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24-Hour Comic Book Day is for insomniacs and hardcore comic book makers. Or maybe both? The annual celebrating dedicated to comic book creating happened on Saturday, October 7th and brought artists to their local comic shops all over the world, all at the same. Each participating artist had a shared mission: to create their own 24-page comic book in its entirety...in one day.

Closest to home, we zoomed in on 24-Hour Comic Book Day (24HCBD) at Mission Comics and Art. Artists signed up months in advance, and rightfully so—Mission Comics is surprisingly the only San Francisco Bay Area location participating on the official event locator.

Leef Smith, local comic shop hero and owner of Mission Comics, has been hosting this event going on seven years. This year, like past years, found ambitious comic artists hunched over notebooks, along with the occasional random passersby, stopping in at this unlikely after hours spot. And most likely beer and snacks.

This ain’t no sleepover party.

As Leef Smith explains, “Usually people end up staying up the whole night. We've definitely had a few people making their first comic. But it is a marathon. It's definitely an epic gathering! People get pretty loopy creative in the wee hours of the night.” 

As with all things comic book related, there has to be an origin story. According to the founder of 24HCBD, Scott McCloud, “In 1990, I dared my friend Steve Bissette to draw a complete 24-page comic in a single day. To seal the deal, I agreed to do one too. I did mine, Steve did his, and two decades later, thousands of cartoonists have taken that same challenge.” Again, the origin of genius? Casual chance.

In the meantime, we reached out to Doctor Popular, who goes by “Doc.” He is a seasoned participant with thirteen past 24HCBD events under his belt. He considers each event a success: learning, drawing on the fly, not falling asleep...and producing some real deal comic books in the process, including “Flies on Mars” and “God Hates Dinosaurs.” 

This interview was recorded prior to 24-Hour Comic Book Day.

BCB: Do you already have an idea of your comic book concept?

Doc: The goal is to try to create a 24 page comic from scratch, with as little planning as possible. For most of us that means just bringing our paper and supplies, and leaving our ideas at home. That being said, it's hard not to have something floating around in your mind in the weeks leading up to the event, but this year I might try to find a way to randomize my story from the start. Like rolling a dice to determine the style or subject.

BCB: How does one prepare for 24-hour comic book day?

Doc: My prepping for 24HCBD mostly involves buying some mechanical pencils, choosing one or two pens I'd like to use, and picking up some small sketchbooks to draw in. When I first started the challenge, I was using large pieces of paper, which allowed me to get more detailed, but took way too long to work on. These days I've found that smaller pages means a better chance of getting my work finished in time.

BCB: And what made you decide to do the 24-hour day challenge?

Doc: For many, the goal of 24HCBD is to set aside their perfectionist attitudes that might keep them from getting any work done. I'm kind of the opposite. I'm not much of a perfectionist, I just have a habit of starting things and not finishing them. So the appeal of the challenge for me is to focus on just one thing until it's done.

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Artists who committed to the 24HBCD challenge are Travis Nichols, Anna Maness, Meena Vempaty, Angela Roberts, Angela Roberts, Dorian Katz, and Doctor Popular.

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