I had a blast performing three of my stories for DeeCap - an event held as part of Dundee Comics Expo last Saturday.
I had read Sam (Magic Whistle) Henderson’s article on reading comics aloud to a group at tcj.com and had thought it interesting but strange – besides self-promotion, why is doing that a good idea? A notion that is looked at in Henderson’s article.
I didn’t think much more about it until I received an e-mail from cartoonist Damon Herd asking if I’d like to take part in DeeCap. I found myself saying yes because despite the above concerns, I also thought “why not?” It would be an interesting challenge to covert the usually private reading experience into a group event.
Comics creators are often reticent to use silent panels on their pages, but I’m not as I think they’re powerful. I’ve dealt with them before when reading comics aloud to someone else. You’re reading away and then go silent while they look at the picture. Do you let the panel be silent or not? I decided yes, if the comic is strong enough the information will get across.
I wanted to control the timing of the story – so split up three stories into 139 single panel scans on slides, and used a remote to control the speech patterns. In the event, this decision allowed me to linger on any that were getting a good laugh, or had some chicken fat I thought might be picked up by the audience.
Interesting thing about this is that the comics page became irrelevant. I’m increasingly thinking the comics page as a unit, while of great interest to me as a comics reader/practitioner is of no interest to a casual reader. I think a page of comics is sometimes too daunting to a non-comics reader. They are accustomed with a regular novel to starting on word one and continuing in that fashion until the book ends. I have observed that James Kochalka’s ‘Quit Your Job’, with its panel a page is an easier read for some. I can see myself trying something like this in the future when the right story or idea comes along.
There were three other presenters and all our styles were different. We had running the perimeter of the room around the audience, a ticking sound effect and a good old fashioned sing-along. The event was good fun and the audience really seemed to enjoy it.
I also put the cover of Dump #2 onscreen as part of my presentation. Here it is…