Mark your calendars comic lovers, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit will be hosting The Society for Illustrated Stories graphic novel and comic swap on Oct. 19.
SFIS coordinator Leto Rankin says the monthly swap event is meant to connect people to the museum while utilizing a medium that they are comfortable with and love.
“Comics and graphic novels are a nexus of art, literature and pop culture, attracting members of the immediate community as well as the metropolitan area,” Rankin said. “Comic art and stories have influenced genres like pop painting and graffiti, creating recognizable and translatable work that is easy for people to connect with.”
Augusta Morrison, Education Associate at MOCAD, said the series allows the local comics community to be cultivated and nurtured, while drawing more talented people into the graphic novel fold.
“This event benefits the comics community and is open to anyone that wants to read, draw or swap their collection of comics,” said Morrison. “These stories are a way for us to reflect on what is happening around us from stories from our childhood to issues happening in the world in terms of political, social [and] environmental or for purely entertainment purposes.”
Comic fans will be able to trade and share their collected books and enjoy character inspired drinks and cocktails, as well as create do-it-yourself graphic buttons. Green Brain comics will also be in attendance to pass out free graphic novels to participants.
Everyone from amateur artists and comic book writers to casual fans and collectors are invited. The event will also feature an as-of-yet unnamed, nationally acclaimed comic book artist that will present their work and give advice to visitors.
“This past year we had John Backderf and, prior to that, Phoebe Gloeckner,” Morrison said. “By inviting nationally recognized comics artists to present in a museum platform, we are providing a space to education, engage and bring light to this art practice.”
Rankin said that events like the comic swap are important to remind communities of the impact of comics on popular culture.
“From Roy Lichtenstein's paintings to Mike Kelley's Kandor [the capital city of Superman's home planet Krypton] works to the graffiti in 1980s New York, there has definitely been an influence on the influencers of the current contemporary art scene,” Rankin said. “When you look at how popular the TV shows and movies are, it is readily apparent that comics touch a deeply resonating chord within the culture.”
Wayne State alumnus Patrick White voiced support for self-published comic book artists, particularly those that use social media to promote themselves.
“Some of my favorite artists got their start, and continue to produce, via online self-publishing,” White said. “I think artists who use social media as a publishing platform are on the cutting edge. If I see your comic in my feed every day, I am very likely to buy a physical book if you make one.”
The swap will take place at the MOCAD in Café 78 from 5 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the general public. Those interested in attending can RSVP on the society’s Facebook event.