24 in Oz

Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2002
By: Darren Schroeder

The OzComics 24-Hour Comic Challenge

OzComics is running the contest to end all contests in October, a project it is hoped will have Australian Comic creators all over the country working concurrently on a series of 24-hour comics.

Each creator will race against the clock to complete a full 18 page comic book, from initial story idea through to finished pages, in just 24 hours time.

All participants will begin at 10am Saturday the 12th of October and endeavour to complete their own full comic book by 10am the next day, Sunday the 13th.

It is encouraged that to keep each creator on track and pumped up, that wherever possible, creators band together to work on their books collectively, either at one of their houses or an alternate venue. However this doesn't stop isolated creators from working alone from virtually anywhere in Australia.

A special forum will be setup over this October weekend for updates from all creators, keeping everyone up-to-date on each other's progress across the country.

It's a chance to bring the isolated local comics community together in a fun and productive exercise, using the power of the internet that OzComics has been doing for nearly 3 years now. And with the addition of the OZONE Online Comics section of the site, all entries can be made available for reading for everyone.

In addition to this, sponsorship is now being sought to collect a number of these comics and publish them as a single volume, for readers everywhere to enjoy. This volume would be available in all good comic stores and launched at the Comicfest Convention in Bankstown on the 16th and 17th of November.

Alternately they can be self-published, and will be displayed proudly at the OzComics booth at the aforementioned Comicfest convention.

Above all else, this is a chance for Australian comic creators to really come together and be part of something that will hopefully become an annual or bi-annual event, and important part of the Local Industry calendar. So much is discussed and so little produced, let's turn all of that around and show the rest of the world what we're made of!

But of course, for something of this magnitude to work smoothly, we need rules and guidelines on exactly how these comics can be done. So, without further ado, here's the rules as of 10 September:

To create a complete a 16 (minimum) page comic book in 24 continuous hours.

That means everything: Story, finished art, lettering, colors (if you want 'em), paste-up, everything! Once pen hits paper, the clock starts ticking. 24 hours later, the pen lifts off the paper, never to descend again. Even proofreading has to occur in the 24 hour period. [Computer-generated comics are fine of course, same principles apply].

No sketches, designs, plot summaries or any other kind of direct preparation can precede the 24 hour period. Indirect preparation such as assembling tools, reference materials, food, music etc. is fine.

The medium for producing your pages is totally up to you. You can draw the pages old-style, you can create collages from magazines or even create them totally on computer, as long as the finished product reads like a comic book. Pages can be any size, any material.

The 24 hours are continuous. You can take a nap if you like but the clock will continue to tick! If you get to 24 hours and you're not done, either end it there or keep going until you're done. I consider both of these the Noble Failure Variants and true 24 hour comics in spirit; but you must sincerely intend to do the 16+ pages in 24 hours at the outset.

Anyone can participate. It doesn't matter if you're no michelangelo, the point here is to tell a story, so even if you're a writer and have to resort to stick figures, it's still a valid entry!

SUGGESTIONS FROM SCOTT McCLOUD, Creator of the 24-Hour Comic

At just over an hour per page, some treat the 24-hour comic as a minimalist excercise – how little can you put on a page and still have it be comics – but I like to think of it in the opposite way; how much can you draw in an hour?! If you think about it, the answer is a lot! Figuring six panels per page that's ten minutes per panel. Try it yourself. [Yeah, right now!] Draw a box about 3 inches wide, 2 inches tall, set a timer for ten minutes and see how much you can draw. You might surprise yourself.

As far as planning goes, you can think about it beforehand, but I recommend improvisation as the most satisfying route. Perhaps have some randomizer at startup (like a Pictionary or Tarot Card Deck or a child's picture book of household objects) to actually prevent you from knowing what the story will be about beforehand. The less you plan, the less likely you are to get frustrated.

Some have found the exercise is especially fun to do in big groups. Some even chronicle the food they ate, the music they listened to, etc. Doing it alone can be kind of bleak, but also have a peculiar allure and can feel like a rite-of-passage, crossing-the-desert kind of thing. No, really. I'm serious! Oh, never mind....

My strongest suggestion is: Do it! It's fun, it's exciting, it's mind-altering, it'll teach you all kinds of cool stuff about yourself and – best of all – it's only one day, so what have you got to lose?

More information and updates on this contest are HERE

OzComics claims to be one of Australia's most popular comics websites, and to have united The Australian comics community as never before. OzComics is also a primary sponsor of the Comicfest and Supanova comic conventions.


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