FLUKE 2012 Report!

I went to FLUKE for the first time last year and had an absolute blast, so this year I convinced SCAD homies Max Young, Jackie Roche and Ellis Rosen to pile into a car with me at the ass-crack of dawn to drive to Athens, GA. Ellis even had his friend Sam Marlow with him, also a cartoonist, and so around 5am the five of us began our journey, crammed into my Honda Accord, headed towards the 40 Watt Club in beautiful downtown Athens.

Behind my table at FLUKE (photo borrowed from Jackie Roche)

As anticipated, it was a great show! FLUKE is a small event geared towards indie creators, self-publishers and zines. People were selling some pretty impressive minicomics – and there were people there to buy them. I love FLUKE because people go there specifically looking for minicomics, which is fantastic. It’s cheap to get into the show too ($2, I think?) so it makes it more likely that people will wander in off the street and make impulse purchases – and a $1 minicomic is really the perfect impulse purchase.

Ellis Rosen and his comic, The Shadow's Nose

Another reason FLUKE is great is that it’s so small. The 40 Watt is such an intimate setting: a relatively small room full of people who appreciate minicomics and zines, just kind of hanging out. The fact that it isn’t huge and overwhelming allows people to feel comfortable lingering at a specific table to chat or look through comics without worrying they might miss something. It has a very casual, relaxed vibe that I really enjoy. A contributing factor to that vibe may be the fact that the 40 Watt opens up their bar during the show, so creators and visitors can have a beer while they flip through minicomics and peruse the show. 

Having a drink or two at a show is a brilliant idea and I don’t know why this isn’t more commonplace. It can certainly be helpful for those of us who may tend to get nervous when talking to strangers. I think it even helped Max’s sales – one of his comics stars a guy who discovers he has super powers when he drinks alcohol, and I saw more than one person, beer in hand, chuckle at the premise and buy a copy. You can read a teaser of Max’s comic, Blacked Out, on his website.

Max Young, creator of Blacked Out

Because it’s so small and in a modest-sized town, FLUKE is more of a local/regional show,  which I think strengthens the community feel it has. I saw lots of familiar faces there, including Kevin Burkhalter, Blue Delliquanti, and the guys from Globster Press. A ton of the exhibitors there were students from the SCAD Savannah and Atlanta campuses, or SCAD alumni. Among others from the SCAD graduate program in attendance were Pickles Dill, Heidi Black, Becca Hillburn and Sarah Benkin!

Sarah Benkin, creator of Star Power.

Sarah’s working on a really kick ass project right now called Star Power: a Dr. Seuss inspired erotic comic about a group of strippers who think they look the best, and a group of strippers who feel insecure, and what happens when a crazy plastic surgeon comes to town! Sound familiar? Sarah has somehow combined The Sneetches and soft-core porn in a way that doesn’t totally ruin my childhood. She is funding her project through Kickstarter right now, so check out her page for all the cool swag you can get if you donate.

“Star-titted strippers are where it’s at!”

“You’re lanky!”

“You’re hairy!”

“And you’re all WAY TOO FAT!”

So even when people said “look at those hotties!”

The strippers from Clipper all hated their bodies… What happens next?? Find out in:

So FLUKE was a success! I got to meet some cool people, hang out with friends, read comics and have a few beers – not to mention selling a ton of minicomics! I totally underestimated how well the show would go and didn’t bring enough of my new issue, SPAZ! #5, and it sold out! FLUKE was a nice warm up for the con season, being a smaller show. A lot of the creators there were either going to MoCCA or Stumptown the following weekend and I know that, for me at least, FLUKE helped me tremendously in preparing for the bigger show. I packed a LOT more comics before heading out to Portland for the Stumptown Comics Fest the next weekend (and ended up selling out of some comics there too anyway).

Patrick Dean drawing a mummy werewolf on fire.

Once again, FLUKE organizers Patrick Dean and Robert Newsome have put on a fantastic show. I’m not sure where I’ll be living this time next year but I sure hope it’s close enough to warrant going back again – this truly is one of my favorites.