Comic lovers, take note: The second annual youth comic anthology, Enter The Cat, hits shelves this week.
The new book features the original works of 12 young authors, ages 13-19, all from the class, “For The Love of Comics: Make A Short Comic,” taught by local artist and educator Gio Benedetti. The book will celebrate its release with an event at Copperfield’s in Petaluma on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 2pm and will be available in-store for purchase.
The 124-page comic anthology was edited by Benedetti and created in partnership with Petaluma’s youth-focused comic book convention, LumaCon, and the Sonoma County Library. Profits from the anthology will benefit LumaCon.
Enter the Cat authors Pink Marker, Astrid Downen, Sebastian Hugo, Ace Johnson, Camille Stinson, Ike Bearden, Maya Wataboushi, Luci Schweigman, Blake Stevens, Robbie Bell, Oak, and Cylen Hurst created comics for the book in the class, where they discovered that art-making has its challenges but is ultimately worth the joy.
Robbie Bell, author of, Tour Meowschief, featured in the anthology, says, “Creating something is being the most honest and vulnerable you can be.”
The class is free, sponsored by the Sonoma County Library, and meets at the Petaluma Regional Library once a week for eight weeks. All materials, including paper and inking tools, are supplied by the library. Students can sign up for next year’s class in January 2024.
“‘For the Love of Comics’ shares the library’s goals of promoting a culture of creativity and offering teens challenging and empowering experiences,” says Diana Spaulding, Petaluma Regional Library branch manager.
In the workshop, students develop their stories, and create and design characters and settings. Then they write, sketch and finally ink their original ideas into comic form.
“The class is open to 25 students, and not everyone finishes their comic,” says Benedetti. “Making comics is brutally hard, particularly as it is most students’ first polished comic work, and the entire thing has to happen in eight weeks amidst all the other rigors of high school existence. The finished stories from these classes are what are published in the final anthology.”
Pink Marker, author of the anthology comic, I’m So Goddamn Tired, elaborates, “Making comics can be a nightmare, but a fun nightmare.”
Benedetti’s early life was shaped by the opportunities offered to him by local mentors. He wants to offer the same support he experienced to kids who love to draw and make comics so they can cheer on other young creators, meet other like-minded artists, hone their craft and publish their work.
Maya Wataboushi, author of Venus’s Retrograde, also featured in the anthology, says, “The couple of months spent in this class and making my comic were tiring, but so fun. I am thankful to [Gio] for his patience and motivation, and the library that helped make this whole thing happen.”
Regarding the title’s cat reference, Benedetti illuminates. “Everyone just loved cats, cats were omnipresent in our workshops. Everyone was drawing cats. Cats may or may not have appeared in all comics, but they were drawn, discussed, loved and brought up during all of our sessions,” he notes. The title and cover art were inspired by Bob Peak’s 1973 Bruce Lee film poster for Enter the Dragon.
LumaCon, the beneficiary of the anthology, is a comic book convention held at the Petaluma Regional Library for the past 10 years that focuses on young artists and also hosts professional comic creators.
‘Enter the Cat’ launches at 2pm, Saturday, Nov. 4, at Copperfield’s Books, 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma. For more information, visit fortheloveof comics.art.