BY TAIT HOWARD
photos & captions by Jeremy Nguyen
The Fluke minicomics festival, hosted every year in Athens Georgia, is a meeting for independent comics creators and enthusiasts to buy, sell and trade comics and other ephemera. From 2002 through 2009 Fluke has been held at a venue in downtown Athens, but this year Fluke graduated to Ciné, a bar/cafe/cinema just a few blocks away from their original space. Ciné is a larger and more open venue which allowed for a better flow of traffic as well as more space for people to sell their wares.
Last year I attended fluke not knowing what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised to find everyone there to be friendly and open minded. It was a refreshing break from the usual ‘con’ atmosphere, where one can easily be bogged down in brands and marketing campaigns. This year, I attended as a vendor, and was thrilled to find the same atmosphere that had welcomed me the previous year.
To sell your work at fluke the only thing you have to do is get there first. I arrived at Ciné at around 9:30 with several friends, and ended up being at the very front of the line. We waited until 11 o’clock and then rushed in with thirty or so other people to set up our tables. The mission of fluke is to blur the lines between attendee and vendor, so anyone is welcome to set up shop as long as space is available. Having been on both sides of the table I would have to say that they succeed in this mission. A vendor at Fluke will probably at least make their entrance fee back, but making money is not the point. Fluke is a celebration of independently created and produced comics and art, which is why my favorite part of the show is trading.
I came to Fluke with 4 different minis to trade and sell and left with over 75 different comics. Each is a piece of art and I love being able to see all the hard work and love that went into each of them. Some are hand stapled and folded, some are screen-printed, some are die-cut, and all of them are representational of the person who created them.
Meeting the people that make these comics is another fantastic part. Many of the attendees are SCAD students and alumni, so if you are a student then Fluke takes on another level of importance. I was able to meet and network with people in the sequential art program at SCAD Atlanta, as well as get to know people in the Savannah department better. Talking to the people sitting at tables near mine was a great way to better understand the indie comics ‘scene’ in Athens. I got a chance to meet Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing, two of my favorite artists (and SCAD alums!), and get a copy of Secret Science Alliance signed by both of them.
Fluke is the perfect convention for anybody interested in the indie comics scene, mini comics, or self publishing and is a great way to make new friends and connections. I strongly recommend going at least once and finding out what its all about for yourself.
SEQA-PJ Kevin Burkhalter shows SEQA undergrads the way of the exhibitor. (left)
(From Left: Kevin Burkhalter, Luis Echavarria, Alex Mejias, Derek Land)
Irene & Trevor from SCAD Atlanta (right).
Tait Howard is currently a third-year undergraduate student in the Sequential Art program at SCAD. You can view his work at tin-squid.deviantart.com