coLAB’s “Comic in a Day” Showcase at Court Tavern

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On Sunday November 22, coLAB Arts will showcase comic books from its Comic in a Day competition at Court Tavern from 6pm-9pm.

coLAB is an arts non-profit organization that serves the New Brunswick community. According to coLAB’s website, its mission is to "engage artists, social advocates, and communities to create transformative new work".  Jad Kaado, the literary curator for coLAB, says the non profit tries to, “bridge the arts with current advocacy issues.”

The Comic in a Day competition is inspired by the “24 Hours Comics Day” held annually in October. According to 24hourcomicsday.com, the day is “an annual international celebration of comics creation… creative folks take on on the 24 hour challenge: to create a 24 page comic book story, normally months worth of work, in 24 straight hours.”

Although inspired by this annual event, coLAB is holding their competition “with a twist,” said Kaado, who is organizing coLAB’s rendering.

From October through December all coLAB events have been inspired by the #likeagirl trend on social media. The Comic in a Day completion has one caveat; the final comic book product must, “challenge popular patriarchal perspectives,” said Kaado. G. Willow Wilson, writer on Ms. Marvel, and Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of popular comic book series Bitch Planet are examples of women who defy superhero stereotypes in their comic book work.

Because the comic book artists must adhere to a specific theme for this competition, in this case, “the positive imagery of women,” illustrators and writers are allowed to work in a team of two. Traditionally a comic in a day competition would only allow a single participant to create the 24 page comic in 24 hours.

For coLAB’s event, 4 teams of 2 will begin brainstorming ideas on Saturday morning. Their 24 hour time slot with begin at 12pm on November 21st when they’re given pen and paper and end at 12:00 p.m. on November 22nd. Since all of the art must be hand-drawn and the words hand-written, coLAB will provide the teams of two with only pens and paper and allow them to bring other supplies they’ll need, according to Kaado.

Once 12pm on Sunday November 22nd strikes, the teams will be required to stop, regardless of whether they have finished or not.  Later that evening, the 4 separate comic books will be showcased at Court Tavern from 6pm-9pm. Two in person judges, Jackie Fellin, owner of Comic Sanctuary in New Brunswick, and Erin Hawley manger of the blog geekygimp.com, will offer their critique at Court Tavern.  Rufus Dayglo, illustrator of popular comics like Tank Girl, will be skyped in from Germany to offer his opinion.

Both Destination Dogs and Comic Sanctuary are sponsoring the event. Starting Monday November 16, Destination Dogs will be offering three hot dogs specially created for the competition to promote it – the She-hulk, Aurora, and Firestar. Destination Dogs is also catering the showcase event on Sunday night.

The showcase will also feature  a performances by actors from the community who will voice the 24 page comics before the winner is announced. The judges will anounce the winner, and the winning team will have the honor of having their comic distributed and promoted online by coLAB.

According to Kaado, comic books,  "cater to the modern mythology” – even if it is not always set in the realm of fantasy. coLAB prides itself on joining social justice and art so its Comic in a Day competition further promotes this mission as it brings together artists to raise awareness around gender issues.

Tickets for the showcase are $10 and can be bought here. http://www.colab-arts.org/comicinaday

Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

Editor's Note: Jad Kaado is a reporter for New Brunswick Today.