Monday, June 20, 2011

Long Live Crack Bang Boom!

Crack Bang Boom was so tiring that, when I got back to Buenos Aires, I didn’t leave my house for two days. From the Thursday when Crack Bang Boom began to the Sunday when it ended, I attended lectures, socialized, and browsed comics for about eight hours per day. My experiences were so plentiful, that I am only going to write about certain aspects of the conference. Because of that, this post may seem like I’ve glued a bunch of random events together. (Photo of random people and the booths at CBB.)

Unlike in Lobos, I found a place to stay ahead of time and booked accommodations in a hostel with Rosty, Paz, and Lucila. Travelling as a group worked out well because we all had different goals for the conference. My goal was to buy an obscene amount of comics and meet new people, while they hunted for autographs and pictures. Rosty and Paz brought many comics from home to get the signatures of the creators attending the conference. Outside of the conference, we did the mandatory Rosario tourism, visiting Che’s house (marked only by a red sign) and getting yelled at by a right-winger, taking the elevator to the top of the Monumento de la Bandera, and walking around the city. (Photo of me, Lucila, Paz, and Rosty in front of a drawing by Gustavo Sala)

One of the most exciting parts of the conference was meeting new people and going out to dinner. On the first night of the conference, I tagged along with a group of invited guests and met a bunch of Brazilian illustrators. Apparently, Brazil doesn’t have a large domestic comic market. One girl passed around a sketchbook and asked each artist to draw a penis. It was quite a treat to see some of my favorite artists’ rendition of the male member. I also got to know quite a few illustrators from Rosario that were so friendly and interesting that I am planning to return in September to interview them. On Saturday night, the Lobos crew (Fran López, Federico Reggiani, Fabian Zalazar, Angel Mosquito, Hernán Cañellas, and Max Aguirre) came to the conference and we went out for pizza and beer. We got lost a few times, talked on Walkie Talkies, and during dinner they judged the comics I bought. At the end of the night, they told me that they thought of me as a daughter, which was the best compliment I have ever received.

Throughout the conference, I attended a steady stream of talks by Enrique Breccia, C.B. Cebulski, and Salvador Sanz, a presentation of the comic Dos Estaciones by Federico Reggiani and Rodrigo Terranova and another panel remembering Carlos Trillo. I won’t write about all of the panels, but will instead focus on Dos Estaciones and Enrique Breccia’s lecture. Many Argentine authors publish abroad and advise aspiring comics creators advice on how to appeal to those audiences. Federico Reggiani (in the photo, holding the mic), in his presentation of Dos Estaciones, talked about creating a comic for Argentine audiences that focused on specifically Argentine issues. After a few days of focus on foreign comics, it was nice to hear someone talking about the need for comics with Argentine themes. Enrique Breccia also discussed working for Europe and said that not publishing in Argentina was heartbreaking. He was interviewed for a little while, and then accepted questions from the audience. Most of the questions were either about Oesterheld or his father, Alberto Breccia, a topic that, not surprisingly, is very annoying to answer when everyone compares his (very distinct) work to that of his father’s. (When beginning to publish in Europe, he used pseudonyms so that his work wouldn’t be compared to his father’s.) Given the nature of these questions, his responses were short, but interesting. I usually don’t ask questions during lectures (my Spanish accent is even more unintelligible when shouted), but decided to ask him something when I realized that all the other questions people asked were repetitive and uninteresting. I asked him what his daily schedule was like. Apparently, Breccia lives the romantic and frugal life of a modern cowboy. He wakes up at 5:30 a.m., rides his horses, draws, eats lunch, and goes out and rides some more.

Crack Bang Boom was exhausting and exhilarating, the perfect mix of rampant comic consumption, socializing, and education. Hopefully, Rosario will host another conference next year, but unfortunately, it all depends on Rosario’s political situation after the elections later in the year. Cultural events like this one are very much dependent on the municipal government’s support. When the government changes, so do its priorities. So, fingers crossed for Rosario and Argentine comics. Long live Crack Bang Boom!

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