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25 April 2012

Fluke Mini-Comics and Zine Festival 2012 guest report by Henry Eudy

Pic totally stolen without permission from Jono Ruelas facebook page.  

This past Saturday was Fluke day in Athens, GA.  The annual trip to Fluke is one of my favorite weekends of any year but due to circumstances beyond my control I had to cancel at the next to last minute.  I was downtrodden not just for myself but for you dear reader.  An annual Fluke reportt has become a beloved tradition here at file under other.  Missing it would be like that time my family went to Disney World without me.  So, I did what any devastated person would do.  I turned to twitter and asked Charlotte cartoonist and pal Henry Eudy to write a report about Fluke for file under other.  

Take it away Henry!

Pic of Henry 'E.U.D.O.K." Eudy totally stolen without permission from Rico Renzi's twitter feed

Hey Shannon, 

Here's a quick rundown of my impressions of this year's FLUKE show. Firstly, I should say that FLUKE is my very favorite comic book show of the entire year. I look forward to it, I dream about it, I yearn to be there all through the rest of the crappy time I'm alive. FLUKE always feels like home even if I do have to drive 250 miles to get there. I gotta think the move to the 40 Watt is the greatest thing since Abraham Lincoln sliced bread and fed all the Indians and pilgrims for 40 days and nights. It's a fabulous venue and the show just hums with energy (and booze) through the entire length. 

I'm sad to say a little of that energy was in regress due to the lack of a few favorite and familiar faces. One, yours, of course, dear Shannon but also the absence of Josh Latta put a tear in everybody's tall boy. Come back to us Josh, you are so missed. Even so, there were many of the standard FLUKE cadre in attendance plus a seeming over abundance of very young SCAD students out on their first endeavors as comic book hucksters. So many shy and innocent faces sitting over their folded and stapled goods, sweating it out, wondering who they thought they were fooling trying to be something akin to an "artist". I was one of those kids, four years ago, doing my very first show in a town far away from my own, hoping no one could tell I was a fraud. I hope those kids caught the fever on their first times like I did and I hope they'll be back, making themselves real cartoonists staple by staple and fold by fold. But, anyway, I'm getting romantic here. Does it show that I've been drinking?
Anyhow, here's how my trip went. I arrived with my pal and FLUKE first-timer Rico Renzi in tow about 8:30am, well before the doors were scheduled to open, and captured an amazing parking space at the side of the building that I managed to hold a full 13 hours. As we passed by the 40 Watt front entrance on a trek through town for biscuits, we glimpsed Patrick (Dean) and Robert (Newsome) already furiously arranging tables within. When we returned a little after 9, only the faintest signs of a line were evident and I ended up waiting the shortest amount of time ever to gain entrance to the inner sanctum. By 9:30 people were being permitted inside and barren tabletops were quickly being converted into storefronts. 

Everything seemed to go very, very smoothly. In a short time Rico and I were joined by fellow Charlotte dweller Bridgit Sheide, and we constructed a flotilla of Queen City power along the edge of the stage. The public was admitted around 11ish, I suppose, but it's always a little hard to tell because already the exhibitors were out and about casing their compatriots and buying up a few pre-opening items. I made sure right away to buy a copy of Audrey Morris' "Power Drive A" anthology. I've kept my little eye on Audrey since last year when I was sorely impressed by her "Jawsome 1999" and there was no way I was missing getting a copy of her latest bit of amazement. As fortune might have it, I found here squeezed in right next to my good buddy Adam Casey who was making a triumphant return to the show after a few years in the wilderness. Adam had a really funtastic new "Drac-Drac-Drac-Drac-Dracula" mini and I was able to get a neat Hamburglar in prison drawing from him as well. Then I sat at my table and was a good little comic seller for a good spell. 

Pic of J. Chris Campbell's Fluke setup totally stolen without permission from J. Chris Campbell's facebook page

The crowd didn't seem quite as large as last year, perhaps because of the event coinciding with Record Store Day. Nerds only have so much money to blow on one weekend, I totally understand. Also there appeared to be a large bro-fest of terrible music and even worse people in a lot across the street from the club that may have detoured the more sensitive mini-comic patrons. I can't know for sure, but the crowd seemed a touch thinner. Still, the people that were there were major quality consumers and I actually sold my items quite briskly. Plus I had a lot of great conversations with culture savvy strangers. 

When I rose from my seat a second time I hit some of the majors in the room. I got Joey Weiser's new "Merman Theater", a handful of David Mack minis including a great little book about Athens itself and some lovely "Monsters in Transit" note cards. Drew Weing seemed to have nothing of his own new to sell but I snatched up the new issue of Eleanor's (Davis) "Beouija" sketchbook from their table. 

I dropped by the Dollar Bin to see Shawn and Adam Daughhetee and purchased a little charmer from Shawn about the time she was treed by cows. It's called "The Time I Was Treed by Cows." Sure, I was getting pretty thirsty by this time and I sauntered over by the bar where I paused to buy a pretty handsome FLUKE 2012 t-shirt and Patrick Dean's absolutely incredible new comic "Sometimes I Think About You at Night". Patrick's work is always amazing but this one.... wow. I got a beer and said hello to my friend Tara [Fend] Harris whom I met last year with her regular conspirator Alison Burke. She had a second volume of their co-created post apocalyptic survival tale "A.R.R.O." for sale and I made arrangements to claim one for myself. I also picked up "Dungeon World" and "Tales of Haunt" from the affable and future-minded Doug Metcalfe before returning to my spot to get my drink on. I did a little trading, most notably with Jordan Fitch Mooney who gave one of my favorite things of the show, "The A-Z Guide to Dispatching Your Enemies."

We comicers, we sold, we talked up, we chatted, we pretended to flick boogers across the crowded room. Suddenly the sweet, short hours were in their last minutes and so my tablemates and I started to replace our wares and count our money. I regretted I had visited so few tables and not sprinted from my chair more often. 

I never did see what Dean Trippe had as offerings and neglected my chance to get a collected Ninjasaur from Jason Horn. Neither did I properly visit the gauntlet of power ladies that was Jackie Lewis, Erin Gladstone and Cassie Hart Kelly, all seated neatly in the row opposite. And a great many of those hopeful, innocent faces... I'm sorry I missed you guys. I can be a real jerk sometimes. 

So, it was out the door, out for pizza and then hauling it back home. I spent the whole of Sunday sleeping it off and dreaming of next year when FLUKE will re-open to the waiting and wistful world and all will be right. 

Sorry I don't really have any pictures. I'm not much of a pictures taking person. Still, maybe you can find an image or two to steal some place or you can just insert a pic of Sam Elliot every once in a while to keep the public calm and let 'em know everything is gonna be alright. Best of luck! Hope to see you on the convention floor real soon. 

-- YOUR bestest pal forever,
Henry Eudy          
Pic of Fluke Co-Grand Poobahs Robert Newsome and Patrick Dean totally stolen without permission from Shawn Daughhetee's facebook album of Fluke pics

Thanks Henry!  You are the Absolute Hardback Edition best!  I hope to see you (and you dear reader) at HeroesCon.  Don't forget your drinkin' shoes.  Everyone go read every word and study every drawing on Henry's website, write a report about it, hand written, double spaced, due by 3rd period Friday.  Also follow Henry on twitter and all that nonsense. 

Thanks as well to the fine folks from whom I stole the above photos.  If you, or anyone has, photo sets or show reports that you would like to see posted here then let me know.  I tried to provide links to all of the people mentioned in Henry's Report but I had trouble finding a few of names.  Also I drank a Manhattan and got tired. (With Rye of course.  I mean c'mon.  I'm no savage.)


UPDATES:

  • Chris Sims at Comics Alliance has posted about five great minicomics from Fluke.  Read it here. 
  • The Dollar Bin has their Fluke 2012 re-cap podcast up.  Go listen. 
  • At Space/Love/Robots, Kyle Nolan has a nice Fluke report with a bunch of photos. Look at it with your eyeballs here. 
  • And here is a report with some more photos from Missy Kulik.  I think I stole some photos from her.  Maybe. 

Your best pal ever,

Shannon Smith   


p.s.  Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind.  I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
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