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Store signing: Kendall and Vault of Midnight GR adventure!
Today we thought we’d let you know how that big store signing/college talk thing went for us a little while ago. Remember that? Yeah. We’ve been busy. But here we go – Vault of Midnight! Grand Rapids, Michigan! Hoo-ah!

We drove out to G-Rap, our former residence of days gone by, and settled in with good friends. The kinds of good friends who set you up to play Kinect games on their X-Box and then surreptitiously sneak photos of you looking like a fool. That kind. But we’re used to being photo-ninja’d when hanging with Chris and Jennifer, so we more or less expected it. The upside is getting some nice pictures to balance out the goofs. And, as you can see, we never go anywhere without also getting work done.







Big thanks to Chris and Jennifer for never getting annoyed that we always have our drawing boards out when we come over. Some people wouldn’t be as understanding, but our friends are the best.

Thursday morning we got up extremely early (for us) and went downtown to meet some former students of ours for brunch. All are doing well. Krista and Will still work with us from time to time (Will much more so; stay tuned) but it was good to see li’l Brant doing gangbusters with his tattoo work and John becoming a serious musical composer. Great concert, John – we’re so proud!

We then went to Kendall College of Art and Design – our old alma mater – to put on a slightly expanded version of our “Let’s Make a Character!” seminar. Normally we just talk about character creation and comics and stuff, but for the sake of a slightly more general collegiate audience, we got much deeper into the business of comics and life as a professional freelancer. It was a pretty good time, and Adam got to do his drawing on a fancy-pants Cintique. Ooooh. It worked easily, and Adam never looked like an old geezer unaware of how to work this modern technology. Whew.



The character we crafted was a female antagonist trying to bring down a futuristic world of floating buildings and wild technology. What was cute, though, was that one of the professors and her son were drawing along with Adam. Here are all three pieces – Adam’s, Professor Susan Bonner’s, and little Dylan Fischer’s. Awesome.




Afterward, we recorded a little video for Kendall (which we’ll share once it’s available) and headed a few blocks over to the awesome Vault of Midnight comic shop. Seriously, just look at this place. It’s so amazing. We wish like heck there was a comic store like this in Grand Rapids when we lived there.




The signing was a really fun time. The guys and gal at VoM took great care of us, and so many people came out. We signed books, we reviewed portfolios - it was a busy few hours. There was even a group that drove an hour and a half to get to see us. We felt pretty special, we won’t lie. This was the picture they posted of us:



Cute, right? Kids these days - all comics are manga. We've been saying it a long time now, but it's only more true as we go along: comics is comics is comics. It doesn't matter the format, just that it reaches people. If manga fans think Rainbow in the Dark is a manga, then it is. If comic fans call One Piece a comic book, so be it. None of those labels matter, so long as readers are finding stories to love.

When it was all done, we cashed out and spent a little last time with Chris and Jennifer and another GR buddy Dan before starting home. It was a fun couple days, and made us miss being closer to some of the close friends we had back there. Thanks to everybody who made it out – it was great seeing you! And keep shopping at Vault of Midnight. We sure wish we lived close enough to do it ourselves.

Next week we fly to Seattle for Emerald City. A little more on that in the coming blog. See you then!

-Comfort & Adam
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Comments
Travis Perkins From: Travis Perkins Date: March 21st, 2014 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Something that really kinda affected me, along the same lines as your "comics is comics is comics" point, was when I found out that in Japan, all forms of animation is considered "anime". So, from their point of view, Simpsons and South Park are just as much anime as your Sailor Moons and Dragon Ball Zs. I try to think about that somethings as it gets real easy to get caught up in labels and subgenres and whatnot.

But it looks like it was a fun trip, and that is indeed a sweet lookin' comic shop. Adam- what were your thoughts on using a Cintique? I'd love to get one one day when they hopefully come down in price a bit. (By which I mean a lot.) How did it compare to using a wacom tablet?
lampbane From: lampbane Date: March 21st, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Anime" is just their word for animation, and "manga" is their word for "comics." So that part is true, just as we call it animation and comics. They're names for the media, not genres. However, over here, it's generally (but not universally) accepted that if you're using the *Japanese* words for them, you're probably referring to Japanese comics and animation. It's really silly... if not a bit pretentious and even a little appropriating, to use a foreign word for stuff we already have a word for in English.

I think it's possible for something to be "manga-style," if your major cultural influences are anime and manga, and that's fine, because building and incorporating are just how culture works. But just "manga"? That's sticky, because Japanese manga is a genre similar to say, American literature, or French film, because it's not just from said countries or cultures, but because it reflects a worldview of being raised in and living in said culture. You can learn a lot about the history of a place from their fiction.

I think the whole "manga" or "manga-style" conundrum stems from how inaccessible many American comics can be, while manga has been more welcoming to some. Kids don't call all non-mainstream/non-superhero American comics manga, but maybe the ones that are action-oriented and teen-friendly -- I've never seen a kid call say, Smile or Amulet a manga (they say "comic" or in some cases, "graphic novel"). But Rainbow in the Dark? It's sort of in the zone where you can say, "I see it," even if you don't agree (I don't, though I love you guys).

I have more to say on the nature of genre and confusion with medium, but I have to leave work now, so catch you guys later.
comfort_adam From: comfort_adam Date: March 22nd, 2014 04:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Using a Cintique was pretty rad. I'd used one 6-7 years ago and it was cool but not mind-blowing, but this new one was much more responsive and easy to use. I was really impressed. Not "take my $2 grand" impressed, but still. -Adam
Jason Winter From: Jason Winter Date: March 21st, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Japanese art and Manga

There seems to be a direct correlation between traditional Japanese art, with its emphasis on line work, and Japanese Manga. I wonder if the reason that Japanese Manga is so widely accepted in Japan. Whereas in Western art, there seems to be clearer distinctions between High art, and Pop art.
viruswarning From: viruswarning Date: March 22nd, 2014 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds fun. There's another Vault of Midnight in Ann Arbor, you should come do a signing there ;)
hbrika From: hbrika Date: March 27th, 2014 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
And no set of pictures is complete without a cat <3
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