Thursday, October 29, 2009

Voices from Artists Alley: COMICBOOK ARTISTS GUILD

Rounding out our weeklong review of the indie presence at the recent Boston Comic Con is a Vault first: an interview with an organization rather than a person, in this case, The Comicbook Artists Guild. Oh, sure, the guild was represented by people, but I think it is best to keep things on a pure artistic level and instead just refer to the representatives of CAG by iconic comic nicknames instead, so that their message doesn't get diluted by focus on the individual. Which is my way of saying that my recorder malfunctioned and didn't record the part where they told me their names. But whoever those men of mystery were, gentlemen, we salute you!

Since there were two men manning the booth at the show, we'll refer to them as The Man and King. Onward!

What can you tell us about the Comicbook Artists Guild?

THE MAN: We’re representing the comic book artists guild, which formed in 2000 -- we’re in our ninth year -- of up and coming, amateur, independent comic creators – writers, artists, inkers, pencillers – who network and collaborate. We do things like throw in on convention tables to make it more affordable for members, collaborate on each other’s projects, the guild does several publications a year that members are invited to contribute to so that you can end up being published for the first time, and generally support each other in the creation of our own independent projects as well.

So it’s anyone working in comics, not just artists? The “artists” in the title refers to artists in the general sense?

THE MAN: Yeah, anyone. I’d say we almost have a 50-50 split between writers and artists. In fact we have a prose project coming out next year that the writers got together and started, and each story has a couple of illustrations from the artists. But it’s more prose focused than the traditional sequential art.

KING: And even on our Facebook page we have different groups, you could be in the artists group, you could be in the writers group, you could join as many as you want, whatever. If you have anything you do in the comic book industry or anything you want to do in the comic book industry, that’s what we’re all about.

THE MAN: And we’ve even got just a few diehard fans who just want to be involved. And it’s very low dues, just $25 for the first year and $20 a year thereafter. And the website is

And you have regular meetings?

THE MAN: Yep. We have different chapters, the New England chapter meetings take place in Connecticut once a month, usually around the third week of the month on a Saturday or a Sunday at a regular location. There’s a New York chapter that meets regularly, a Midwest and a West Coast chapter and we even have a couple international members in London and Brazil.

And what do you do at the meetings?

THE MAN: Discuss everything from… sometimes we pass around artwork for critiques from artists and writers. Sometimes there’s a little kind of mini-seminar. At a recent meeting, Keith Murphy, our President and co-founder of the guild gave a seminar on how to put together a portfolio presentation for one of the major comic companies. So you have like people giving advice, you do have members who have worked professionally for some of the big indies and even the Big Two.

About how many members do you have in the New England branch?

THE MAN: I don’t think I could tell you how many we have in the New England Branch itself, but all told I think we’re over 100 members, I think 120 or 130.

KING: I’d heard we’re up to about 160.

THE MAN: And the last meeting I went to [in CT], there were about 30 members present.

[editor's note: the banner on the front page is from the CAG Anthology #7 story / series "Agent Unknown" by Robert Sodaro and Chris Torres]

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