Launched in 2012 as an initiative of the Darebin City Council, Homecooked Comics Festival has been managed by artist-run initiative Squishface Studio since 2014, and attracts nearly 1000 visitors each year. This year’s festival will be held on 15 April, featuring 60+ comics creators and with a focus on stories from marginalised communities.
Tell us about yourself, Marian.
During the day I’m a book publicist. I love creativity in all forms but am particularly obsessed with music, visual art, books, and design. I’ve done a few radio shows on Triple R over the years, have hosted podcasts, written, produced and performed a Fringe show, co-produced a short film, chaired panels, hosted events, won a Nobel Prize*, and I write, draw, play bass, and cuddle my dog a lot.
What drew you to the role?
The Australian comics scene is brilliant. We have such a huge amount of talent here and I find it utterly incomprehensible that we don’t have more locally published comic artists. I want that to change, and since I started working in publishing I’ve been thinking about how to go about it in a valuable way. When the Homecooked role came up, I figured what better way to promote our kickarse Aussie artists than to direct [insert booming narrator voice *here*] THE GREATEST COMICS FESTIVAL OF ALLLLLL TIIIIIIIIME? Alright, so my enthusiasm is evident, but I seriously just want to showcase what we have here, and I figured my publicity/marketing experience in book-world could help with that.
What does the festival mean to you?
Umm, lack of sleep? Mild panic moving to acute panic? An ulcer? Homecooked means supporting comic artists, enlightening punters, promoting new work and creators, and telling stories that are outside the box — particularly from marginalised communities and people whose voices don’t get heard in mainstream media.
As well as the usual stallholder callout, you also did a callout for specific artists. How did that go?
Is “beyond my wildest dreams” too much? I wanted to see some more stories from women, LGBTIQ artists, people of colour, and people dealing with disability and mental illness. We had an extraordinary response to the callout, which resulted in a huge amount of applications. The great thing about that of course is finding and sharing exciting new work.
The unfortunate thing is that I couldn’t find space for everyone — 20% of the applications this year weren’t successful, and I certainly didn’t take that decision-making job lightly. We’re lucky to have numerous fairs and festivals in Australia where artists can share their work, so I think there’s definitely room to prioritise minority voices at this one.
What can people expect from this year’s festival?
So. Much. Awesome.
We’ve just announced the attending artists so I hardly need to say anything — it is one hell of a lineup. Along with the much-loved action/adventure, humour, sci-fi, manga, horror, fantasy, and mystery comics, there’ll be a whole heap of fresh, new comics telling stories about sexuality, identity, disability, and mental illness. There’ll also be the usual fun stuff on the day: quick-draw competitions, door prizes, workshops and talks, as well as a couple of drool-worthy food stalls to feed the hungry punters (and stallholders!)
What are the details?
Homecooked Comics Festival
Sunday 15 April
Midday til 5pm
Northcote Town Hall
Check out the Facebook event page here.