There are two types of people in this wide world of ours: those who are stopped by obstacles and those who find a way around or through them. Artists, writers, and those making a living through artistic expression have quite a few obstacles to overcome. Chris Nicholas is one such person who decided to not just go around his obstacles, but burst through them.
Chris, a comic book creator with 12 years of experience under his belt, knows how hard it is to break into the business. Every year, people with great ideas struggle to get their foot in the door of companies like Marvel and DC Comics. Even then, the struggle isn’t over.
Over coffee at Thunderbird, Chris explained another facet of the comic industry, distribution. “The distribution of comics is basically monopolized by one company. If the distributor doesn’t get orders for 1,000 issues for a title nationwide, they simply won’t distribute the title.”
It’s pretty obvious where the independent comic creator falls into the picture. Local comic book stores do what they can to support independent comics, but they can only do so much.
10 years ago, Chris did something to help the little guys out. He founded an event called Staple! Staple! is a comic convention specifically designed for indie comic creators and graphic design artists. The event is just like its larger comic convention brothers, featuring a cross-section of local talent, panels and guest speakers. In fact, they’re sporting over 150 vendors this year, which means the venue will be packed to the gills.
If you’re wondering how the event came to be named Staple!, Chris has an interesting story. “We came up with the name because, well, staples hold things together, especially comic books.” Chris also went on to explain that for branding and name recognition, the name “Staple!” stands out.
When and Where
So when and where is this taking place? On Friday, February 28th, a meet and greet is taking place at Austin Books at 8 PM. Staple! opens its doors at Marchesa Hall and Theatre from 11 AM to 6 PM on Saturday, March 1st.
Afterwards, there will be a live art show starting around 9 PM at Shangri-La on E. 6th. The way it works is simple. Each artist gets on stage, creates an original piece, and promptly sells it. The cool thing about the live art show is that all proceeds go to KOOP FM, a local community-run radio station at 91.7 FM on the dial.
Things pick up again Sunday for the final day of the event from 12 PM–6 PM. There are activities for kiddos over the course of the event.
Over its ten-year run, Staple! has garnered attention from Austin Books and Comics, Rogues Gallery Comics, EC Printing, 91.7 KOOP FM, The Daily Texan and Motorblade Postering Service. These sponsors have helped Chris spread the word about Austin-area independent comic creators and Staple!
I’ve said it before: Austin is a hotbed of creative and artistic endeavors. It’s encouraging and inspirational to see people saying “yes, we can” instead of quitting at the first sign of adversity. Go to Staple! and support local comics. You may be surprised at what you find. After the dust settled from Austin ComicCon this past November, I realized something. Every comic I purchased was from an independent artist and writer. The content is out there. Staple! will help you find it.
What You Need to Remember
- Meet and greet is 8 PM on 2/28 at Austin Books and Comics, 5002 N. Lamar Blvd
- Marchesa Hall and Theatre is located in Lincoln Village at 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd.
- Hours for Saturday 3/1 are 11 AM-6 PM
- Hours for Sunday 3/2 are 12 PM-6 PM.
- After party on 3/1 starts 9 PM, at Shangri-La at 1016 E. 6th
- Tickets are $10.00 for adults daily or $15.00 for the weekend
- Kids 12 and under get in free
Are you a comic book fan? Have you ever attended Staple!?
Disclosure: After meeting with Chris to conduct our interview, he gave me a pair of tickets to attend the event on behalf of the Austinot. All opinions are my own.