When I was growing up cartoonists were celebrities. The were on the news, they were on late night talk shows, they were guests at the White House.
But they were also at a distance. You never thought you could actually meet someone like Charles Schulz or Cathy Guisewite in person.
There were no comic art festivals, comic cons or other opportunities to meet the faces behind your favorite comic strip or comic book. And very little chance to ever hear them give a lecture or slide show about their work and all the cool stuff that goes into making this kind of art.
But now cartoonists travel all over the world getting to know their fans and giving them more opportunity to have an insider's view of their work.
Over the past six years I have had the good fortune to attend a number of comic festivals. And I have seen how hungry the public is to meet these artists and see how they create their art and hear why they decided to become cartoonists and how they achieved their dreams.
Comic festivals are a great time for everybody. The artists have a great time, the audiences have a great time, and it helps bring a human element to the comics we all love to read.
I have had such a terrific experience at the festivals I've attended that, in 2011, I jumped in with both feet and created the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning.
Our first festival featured artists Paul Gilligan, Sandra Bell Lundy, John Hambrock, Tom Bancroft, Tom Richmond and Scott Stantis. What a show they put on! For three days they entertained audiences from all over southeast Wisconsin,Chicago and Milwaukee. Some folks even drove over nine hours from Iowa just to see their favorite cartoonists
We also were able to team with John Read, curator of "One Fine Sunday in the Funny Pages" and bring that show to Carthage College where it ran for four months.
Kenosha Festival of Cartooning 2012 featured another stellar line up with Stephan Pastis, Dave Coverly, Michael Jantze, Greg Cravens, Norm Feuti, and Hilary Price.
We were also lucky enough to add Tom Racine as the panel moderator and master of ceremonies.
2012 also marked the beginning of a partnership with the National Cartoonist Society Foundation headed by Rick Stromoski. Through the generosity of the NCSF, we were able to add a wonderful auction of original comic art by NCS members! The auction raised over $10,000 for The Children's Hospitals of Wisconsin's Kenosha Clinic and Margaret Ann's Place!
The Kenosha Public Museum added a gallery show titled "More Than Funny" and we also inaugurated a field trip to a local High School.
It was a jam packed weekend full of good times! For photos of KFOC 2012, click on the photo gallery in the right hand sidebar.