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BOONE LIFE: Comic artists burn the midnight oil for 24 Hour Comics Day

Sunday, October 21, 2007 | 8:27 p.m. CDT; updated 9:49 p.m. CST, Monday, February 9, 2009
Keith Chan draws action figures to create his superhero comic. He worked on his series during 24 Hour Comics Day.

COLUMBIA — Kelly Major has drawn comics since she was a kid. She still dreams up a world of characters that make it into her meticulously drawn comic tales, where her imagination comes to life on the page. So when she got the chance to participate this year in the international 24 Hour Comics Day, she took the challenge. Surrounded by paper, pens and India ink, she worked for 24 consecutive hours to create 24 pages of her comic “Elves Happen,” about a girl who meets elves who wreak havoc in her life.

Major was one of about 12 or so people who burned the midnight oil at the Quinlan Keep comic book store at 315 N Eighth St. from noon Saturday to noon Sunday.

Owner Boen Quinlan has hosted 24 Hour Comics Day at his store for the past two years as a way to gather comic artists together to participate in the international event. The event was started by Scott McCloud, a leading comics theoretician and author of “Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics.”

Last year’s 24 Hour Comics Day had 1,200 artists from 17 countries creating comics for the challenge.

Adjusting the posture of his 5-inch Spider-Man, Keith Chan worked on a story for his superhero comic series “Keeley: Comic Hero Extraordinaire.”

Using action figures as models is helpful, he said. The small heroes have about 50 moveable joints, including the finger digits, and Chan is able to configure them just so.

A doctoral student in anthropology at MU, Chan says he enjoys drawing comics. “It’s so different from research,” he said.

Kirstin Steitz was close to finishing her comic “And Stuff” at 11 a.m. Sunday. “I’m so tired,” she said while putting the finishing touches on the pages of what she said was a comic journal of her friends, family and loved ones, adding that the gathering gave her the inspiration to keep going.

“It’s a fun atmosphere because you’re with other people going through the same thing,” she said.

Kelly Major worked all night to finish her meticulously drawn comic book “Elves Happen,” about a girl who meets elves that start taking over her life. She was one of about 12 people who partook in 24 Hour Comics Day at Quinlan Keep.

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