Rimelis Melisch -- Team Kyle Cognito
24 Hour Comics Day
If you came by Galaxy of Comics on October 2nd to gawk at the Tralfamadorian Zoo-style glass menagerie of comic freaks in their natural habitat, creating 24 pages of an original comic book in 24 consecutive hours, none of us artists noticed. We remained deep in our respective worlds, focused, distributing pencil and ink. Only breaks were to pee, eat, stretch or get more art supplies.
I hadn’t even heard of 24 Hour Comics Day until after I put my paintings up for consignment at the store. The owner, Warren, asked me if I wanted to be one of the local artists to participate in the event. I’d never seriously attempted writing my own comic before, and it sounded super intense, but this year I’ve been all about saying Yes, so I did. And I convinced my good friends Melanie and Richie to take on this grueling task with me.
From 10am Saturday till 8am Sunday, my team and I toiled away. The whole marathon started at 8am, but I didn’t sleep well the night before, so I unintentionally grabbed a few extra Z’s while Mel and Richie grabbed some last-minute supplies before we arrived at the shop.
The following is a semi-hourly account (the best I could recall in my rather fragile psychological state following 24 consecutive waking hours inside the world of our hero, Kyle Cognito)…
10am, our first hour – The sun rises over a buttery landscape of concrete and asphalt as we arrive to the store. There are about 8 people there already. Iron Man 2 plays in the background, but I try to ignore it because I haven’t even seen it yet; reason being, no one cared enough to take me to see it in IMAX on my birthday. We’re informed only one name gets to be on the submission, so we make one up compiled of all our names — Rimelis Melisch. We then discuss our premise, storyline and color schemes — Kyle Cognito, a middle-aged construction worker who can kind of see the future, must save a girl from getting hit by a bus and by doing so prevent a huge, fiery pile-up, or give in to his need to take a huge dump. Richie does panel lay-out, I pencil out the sketches onto Bristol sheets and then I pass them over to Mel, who inks and details. We are an assembly line.
11am, 2nd Hour – Mel and I go across the street to get coffee. Pumpkin spice frappe with an extra shot of espresso. The dude who told Warren he wanted to buy my painting actually commissions me to do a zombie Batman portrait. Gives me a hundred dollars. Elation.
1pm, 4th hour – Some dude comes by the shop, interviews everyone involved for an article for his website. I convince Warren to put on the first Iron Man.
2pm, 5th hour – Mel’s parents and brother come by and bring us Chinese take-out. AWESOME.
3pm, 6th hour – Myly stops by with her little sister and co-worker. We have 3 completed pages and a handful in production. I try one of the free Rockstar energy drinks. It tastes like a carbonated version of my absolute un-favorite flavor, cola candy, and I chug it with dread. A few hours after this I get little heart palpitations and I decide never to do that again. Someone puts on Batman the animated series. I splooge a little.
5pm, 8th Hour – It doesn’t even feel like we’ve been working on the comic for long. Breezing by. Take a break for drinks at the bar next door. The bartendress, a Welsh woman in her 50s called Cathy, take care of us. The demographic around this hour are tired, talkative, fun grey-haired men and some of their grandkids. I order a Vodka Martini with a million olives and shots of Patron for my team.
8pm , 11th Hour – My BFF Billy comes by and hangs out for a bit. I put on Star Trek via Richie’s laptop/my Netflix account. Still drunk from earlier. More people come into the shop and we get anxious and pressured. Mel found it extremely hard to concentrate, too. This is mainly because a few mentally challenged geeks came over to do an arbitrary, useless and contrived webcast, conveniently after Warren left. It’s awkward, out of place, not at all interesting, and it makes me want to kill myself. It’s like — “Hey, what you’re doing isn’t important and you shouldn’t take it seriously, so instead, listen to us, even though all we’re talking about is boring shit nobody cares about, but we’re going to broadcast it on the web, as if we have an audience. We’re not intruding are we? Just kidding, we don’t care. You’re all wasting your time, anyway. No one’s going to publish your crap. Okay, triviaaaaa tiiiiiime! Wait, why isn’t anyone listening to us or responding to our dumb jokes? Why are you all working so hard on your comics? Anyway, guys let’s do a RAFFLE for ONE, COUNT IT, ONE ticket to the Long Beach Comic Con? Just everyone, dammit, write your name on this tear of paper please for the love of god we need to get rid of this ticket. The winner is Richie, yayyyy –”
Look, nobody cares so go away and LEAVE US ALONE TO DO OUR COMIC GOD DAMMIT YOU ARE INTRUDING ON OUR SPACE AND INTERRUPTING THE GOOD GROOVE WE HAD YOU FUCKS!
Billy leaves during the podcast: “I don’t think I can contain myself any longer. I have to leave this trainwreck.”
930pm, 12th Hour – The donated communal pizza arrives. I ignore it and scribble away. The podcast is over. Mel gets an anxiety attack because of all the horrible vibes from the freak show. We leave to get air. She ponders throwing up.
10pm, 13th hour – I go back inside, back to work, overhear what people think of all this craziness, speak to some big guy who digs my paintings. In my delirium I think I hear someone saying, “It’s alllll ego-strokin’ man, it’s allllll ego strokin'” and think he’s referring to the artists toiling away. Is this real?
11 pm, 14th hour – While randoms come and go, they comment on our comic. These positive vibes fuel us and help us make our goal. Mel sings my praises to these people and never fails to mention my paintings hanging in the back of the store. I love her.
1am, 16th Hour – We are all expected to freak out by now, but it’s been quiet and everyone’s focused, toiling away. We decide to cut 6 pages to adjust to a more realistic time frame in order to complete the story, penciling and inking. Someone brings us donuts.
3am, 18th Hour – Finally finish penciling all the panels. Join Richie and Mel with inking, background and detailing. I remember to eat.
5am, 20th Hour – I finally take advantage of the 48 percent off sale and get a Walking Dead 2011 calendar literally one minute before the sale ends. Sweet. Although, I can’t stop complaining about my back pain or carpel tunnel. I get up more frequently to stretch. Not hungry. Not sleepy. Just tired and sore. Want to go home to my bed. I can’t think about wanting to eat or rest – I just want to finish this god damn thing.
8am, 22nd hour — … and 18 pages complete! We make it just on the dot, comic inked and ready and not wanting anything to do with it anymore!
Got home a little after 8am and knocked the fuck out. Got up again at 5 and went to dinner at the Dresden with Julianna and Steph for JuJu’s birthday :) Although, I was a bit delirious and super irratable. More than usual… Had a Black Russian and the scallops —
— and then took a little stroll to the bookstore down the street and treated myself to these books by two of my all-time heroes —
I’ll have scans of our comic up as soon as I get them. For now, it’s time to start on my next project – Zombie Batman!