On April 23, you will find us along with the Dollar Bin Crew at Fluke, a Mini-Comics Festival in Athens, Georgia. This year is Fluke's Tenth Anniversary, but as this will be my first year attending I checked in with some friends about why they like Fluke.
First up is J. Chris Campbell. J. Chris is not only an awesome individual, but also the creator of Neatobots and other fabulous comic characters. He's quite the character himself. He was kind enough to share why he's been attending and setting up at Fluke from almost the beginning:
Wide Awake Press has been attending and helping with FLUKE almost since the first year. I probably would have been there, had I heard about it. It's unlike any other comic show you'll ever go to because it is almost completely made up of independent comic and zine creators. You'd be hard pressed to find any representation of a major Super Hero character in the room except maybe underground-satirical-favorite MODOK.
Top Shelf has been a supporter for many of the shows and they've had a presence there but other than them the majority of the stuff there is self published and created by hand. So it's a perfect place to find one of a kind comic books and hand made art objects that explore areas of sequential art that publishers can't. The atmosphere is really laid back and you're just hanging in a bar where everyone just happens to have stuff they've been working on. There is a lot of love for unique Comics and Zines in the room and you can really feel it. I'm jazzed about this year's 10th anniversary of FLUKE and the new location at Athen's famous 40 Watt. It's going to be rocking!!
Another one of my favorite characters, Charlotte by way of Concord's own, Henry Eudy, who I have the pleasure of hanging out with almost every week at Sketch Charlotte, was also down with sharing what he likes about Fluke:
This year will mark my third consecutive trek down to Athens, GA for the FLUKE Minicomics Festival. I unabashedly tell anyone who asks and, generally, even those who don’t care, that FLUKE is my favorite comics show of the entire year. There are a lot of reasons why I love FLUKE, I’ll try to boil them down to a few points but I’ll primarily state that FLUKE is for The People, yo, and it’s The People that make it great.
Firstly, FLUKE exists as a true celebration of minicomics. Minicomics are fascinating, they are often as bizarre and idiosyncratic as the people that make them. When you read a person’s minicomic, you let a little bit of that person into yourself. When you pick up a stranger’s mini, something they’ve labored over, drawn every line in , penciled every letter, folded each sheet of paper and pounded in all the little staples one after another, you almost can’t help but catch a little of their mojo coming off the page. Minicomics are all about the contact highs. There’s something about a handmade object, even if it’s just one about farts and duckies, that mesmerizes me in a way that corporately produced, professionally printed offerings rarely do.
Well, FLUKE is wall to wall to wall minicomics and it’s incredible how many weirdos there are out there who just want the opportunity to show you on paper just how weird they are. These people are out there in the underbrush and the tall weeds, hidden from the bloated eye of popular culture, making tons of dumb and beautiful comics each hour. Sadly, many of these comics rarely get read by anyone not also crouched down in those self same bushes because there are so few venues available to the minicomicist in the larger society of straight up comics shows. FLUKE cuts through that bullshit like a laser mounted on a rabid tiger. FLUKE says, “If you got $8, you got a table, son.” FLUKE allows no big banners or ridiculous signage that I see at so many larger cons where people try to get you to read their webcomic using the same tactics water purifier salesmen use at state fairs. FLUKE is a level playing field, the art school trained next big thing can get a table right next to the recently released and under medicated schizophrenic. All they need is $8, some boxes drawn on paper and a desire to sit in one place for eight hours. It’s democracy at work, goddammit.
And because FLUKE is such a mixed bag of people and comics, it is a beautiful thing. You can buy superhero comics at one table and dirty drawings of American presidents as represented by negligee clad rabbits at the next. You see laboriously rendered screen printed covers next to sloppy line drawings run off a dying Xerox machine in the back of a Foot Locker. You can see professional or near professional cartoonists like Drew Weing, Eleanor Davis, David Mack, Matt Wiegle, Josh Latta, Joey Weiser, and Chris Schweizer peppered in amongst a crowd of SCAD students and other weirdos who might be exhibiting their first ever effort at making a comic. It’s kind of thrilling that way, to see the whole evolutionary sweep of comics and cartooning lined up against the walls of a single large room.
I always buy a huge amount of stuff at FLUKE because I know I may never get a chance to read and experience many of the cornucopia of comics spread out before me ever again. FLUKE is a rare and precious thing to a minicomic reader; it’s a festival dedicated to the elusive and the finite. The thing that you only see slivers of as you dig through backroom shelves the rest of the year is suddenly in abundance and manifest in more varieties than you though imaginable. FLUKE is freewheeling and fun and it’s for The People, The Comics Making and Comics Loving People. Long may it reign.
Building on the Charlotte contingent traveling to Athens is Dustin Harbin, formerly of Heroes fame, now making it out in the world on his own, who had this to say about Fluke, "The best part of FLUKE is the laid-back social vibe, it's just a little chummy party."
Wow, I couldn't have said it better myself! Thanks to all of you for your awesome endorsements of what looks to be a great event!
Fluke is at the The 40 Watt Club located at 285 West Washington Street in Athens and is open from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. We hope to see you there.