A live “comics carousel” event was hosted by R. Sikoryak at SPX, featuring a massive cast of performers from a wide range of comics genres, including Lisa Hanawalt, Sam Henderson, Michael Kupperman, Anders Nilsen, Leslie Stein, and Kriota Willberg.
Sikoryak’s Carousels are a legend in their own time, particularly in the New York area, drawing in a wide range of comics creators to do dramatic readings of their comics, and usually the particularly funny ones, accompanied by slides from the comics, and even a musical soundtrack. What better place to take advantage of having so many comics people in one place than SPX? I was able to pop in for the first four readings, and can only lament that I couldn’t hear them all given the “comics gone wild” experience of these opening performances.
Robert Sikoryak (Masterpiece Comics) started off by reading, with musical soundtrack and slides, from his comics “Popeseus”, a Popeye Odysseus story interlaced with plenty of mashup literary dialogue, followed by “Dynamic Expectations”, a riff on Great Expectations. It was a mercilessly clever way to warm up the crowd on the benefits of hearing comics aloud, and highlight just how punchy dialogue can be in the medium.
Lisa Hanawalt (My Damn Dirty Eyes) shared reflections on her creative process, really a self-critique on laziness and being a “bad” cartoonist, what should or should not be touched in terms of museum paintings and boyfriends. Some tips for being in a relationship included “prepare for the statistical likelihood of breaking up by labelling” items ahead of time. Illustrated “Horrible” sex positions actually didn’t get the biggest laughs; they were reserved for “Sexual Fantasies inspired by film directors” from Terrance Malik to Joss Whedon.
Michael Kupperman (Tales Designed to Thrizzle) read from what he described as his “best of” with an impressive array of funny voices. Highlights included James Bond being instructed on the benefits of a “spork” as a spy tool from “SkyMall” (riffing on Skyfall). A He-Man like figure with a “skull groin” costume that desires his own order at the coffee shop, the wonders of “Jesus’ half-brother Pagus” and the rituals we perform that honor him like painting eggs, and the darker aspects of boy bands revealed in “Boy Bank”.
Leslie Stein (Eye of the Majestic Creature) performed her “true story” comic Lithium, about a band playing to spread the word about depression and suicide prevention (hence the band name Lithium), their awkward radio performance, and a possible lesson or two about self-image.
Hannah Means-Shannon is senior New York Correspondent at Bleeding Cool, writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org, and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress. Find her bio here.