANK YOU To Moray Rhoda, Frankie Murrey, Jess Smith and Andy Mason (if I’m forgetting anyone here, sorry, please nudge me in the comments!) for everything you’ve done for us, and keep doing for us. <3
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Remember that wedding we were so stressed about? Well, it was really pretty. Everything leading up to it was a bit of a disaster for several parties involved, with long strings of wardrobe malfunctions (including Danelle and one of the other bridesmaids getting their dresses swapped by accident, the groom forgetting his shirt at home and giving himself a black eye on the car door shortly before the ceremony), and power outs, and a lot of other things… but the wedding itself was very sweet and we had a blast. As proof that we can actually look nice in pictures, here is a photo for your enjoyment:
It was FREEZING. It had actually snowed on the nearby mountains, which made for extremely pretty photos, but in a strapless dress, it was really, really cold. Plus, it was raining most of the time so we all got wet and were a bit miserable while the photos were being taken. And we all had colds the next day. BUT! It was all worth it. (And my brother looks so adorable with his wedding band! -Danelle) Here’s what the venue looked like the next morning:
Lovely Tulbagh. Thank you for the memories!
Okay. Now the blog post is REALLY done.