Nickel Plate Arts Has Turned on the Bat Signal

Nickel Plate Arts Has Turned on the Bat Signal

In just a few days, Nickel Plate Arts will host one of its most popular events: the unique and beloved Comic Book in a Day. On October 7 from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Comic Book in a Day will bring artists, comic book fans, kids and even adults together to spend the day participating in fun comic book creation challenges. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about the process of making a comic book from experts in the industry.

One of those experts is Stuart Sayger, the father of Comic Book in a Day who has worked in the comic book industry for about 15 years. The idea for CBIAD spurred from parties Sayger used to host with his friends, where they would stay up all night in order to complete a comic book. He shared these experiences with Nickel Plate director Aili McGill, who took the idea and ran with it. Since then, Nickel Plate Arts has hosted three Comic Book in a Day events, with this year being the fourth, expanding the event each time.

“Comic Book in a Day is fun on a couple different levels,” Sayger said. “You’re going to have so many people working together at the same time. A lot of times when a large number of people are creating something, it’s all done behind a curtain; you rarely get to see the artists work. Whereas at CBIAD, us artists are going to be on full display and everyone will be able to watch the process.”

Sayger, who has worked on major comic works like The Walking Dead, Man of Steel, Lego books, and more, is just one of the many artists that will be participating in this year’s event. Other artists include Indiana native Sterling Clark, a regular at comic shows throughout the Midwest; and Jackie Crofts, a developer for the game company Bottom Line Performance.

Sayger and the other artists will also be giving an art presentation where attendees can learn from the creators and even touch the art on display – another distinguishing feature of CBIAD that makes the event extremely interactive and audience-friendly.

“I’ve seen people actually get to handle comic art for the first time, and it’s funny because you can almost see the moment they fall in love,” Sayger said. “They get hooked and decide that they want to collect themselves. Part of it is because they got to have that intimate interaction with the art. That is exciting to me.”

Along with the presentations by featured comic book artists, another main draw for the event is the Comic Book Challenge, where attendees will actually get to create comic books themselves throughout the course of the action-packed day. After the comic books are created, an awards ceremony will be held and winners will be announced. The end goal is to create a six-page comic story in the allotted time of roughly 10 hours. People are also encouraged to watch the competition and awards ceremony if they’d rather not participate.

There are several different awards to be won, including “Best Story,” “Best Panel,” “Best Drawn,” “Most Creative,” “Best Overall,” and more. The winner of “Best Overall” is the CBIAD ultimate champion and gets to sign the championship belt. Beth Zyglowicz is last year’s overall champion, and she also picked up wins in the “Best Drawn” and “Best Panel” categories. This year she’ll be a judge, and she’s excited to see what everyone will create.

“I enjoy that Nickel Plate Arts uses CBIAD as an opportunity for community outreach,” Zyglowicz said. “Most people like comics, so it’s a chance for people who might not ordinarily be interested in art to come in and experience the whole creative process.”

Yet another activity that will be held at CBIAD is Superhero University, a dynamic gathering for young superhero fanatics who will be put through a series of tests. If they pass the tests, they will be granted “official” superhero status. This is a great chance for children to dress up, meet other aspiring heroes and learn important tips and tricks that every superhero needs to be the best they can be.

CBIAD will have something for everyone this year with free comic books and comic book art for sale, as well as the chance to get autographs from the professional artists.

“When something like CBIAD is happening and people start to hear about it, then people often step forward and say ‘I can do this,’” Sayger said. “They’re interested in making an event like this grow.

“I would encourage anyone who’s even remotely interested to come and be open-minded to the idea that if they want to contribute something, they can,” Sayger added.

Take his advice and visit the Nickel Plate Arts campus in Noblesville on October 7 for the fourth annual Comic Book in a Day event. It will be a day filled with action, art and vibrant storytelling that you will not want to miss.

General admission to CBIAD is free, but participation in related art activities is $5/person. Tickets to participate in the Comic Book Challenge have all been sold. Superhero University is $5 for Nickel Plate Arts members and $10 for non-members. For a full schedule, visit the Comic Book in a Day page.

Spencer Hotz
shotz@bohlsengroup.com